A fresh graduate and a penniless immigrant with no business knowledge. That’s who I was when I decided to help a friend build concludio. It all started as my co-founder’s dream to make math easy for everyone. He already had developed part of the logic behind, but he had no usable interface. That’s where I came in. 😎
Within 6 months, I ideated, prototyped, tested, and developed the concludio interface. I based my work on the 10 usability heuristics for UI design and the fresh knowledge of UI design patterns I had from my master's thesis.
As a result, concludio offered an intelligent online math editor for solving mathematical exercises step-by-step and getting instant feedback on the solution.
I keep wearing multiple hats
As a duo, we embarked on the challenging journey that lay ahead of us. My co-founder with full stack development superpowers and myself, a multi-class hybrid monster, bringing together frontend programming, graphic design, and UX knowledge. I would be what you call a UX Engineer nowadays.
Make math easy for everyone?
Well, not exactly every single person out there. We targeted first year bachelor students who had math courses in their curriculum, i.e. anyone between “math sucks, but I have to do it” and “math rocks and I need more”.
Our users are leaving us...
For the purpose of this portfolio, I’d like to focus on one particular challenge we had as a startup. We had very low conversion rates. Our marketing ads were sparking the curiosity of our target group, which indicated some market interest, but our free trial was not converting them to customers.
Quick do something!
At this point in time, we had an MVP, where one could already solve a variety of mathematical exercises in our editor, while the feedback on the solution path was more generic and less precise.
I had my assumptions why our users were not converting, and that’s why the first step towards solving our problem was to test my assumptions via a churn survey.
That dialog seems quite dramatic in retrospective. 😅 It showed every time a user cancelled their subscription.
The assumptions I tested were:
The immediate feedback on the solution steps is not helpful
The content is not relevant
The user does not understand how to solve an exercise in our editor
It is expensive
The lean startup
We had only one scholarship year to collect proper funding or sell our product. Therefore, time was of the essence. Based on the user feedback, I prioritized solving the issues that were the most common answer, but also that were easier to tackle and would already bring a lot of value for us.
The top issue was irrelevant content, hence I added a classic onboarding step to collect the topics our users would like to learn. Based on the topic popularity, we supported more and more math topics.
The second issue was the difficulty in solving exercises in our editor. Now, the real problem here was not straightforward. First off, it was difficult inputting a mathematical formula with a keyboard. Alright, let's add handwriting support for mobile devices.
On top of that, since we enforced quite a formal way of solving mathematical exercises, it was not easy for our users to understand what to do at each solution step. This occurred because of a lack of fundamental knowledge in math, which we aimed to address. To tackle this we added an explanation and an example for each step.
However, through fullstory observations, this didn't seem to help our users.
Additionally, we offered video tutorials for some of the exercises on how to solve them in concludio. This turned out to be a better way to teach them how to use concludio, but also on how to logically solve the exercises.
concludio is no more ...
Even though we reacted quickly to user feedback, I think we didn’t get to the bottom of the problem.
Our product, first of its kind, was still an MVP and not powerful enough to support and impress anyone using it.
That being said, even though we tried, we couldn't get enough users to convince investors.
We were not sales people and didn’t do a good job in selling the idea of concludio.
And so it goes...
After one year of scholarship funding and 3 months of UG, we ran out of money and shut concludio down.
Would I do it again?
concludio? No. Not my dream. Another tech startup? Maybe. But, not in the near future.
If I were to do concludio again though, I would:
Create a very basic MVP that does only one thing really well