Gaia Product Evolution

Evolve a transformational network that empowers a global conscious community.

Product Designer
 

Gaia is a conscious media network. In 2016 we took a website that hosts over 7000 videos and reimagined the brand and product potential. This project highlights a few of the feautres I was a part of over the past year.

As a Product Designer I owned many different features from conception through design and development. My role consisted of ideation, design, prototyping, testing, and continuous iteration. Our first big project was designing and building Gaia BETA to release to existing membes. From there, over the past year we have expanded to a fully responsive public web app, iOS, Android, AppleTV, Apple Watch, Roku and FireTV (all prepped and ready for internationalization). All features across every platforms were designed in house by our design team. 

Gaia is evolving everyday and so is our design. As a team we move fast and iterate. We take our user learnings, data findings, and stakeholder input back to each white board session.

 

Product Redesign Goals

The big goal that kicked off this project was reach 1 million subscribers. To do this we needed to scale globally, exist on more than one platform, reach new audiences, and create a product with lasting value. Some themes that we wanted to nail in the new experience were: Community, Discovery, Personalization, and Internationalization. 

From this initial roadmap we ran into what seemed like endless roadblocks and pivots. Business goals shifted and technical restraints challenged our team to get comfortable with iteration and quickly changing gears. 

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Rebrand Responsively

Up first was a rebrand that started with a fully responsive web app. Our team worked together to define the core experience that would be built first. In parallel our team, along with the marketing creatives, started the process of a full rebrand from Gaiam TV to Gaia. During this phase I had the opportunity to art direct, and create a product identity system that repesented and introduced the new Gaia. 

Challenges
There were many unknowns when creating our design language, and pieces of it were already in place - such as font and brand color. I took these choices and started to create components that could be iterated on and grow with the product ecosystem. As more of Gaia’s app ecosystem began to take shape, it was easier to take a holistic approach to the design system language. 

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Brand Imagery

The range of Gaia's content was vast but it all needed to feel cohesive. finding imagry to fit these needs was tricky. Photography should be beautiful, inspirational and evoke a sense of intrigue. Imagery should feel profound and spiritual. Non category specific product images often feature mountains and nature.

Transformation Imagery

Seeking Truth and Transformation photography should reflect the natural wonders of the world around us and beyond. It should peak the viewer’s curiosity, convey a mystery waiting to be solved, and inspire them to question their point of view. Nature is featured often and triumphs depictions of humanity.

Yoga Imagery

Yoga photography should depict individuals practicing in an authentic way. Natural light, rich textures and outdoor settings are ideal. Images should have an aspirational look and feel.  No vectors or silhouettes. Yogi’s clothing is functional and often modest. 

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Minimum Viable Experience

Members want a variety of exclusive content delivered by thought leaders with actionable learnings. 

Survey feedback and interviews concluded that non-yoga Gaia members where motivated to watch Gaia because it was educational and exclusive - and not purely entertainment. They cared about following thought leaders and learning. Our yoga members chose our content for exercise and mindfulness, while also noting that experts were a key to choosing their practice. 

Beyond restructuring the site architecture, we wanted to give members more ways to discover the content that spoke to them. Beyond self guided discovery, members would be able to see content Gaia recommended as well as content recommended from thought leaders and experts in the space.

 

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Let Content Lead: Responsive Design

Rather than work within the constraints of device breakpoints, we let the content help us define our response grids coices. Taking in to consideration device breakpoints, video tile aspect ratios, and meta data displays. 
Our Lead UX Designer wrote about our responsive grid discovery here

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Actionable Insights

Before launching to the public, we launched Gaia BETA to some of our most engaged members. During 1:1 user-testing sessions we uncovered insights that would lead to some of our most successful features. We also uncovered how invested and deep some members relationship with Gaia’s content went, and we as the product designers had a duty to take that relationship into consideration with every design decision.

Many of our members came to Gaia after experience an important life event. After speaking with one member, she expressed how effective it would be for her to be able to share pieces of the Gaia content with people who might be experiencing a similar life event.

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Turn Insights Into Features

One feature that was concieved from Beta testing was "Gift A View". Since Gaia produced or owned a large portion of the site's content we had the ability to demonstrate the power behind this idea.  Members would receive a set amount of “Gifts” each month and would be able to generate a url to share. Once the video was played for the first time, it would be live for anyone for 48 hours, with prompts to sign up and explore more content at Gaia.com. Instead of being shared directly from Gaia, current members were sharing and encouraging their peers to become a part of the Gaia community.

After being live ( to 75% of member base) for 3 months, this feature had outpaced our old “refer-a-friend” program by 300%. With 0 marketing dollars spent, we had acquired 405 new members and 600 assisted conversions. With over 100,000 video sessions, and about 200 new links being generated daily, and 2282 unique titles had been shared

After tracking this feature in the wild, we saw how powerful it was, as well as the improvements that could be made to continue to drive conversation, brand awareness, and acquisition.

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First Impressions

A good introduction is a conversation between two people. Up till now we had very little time and space to engage with our users on the site. Onboarding presented an opportunity for engagement and personalization. Instant feedback on a members homepage showed them the power of their choice and built a foundation of trust between Gaia and a new member.  

Members are on a personal journey - always changing and growing. We plan on building a progressive onboarding experience to continue the conversation and provide content to support their journey. 

My role here was to take a successful onboading expereince on our web app and translate it to mobile and tablet platforms.

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Create Community

For a long time interaction between the member community was locked out of the Gaia platform and most discussions happened on external forums. We believed that the longevity of Gaia and the message of the brand fully needed the support and ideas of the members, and we needed to capture that energy by facilitating conversations and growth. Bookmarks, comment functionality, and profiles were the just the beginning.

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Take Gaia Anywhere

The next step in giving our members full access to Gaia, was offline download. Together with our engineering team we pressure tested a few technologies that would give our members a seamless experience across all of their devices.

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Gaia is always evolving. Check back for continuous updates.

 

You can find Gaia in the wild here:

Gaia.com   iOS   Android   AppleTV   AppleWatch   Roku   FireTV