Site review: WorldRemit

A few years ago I wrote about money remittance services like Transferwise and WeSwap. I recently came across another remittance service called WorldRemit and I decided to do a quick review and explore further:

  1. How did WorldRemit come to my attention? – At a recent public session with a senior strategy person at Travelex, we talked about the marketplace for money transfer and currency exchange services. In this conversation, WorldRemit came up as a key player in the market for money transfers.
  2. My quick summary of WorldRemit (before using it) – I expect a service that enables people to transfer money abroad, at a favourable exchange rate and in the most transparent and easy way possible.
  3. How does WorldRemit explain itself in the first minute? – WorldRemit’s strapline on its homepage is as simple as it’s clear: “Send Money Online, Anytime, Anywhere.” Underneath this strapline there’s a simple “I want to send to / select country” call to action (see Fig. 1 below).
  4. Getting started, what’s the process like (1)? – Not hard at all. After I’ve selected the country and clicked on “get started”, I can enter an amount that I would like to send or receive. As soon as I then click on “send”, the amount I’m sending is automatically listed in British pounds. The only, minor, thing which threw me somewhat was that I thought I could select another service instead just of “bank transfer” because of the dropdown next to it. However, when I click on the dropdown, I just see “Select a service” and there aren’t other options to choose from.
  5. Getting started, what’s the process like (2)? – The bit about getting started with WorldRemit that I really liked is that when pressing “send” a popup appears to confirm critical info such as fees and the amount the recipient (see Fig. 2 below). It’s this kind of simple transparency that truly ‘delights.’
  6. How does WorldRemit compare to similar services? – When I think of competitors to WorldRemit, I think of the likes of Azimo, MoneyGram and Western Union. My initial perception that the main differentiators between these services are threefold. Firstly, the number of markets these services operate in. WorldRemit previously claimed to operate in twice the number of markets compared to Western Union and MoneyGram. Secondly, the overall experience and the ease with which people can transfer money is a key differentiator in my view. Azimo and WorldRemit feel quite similar in that respect, whereas Western Union and MoneyGram come across as two business who aren’t digital first (see Fig. 3-5 below).
  7. Did the app deliver on my expectations? – Yes. The process felt easy, intuitive and I felt I got a good rate. I really liked the experience and I’m excited about how remittance services like WorldRemit are disrupting the market and giving established companies like Western Union a run for their money.

 

Fig. 1 – Screenshot of WorldRemit’s “Send Money Online Anytime, Anywhere” call to action on its homepage

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Fig. 2 – Screenshot of WorldRemit transaction form and confirmation 

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Fig. 3 – Screenshot of the Azimo homepage

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Fig. 4 – Screenshot of Western Union’s homepage

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Fig. 5 – Screenshot of MoneyGram’s homepage

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My product management toolkit (5): assumptions and hypotheses

Problem statements was the last product management tool I wrote about. Once you’ve defined and understood the problem(s) that you’re looking to solve, the next step is to validate ways to solve the problem. As a product manager, there’s a risk of jumping straight into solutions or features, without really evaluating the best way to tackle a problem.

I learned a lot from the “Lean UX” approach to things, as introduced by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden. The key point to Lean UX is the definition and validation of assumptions and hypotheses. Ultimately, this approach is all about risk management; instead of one ‘big bang’ product release, you constantly iterate and learn from actual customer usage of the product. Some people refer to this approach as the “velocity of learning.”

Tool 5 – Assumptions and hypotheses

What are assumptions? – When thinking about problems and solutions we often make a lot of assumptions. For example, I like how Alan Klement points out that when we create user stories there’s a risk of making lots of assumptions (see below). I believe that the biggest problem isn’t so much in the assumptions themselves but more in not validating one’s assumptions before designing a product or service. What I love about the “Lean UX” approach is that it exposes assumptions early on and provides a way to validate these assumptions early and often.

Too many assumptions

Alan Klement – Taken from: https://medium.com/the-job-to-be-done/replacing-the-user-story-with-the-job-story-af7cdee10c27#.vlrixzuk2

What are hypotheses? – Hypotheses are a great way to test your assumptions. A hypothesis statement is a more granular version of the original assumption and is formulated in such a way that it’s easy to test and measure specific desired outcomes:

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Josh Seiden – Taken from: http://www.slideshare.net/UXSTRAT/ux-strat-2013-josh-seiden-lean-ux-ux-strat

You can use these hypotheses to test a specific product area or workflow. The key thing with assumptions and hypotheses is their focus on behavioural outcomes or changes, not just on the feature or solution in its own right. The other important thing I learned about assumptions is to validate your riskiest assumptions first. I’ve benefited enormously from using simple prototypes to validate risky assumptions such as “this feature will definitely solve my customer’s problem” or “customers will definitely pay for this service” before committing lots of time, money and effort to solving a problem.

