Building a Website Builder

At the beginning of 3 Step Solutions, the idea was simple—help small businesses to build their website, market their products, and grow their influence.

While the marketing software made a name for itself, all of the support tickets and customer frustrations pointed the blame finger at one thing: the website-builder. These small business owners could not navigate the immensely technical and complex steps to make their website look the way that they wanted.

I was part of the ambitious project to redesign the website building experience for the fastest growing marketing startup in the direct sales industry.

The Onboarding Redesign

I got involved with the project at the very beginning. I was brought on to redesign the onboarding experience for new users. While the power of 3 Step Solutions came through its incredible marketing technology, there was a disconnection between the user's end goals and what they were experiencing on the platform. The old process went something like this:

Sign up

Watch a million instructional videos on how to use the site builder

Try to build your website

Open a support ticket

Give up

Not quite what we wanted.
A map of the former onboarding process
Remembering the Goal 

While reviewing the former onboarding process, the problem became obvious: the website builder is too hard to useOver 65% of support tickets referenced the site builder, even though it was only 1 of 18 features on the service. 

Although 3 Step Solutions existed to help businesses market and grow, our users were spending so much time on site creation that they lost the vision of why they were there. If their success were a hidden treasure, the site builder was the mountain they had to climb to find it.

The solution wasn't to give them a map, but to remove the mountain
Initial notes on new high-level onboarding ideas 
Goal: getting their website off the ground as fast as possible

Change in Priority

We discovered something insightful: Customers came because they needed better marketing tools, and they were leaving because it was too hard to build their website. They were sacrificing the tools that brought them success for a website was beautiful and easy to build. 

“ could we help our customers be more satisfied with the website building experience?”

We first needed to understand what they were going through.

The Old Site-Builder

“Where do I start?”  

This is what users would see when they first created a web page. Multiple buttons and lack of any direction confused and frustrated users. Where would you have started?

Same name, different things

Adding content to your site was done through "modules". After digging through tutorials and videos to figure out what a module was, users had the dilemma of figuring out which button to click to add their content.

No clarity

The left slide-out menu was how content could be added, yet the way to access it was unclear. Poor wording and icon choices in the menu made adding content time consuming.

Too many settings  

Users spent time going back and forth between setting areas in order to edit settings that were relevant to each other. Combining and organizing all settings into a single area became a priority for the redesign.

Walking in Their Shoes

Before we could start designing solutions, we needed to get into our customers' heads. What were they thinking? And more importantly, how were they behaving?

We wanted to know where they were having a better website-building experience, so we asked them. Here's what they said:

The Similarities

We noticed a few key similarities between these other site builders:

  • Before starting the website building process, users had the option to select a template from a library of pre-designed websites.

  • There were two or more instances in which a drag-and-drop functionality was used to add content to the website

  • Once in the site builder, it could take users less than 8 seconds to start adding content.

This is what they needed. And we were going to give it to them.  
Shifting Our Focus

Diving into the minds of our users was enlightening. It nudged us to rethink the way were approaching the redesign. Did we need to reinvent the wheel or just design new tires?

Make It Drag & Drop  

Not only is drag-and-drop more efficient, it was familiar to our user base. Starting here helped to create a more intuitive interface and decrease the learning curve. 

Give Them Templates

Customers were more satisfied when they spent less time building their website. When starting with a template, users could spend up to 50% less time designing and building.
From 13 Clicks to 2

Simply adding content to your website could take up to thirteen clicks. By implementing a drag-and-drop system, we successfully reduced the amount of clicks down to just two, increasing site builder efficiency by up to 85%.

Now, in an age where a beautiful website is no longer a luxury (it's the standard), 3 Step Solutions offers users an efficient and effortless website-building experience.  

A drag-and-drop website-builder concept and motion study designed by me
Introducing Drag & Drop

Drag and drop modules to add content

Edit all content settings in a single, organized place

See what sites look like on mobile, tablet, and desktop
New Project, New Lessons

The opportunity to lead such an ambitious project inevitably resulted in multiple learning experiences. From team collaboration to the details of the design, every day working on the project was a new lesson that refined my design skills and leadership.

Key takeaways from this project:

Watch how the user behaves. They may not know what they need, but their actions will tell you.

Clarity is king. When working with a team, the more direct you communicate plans, approaches, and designs, the smoother the process flows.

Listen to everyone. Everyone is a user of something. Hear their concerns, ideas, and solutions before jumping into the designs. 

Embrace the details, remember the goal. Every little thing needs to be considered, and the objective needs to be on the forefront while considering them.

As a project based in growth, dedication, focus, and teamwork, the results we achieved showed immense progress on an individual, team, and company level. We not only built a website builder, we built a legacy of trust and collaboration that will define 3 Step Solutions in the projects and years to come.