cards for the uk
FreePrints Cards UK
FreePrints Cards is a 5-star rated app in the UK that allows customers to order physical customized greeting cards. The app was launched in March 2019 and reached #1 in the Photo & Video category in the App Store and Google Play. Although it’s based off of PlanetArt’s other cards app, Ink Cards, I designed new features to meet the needs of UK customers.
Our US-based Ink Cards app was available in the UK, but it didn’t attract a lot of customers because the language wasn’t localized to the UK, nor did the app offer folded cards—people in the UK love folded cards.
In order to increase our card business in the UK, we needed to create an experience that met the needs and expectations of people living there.
Research, UX, UI, prototyping, usability testing
December 2018 - March 2019
Understanding the problem
From our market research, we learned that people in the UK don’t like giving flat cards, which is the only type of cards offered in the Ink Cards app. They prefer giving folded cards. We also learned that they like giving cards in person. However, Ink Cards only allowed customers to mail cards directly to recipients. In order to be competitive with other card apps, we needed an app that catered to UK preferences.
Usability testing Ink Cards in the UK
Since Ink Cards is available in the UK, I conducted a usability test with 6 participants living in the UK who have never used the app to learn more about their expectations and to identify other areas of improvement. While the participants thought the app was easy to use overall, some of them mentioned wanting to see folded cards and using postcode lookup for address entry (a common method of entering an address on UK websites). These desires aligned with our market research and with what I saw on competing UK greeting card sites.
How might we create a better cards experience for the UK?
Since we already have a huge customer base using our other apps in the UK, we wanted to create an experience that appealed to our existing UK customers and met the needs of the UK in order to acquire more even customers. Instead of changing Ink Cards or making an Ink Cards UK version, we decided to launch FreePrints Cards, an app that offers a free flat postcard every month and folded cards at a higher price point and the ability for customers to deliver a card to themselves.
Although the app does not have any public association with Ink Cards, FreePrints Cards was built essentially as a clone of Ink Cards—this allowed us to launch the app faster. To make the app UK-specific, the marketing team worked on the branding—the app icon, logo, and colors. I designed the experience of customizing a folded card, choosing a delivery method, and entering an address using postcode lookup.
Navigating your way around a folded card
For folded cards, customers need to be able to know which side of the card they’re on and how to navigate to other parts of the card. I explored several UI options, and after creating prototypes and watching people in the office use them, I decided that showing a visual of a folded card and using swipe and tap gestures was the most simplified yet usable approach.
Adding a photo to the inside of the card
Adding a photo to the inside of a folded card is an optional feature. In order to help customers understand that it’s optional, I decided to add a message above the card informing customers that the inside will be blank if they do not add a photo. When they add a photo, the message turns into a button that allows them to remove the photo.
Making pricing transparent
Since the app’s main draw is a free standard postcard every month, I decided that we needed to have the standard postcard selected by default with the regular price showing for full pricing-transparency. We also needed to show the folded card price.
Choosing a delivery method
After customers complete their card, they need to choose whether they want the card delivered to them or to their recipient directly. I explored two UI options for this task: one where customers choose on the address book screen, and one where they choose before getting to the address book.
I decided that the option on the right created the best experience for the customer because it separates the actions of choosing the delivery method and adding a recipient—I wanted customers to clearly understand the delivery options without an overload of other visual noise.
Using postcode lookup
People in the UK are used to using postcode lookup when entering their address—they type in their postcode, and their address automatically pops up. We needed to have this feature in our app too if we wanted to make address input super easy. After some UI explorations, I decided to use tabs to switch between postcode lookup and manual address entry since they’re different but related paths a customer can take.
To identify usability issues with my designs, I ran a remote, unmoderated usability test with 4 people in the UK. Three out of 4 people thought it was very easy to customize a folded card. One person took a while to add a photo to the inside of the card because she didn’t notice the left side of the card. I decided not to make any changes based on this observation because the majority of users didn’t have an issue and adding a photo to the inside is optional.
Users did not experience any issues choosing a delivery method or adding a delivery address.
Customizing a folded card
Customers can upgrade to a folded card if they don’t want the free postcard.
Choosing a delivery method and entering an address
After customizing their card, customers choose a delivery method, then enter in an address either using postcode lookup or manually.
To communicate how these tasks should work to product and engineering, I created task flow diagrams.
Post Launch Impact
We released the iOS and Android app in the UK in March 2019. Since then,
the app reached #1 in the Photo & Video category in the App Store and Google Play
over 50% of orders are premium cards
app is rated close to 5 stars on both platforms
~89,000 orders place since launch as of 6/14/2019
69% of users are sending cards to themselves
iOS conversion rate for new users in the 90 days since the app launched is 10.83%; on Android, it’s 15.55%
From a survey of 396 customers who ordered at least 1 folded card, 98% were satisfied/very satisfied with the app.
This project proved how critical understanding the needs of different markets and existing customers in those markets is to the success of a new product. If we just took Ink Cards, localized the language to UK English, and increased the marketing effort, we wouldn’t have had the same success that we’ve experienced so far by launching a new app with features UK customers expect. We’re learning more about what our UK customers want through app reviews and customer support emails—we recently launched a small feature that allows customers to choose a glossy folded card instead of a matte folded card and adoption is around 90%.