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Taken from: https://medium.com/@mwambach1/hypotheses-driven-ux-design-c75fbf3ce7cc#.bk8p1zvky

What assumptions and hypotheses aren’t? – I’ve seen some people falling in the trap of treating assumptions/hypotheses as absolute truths. The whole point of having assumptions and hypotheses is being transparent upfront about educated guesses, unknowns or risks.

Main learning point: Working with assumptions and hypothesis is essential in my opinion. It’s all about risk management. Instead of building something for many months before getting any customer feedback, I’d always recommend identifying and validating your riskiest assumptions first, using an iterative approach to learn ‘early and often.’

Related links for further learning:

  1. https://medium.com/the-job-to-be-done/replacing-the-user-story-with-the-job-story-af7cdee10c27#.7kn2clk0y
  2. https://marcabraham.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/book-review-lean-ux/
  3. https://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2014/05/21/josh-seiden-hypothesis-based-design-within-lean-ux/
  4. https://medium.com/@mwambach1/hypotheses-driven-ux-design-c75fbf3ce7cc#.bk8p1zvky

 

 

App review: YunoJuno

Having looked at a range of marketplaces, most recently in the events space, I widened my search and came across YunoJuno. YunoJuno is an online marketplace which describes itself as “an all-in-one platform to find, book and manage the best freelancers in town.” I’m keen to understand how YunoJuno is different from a standard job site.

My quick summary before using the app – I expect something similar to “Odesk” (now Upwork) which is a well-known site for finding freelance developers. Whether I’m an employer or a freelancer, it ought be straightforward to find either people or jobs.

How does YunoJuno explain itself in the first minute? – At first glance it becomes clear that YunoJuno’s main mission is to connect the best freelancers with employers looking for high quality people. It made me wonder whether the platform focuses on specific skills and experience levels or whether it’s a one-stop shop for a wide variety of roles, disciplines and experience levels.

Getting started, what’s the process like (1) – I’m on YunoJuno’s iOS app and decide to join YunoJuno as a freelancer. I click on “join as a freelancer” (see Fig. 1 below) and am presented with short sign up form (see Fig. 2 below). I’m disappointed to see that “product management” – my discipline – isn’t in the dropdown list. Although I appreciate that product management probably isn’t as established a contractor discipline as project management or photography, I’m still worried about employers finding my profile now that I’ve had to selected “Other” as my discipline. I feel that these concerns are justified when I then then log in to YunoJuno on my desktop to edit my profile to see that “Designer” is listed as my discipline … (see Fig. 3 below).

 

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Fig. 1 – Screenshot of the landing screen of the YunoJuno iOS app

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Fig. 2 – Screenshot of the freelancer signup form on the YunoJuno iOS app

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Fig. 3 – Screenshot of my profile page on desktop

The remainder of the process feels very straightforward; from uploading my image to highlighting my key strengths. For some reason I seem to have missed completing my recent employment history so despite thinking I’m ready submit my application, I’m gently reminded that I still need to put in my work history (see Fig. 3 below).

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Fig. 4 – Reminder to complete my work history in order to submit my application

Getting started, what’s the process like (2)  As part of outlining my work history, I need to put in my 3 most recent jobs and put in referees for those jobs. This doesn’t feel an unreasonable request, but I do wonder whether my referees need to say how brilliant I am before I get accepted by YunoJuno!

What are the criteria for getting accepted by YunoJuno? When will I be able to see jobs or be contacted by employers? At this stage of the on boarding process I’m not clear about the process, and I would benefit from a better understanding about next steps. I can also imagine that some applicants might be hesitant to submit the names of a referee for a job that they’re still in (if they’re looking for their next gig). Not knowing how to best go about this, I decide to pause my application for now.

 

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Fig. 5 – Screenshot of referee info on YunoJuno

How does YunoJuno compare to similar services?  YunoJuno feels very similar to the aforementioned Upwork, since both have a clear focus on making it easy as possible to find jobs as a freelancer. I could be wrong, but my perception is that the threshold for freelancers getting on the Upwork platform is lower than YunoJuno.

