FirstRain - Personal Business Analytics Platform.

  • Role: Senior Product Designer.
  • Category: Enterprise Application.
  • Duration: Nov 2013-Present
  • Projects: StartHere - ONB, Context View, Email Briefs, Calendar PoC, iPhone App, iPad App, SFDC Component, SF1 App, Redesign Web App.
My Role

I joined FirstRain in late 2013 as a Senior product designer. I was tasked with improving current Admin tool (Start Here), which is considered as bridge between new/existing user onboard experience to web app. Currently I'm focused on new product development (like Context View, Calendar PoC, Redesign of Orion Platform - FR App, Email Briefs) web onboarding experience and improving the visual/front-end consistency across the product.


FirstRain is a personal business analytics platform that brings together external and internal unstructured data to coach teams and professionals on key business developments that affect their go-to-market strategy, business relationships, and investments. It also help you grow revenue by feeding you the right business-critical information in the right place at the right time.

Goal of the Product

The goal of our product is to equip customers and their teams with action-oriented insights on the fly that help them have smarter conversations with their customers, identify potential opportunities & risks, build trust… etc. The FirstRain intelligence engine is based on personalized analytics that adapts to their feedback. It is also transforming the way people do business and making decisions.

Critical Findings
  • It takes too long to get a user started.
  • Users are not returning to FirstRain App after signing up.
  • Users do not perceive any difference between FirstRain App and Google Alerts.
  • Buyers put FirstRain App in the same category as general news providers.

Design Process
Design Pair

While working on StartHere, my partner Lowell Steveland and I practiced pair designing. This allowed us to leverage both of our expetise, experiences and perspectives as designers and collaborate to find good design solutions. We were also able to have shared ownership over the project. It also helped us to come up with a coherent work flow.

Persona Development

Understanding target audience is an essential thing for any application design. We took four functional features from existing FirstRain app and analysed those to identify core functions and value to the users.

As a next step, we talked with our internal field sales team and external users about their experience with the current app., their current struggle points and road blocks. With this information, we returned to our persona development process and made sure end user was at the center of the design process.

Usability Testing - Current Web App

Next, we conducted some preliminary user testing to get an understanding of how users currently interacted with the FirstRain Admin tool and their major pain points. With a brief discussion guide, we created scenarios for users as they tried to accomplish various tasks.

    From our testing, we found that users had these issues:
  • Users could not create or edit customized interest lists for a company.
  • Lack of understanding of which monitors were created by the admin setup process.
  • Updates to admin setup monitors and preferences via the monitor configuration tool are lost if the user tries to update their monitors from admin tool again.
  • Lack of accessibility to admin tool to update their profile.
  • From mobile apps, there is no way to easily get to admin tool or to update their monitors.
  • It is not clear when to use admin tool vs when to use monitor configuration to create a monitor.
  • Updates to admin tool monitors and preferences via the monitor configuration tool are lost if the users try to update their monitors from admin setup again.
  • Changes made to monitors from within the webapp are not clearly expressed, or discoverable in the output.
  • Users may not easily notice that monitors are not sufficiently focused, and even if they do notice they may not know how to fix them.
  • As roles change, it is hard to keep monitors updated.
  • As company organization changes, it is hard to keep monitors updated.
Analysis of current app

First, was carefully analyzed in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current design. Current app was designed 10 years ago, and has only slightly changed since then. There is a huge gap between the admin setup tool and actual web app. There is a huge learning curve for admins to know how to setup the monitors. Due to this there is a low adaptation rate.

Competition comparative analysis

We conducted a brief comparative analysis, looking at other analytic web apps such as Gagein, Lattice enginges, Inside View and other in-direct competitors such as Linked In and One Source to understand how competitors in the space were currently addressing similar design challenges.

User Task Flow

Task flows helped us to think through the design before a feature is actually developed. It helped us to interject the user into the flow of the application, and determine if the conceptual model agrees with the user model.


My partner and I diverged and created our own UI sketches, experimenting visually with different designs and interaction patterns. We chose to start with low fidelity sketches to get our ideas out quickly and efficiently, critique and explore different design solutions without getting hung up on higher-fidelity details. Below are some selected sketches of mine. After I sketched, I talked to a few people about the sketches to make sure I wasn’t missing any major part of the experience.


Creating wireframes helped us to analyze and validate application requirements.


By using Card based UI architecture, we could build workflow and carefully tune it for each user, this framework allowed us to have a very personal view into our customers, markets, strategy and competition. This customized information experience allowed us to come up with optimized design solutions for mobile device, a tablet, CRM and a web application, that increased customer engagement via low-noise and high precision insights. Increase productivity by 68% and user adoption by 85%

Ready To Ship

After all of the tests and iterations the finalized solution was visually polished with detailed specs and delivered to the developers.