When I met Dayne and Clyde Rathbone, they were two brothers on a mission to create a community based on honesty. They had a general idea of what Karma would look and feel like, and they reached out to me in hopes of fleshing out the plan and designing their product.
They told me that they saw Karma as a Yelp or TripAdvisor, but instead of reviewing businesses, you review people. Pretty hefty premise. I decided to start by exploring the landscape and getting a better idea of competitor strengths and weaknesses. To do this, I did some research on similar products, as well as a competitor benchmarking.
After reviewing the competitor benchmarking, we decided that we really wanted to be a cross between Yelp and Wikipedia. We especially loved that people who edited Wikipedia articles often gathered around topics both for fun and for the sake of other viewers. We wanted to frame reviews as “contributions” to the community.
With this in mind, I embarked on laying out wireframes for the major user journeys.
With the core features laid out, I set out to test Karma using the wireframes and 1-on-1 interviews.
One main takeaway was that people were very hesitant to Sign in with Facebook, wary that their Karma reputations might follow them to other more established social media platforms.
The other big takeaway was not as easy of a fix, because it attacked one of our primary assumptions about Karma’s value. We discovered that people did not want negative things written about them online, or at the very least, they wanted to be able to control the content written about them. We decided to address the latter concern by making sure that users could dispute a review written about them by responding and voting with their own opinion.
After a few rounds of iteration, I moved on to producing the high-fidelity designs.
After producing the high-fidelity designs, Dayne and Clyde hired several engineers and began developing Karma. They're getting ready to launch an invitation-only beta – check it out here.