I was very delighted to see “product management” as a filter within Upwork. Disappointingly though, “Product Management Professionals & Consultants”(see Fig. 6 below) seemed to be exclusively populated by freelance developers.

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Fig. 6 – Screenshot of freelancers in the “product management” category

From looking at other YunoJuno competitors, it was Toptal that felt the most similar to YunoJuno, as Toptal only offers experienced freelancers. The Toptal homepage states that it has the “top 3% of freelance talent” on its platform. The main difference with YunoJuno, however, is that it only focuses on developers and designers (see Fig. 7 below).

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Fig. 7 – Screenshot of Toptal signup form

Did the app deliver on my expectations? – As I didn’t complete the application process its hard to say whether YunoJuno delivered on all my expectations, as I didn’t see any freelance jobs to explore. However, YunoJuno is a well designed responsive app and an experience that felt simple, but one that could benefit from more clarity about some of the steps involved.

My product management toolkit (4) – Problem statements

I guess one of the turning points in my development process as a product manager was learning about problem statements. In 2013 I did an online course about “Design Thinking” where I learned about problem statements. This then prompted me to learn about assumptions and hypotheses, which form another set of tools within my toolkit.

In short, problem statements made me think much more about user or business problems to solve before jumping into features or other solutions. I found a great quote by Albert Einstein which illustrates this perfectly:

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

Albert Einstein

“Design Thinking” consists of five different stages: (1) empathise (2) define (3) ideate (4) prototype and (5) test. I’m finding myself spending myself more and more time on the first two stages, empathise and define. “Empathise” is all about understanding the needs of the people that you design a product or service for. The main idea behind the “define” stage is to frame problems as opportunities for creative solutions.

Tool 4 – Problem statements

What’s a problem statement? – A problem statement is a simple but great way to concentrate on the key problem(s) to solve, constantly asking the ‘why’ of a specific problem or need. One thing I realised when using problem statements for the first time, is an almost innate tendency to include a potential solution in the statement. I quickly learned – the hard way – that it’s important to refrain from including solutions in your problem statements and to restrict oneself to the user problem instead.

Standard formula:

Stakeholder (describe person using empathetic language) NEEDS A WAY TO Need (needs are verbs) BECAUSE Insight (describe what you’ve learned about the stakeholder and his need)

Some simple examples:

Richard,who loves to eat biscuits wants to find a way to eat at 5 biscuits a day without gaining weight as he’s currently struggling to keep his weight under control.

Sandra from The Frying Pan Co. who likes using our data platform wants to be able to see the sales figures of her business for the previous three years, so that she can do accurate stock planning for the coming year.

As you can see from the simple examples above, the idea is that you put yourself in the shoes of your (target) users and ask yourself “so what …!?” What’s the impact that we’re looking to make on a user’s life? Why?

What a problem statement isn’t? – A problem statement isn’t a solution in disguise. The idea isn’t to come up with a solution in your statement. In contrast, problem statements need to reflect your understanding of the problem that you’re looking to solve and serve as a communication tool in ensuring that other people are on the same page with regards to the understanding of a problem.

When to create a problem statement? – Before you start thinking about solutions, please spend a good amount of time understanding the problem that you’re looking to solve. Please, please don’t be intimidated by ‘HiPPo stakeholders’ who already know the solution and tell you to ‘just to make things happen.’ HiPPo stands for the “highest paid person’s opinion”, who based on their experience or status knows exactly what needs to happen and why.

Naturally, these people can well be right, but I do believe that an important part of our role as product people is to understand business or user problems and validate those before committing to a specific solution. You’ll find that having this thorough, real world understanding of user problems will actually help you significantly in getting your recommendations or insights across.

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Characteristics of good problem statements – I found this really good breakdown of characteristics by Stanford’s d. school outlining the main functions of a problem statement. A good problem statement:

  • Provides focus and frames the problem
  • Inspires your team
  • Informs criteria for evaluating competing ideas
  • Empowers your team to make independent decisions
  • Captures the hearts and minds of people you meet
  • Prevents you from creating concepts that are all things to all people
  • Should be discreet, not broad

Main learning point: Using problem statements to understand and validate the problems you’re looking to solve is a very important tool in every product manager’s toolkit. Critical product decisions like evaluating product ideas are helped enormously by a shared understanding of the specific problems to resolve.