industry enterprise products
skills ux design, ui design, user research
collaborators  Katya Bachrouche (PM), Joshua Purvis (CPO)
time frame ongoing
The flow builder within Assembly is a key piece of the product's value proposition: empower companies and users to build what they need to do their best work. 
This piece of product has to be simple for the least tech-savy users, and powerful enough to build complex workflows (and scale with the business).
the challenge
Empower Assembly members to build their own workflows within our tool that should offer as much flexibility as it does guidance. At the end of the day, recognition (our first product), is just a series of inputs released into a feed. Buyers and Assembly members always asked for more: surveys, announcements, employee nominations, feedback. All of these, at the end of the day, are a series of inputs or content, sent to the right people, at the right time. 
The challenge is: how can we at Assembly build a tool that allows each group of users to build the best apps for them?
research and requirements
Before committing to requirements, we sent out a survey to our current members and potential customer base and asked: "Which of the following types of workplace communication and collaboration do you find most important to your productivity and success?"

Feedback, Weekly reviews, and Weekly 1:1s came in at the top 3 overall, with Leadership Announcements and Surveys being of top concern for our likely buyers.
We set out to design a workflow builder that could handle all of these use cases and allow for creativity on use cases we had yet to think of. The goal was to create an experience that felt lightweight but robust.
initial exploration and wireframing
To lean into the lightweight element - I attempted to fit building a flow into the main action area as a modal, so that it was easy to find and navigate without feeling a huge burden of commitment. These wireframes taught me that this experience is way too complex for a modal. After conversations with customers and the product team, we realized that building a flow is not the primary action in Assembly -- answering one is. Thus, we moved on from the modal approach.
Ask me about the journey that was designing participant selection.
Ask me about the journey that was designing participant selection.
inspiration and an aha! moment
Or, some inspiration that led to an aha! moment:
Tools like Zapier and Slack use an accordion-style, full screen takeover that strategically opens and closes sections to focus your eye on the most important information, while still offering reminders of what you've already filled out. Armed with this, I went back to the drawing board
steps after initial wireframes
Research and more design exploration led to a few tweaks like
- Changing the order in which the steps went to allow for a better flow
- Nesting the builder in a tab for each feed so you can easily edit flows
- Adding/removing steps from the builder (goodbye Confirmation section)
communicating with engineering - prototype
in production walkthrough (first version, has since been updated as of 03/21/2022)
impact and ongoing work
Since the release of the builder, we've run user research sessions, fielded feedback from sales, and analyzed usage data. Generally, flow creation was praised as intuitive and flexible, but we saw a few opportunities for improvement, as listed below.
Some of the recently released and in-flight projects include:
1. Removing the specification of participants and viewers in the builder. Flow builders have trouble committing up front. Extremely important steps like who can respond and who has viewership are too high stakes to define before they've seen the content and flow in action for themselves. Following a pattern similar to Google Docs, I added a Share button to the top right of each flow, so that flow owners can make this important decision at the right time. This change has led to about a 10% increase in flow creation, and increased comfort upon flow creation.
2. Redesigning the "Trigger" step to use more common language, walking creators through choices 1 step at a time to reduce decision fatigue.
3. Adding small improvements to the "Content" step to allow for quicker editing of templates (including block duplication, ability to add a new block above or below other blocks, and exposing advanced settings)
Flows has been a huge asset to all of our customers as they conduct 1:1s, run contests, surveys, and more. This builder is one very important step in making sure our customers can leverage full value out of Assembly by creating more meaningful communication and saving time while doing it. 
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