Xara Cloud is a document creation and editing tool that enables anyone to create professional quality marketing materials for their business. No design experience needed.
Since the beginning of 2019 we have been supporting them with UX Consultancy to help them recognize the needs of their users and achieve business objectives.
Xara Cloud competes against large world-renowned companies, however we have managed to consolidate an important market niche in Europe and the United States by showing the unique qualities of the platform and reducing the learning curve of users.
Adding new features was part of the roadmap, making them intuitive, easily recognizable, and scalable was the key to success for the UX team.
Some of the UX methods I run to find the best insights, validate design or functionality ideas, or even prepare for major platform updates were:
- Remote usability testing
- Low and High fidelity prototypes
- Google´s HEART framework
- Heuristic diagnoses
We helped design, test and improve from MVP 3 to 5. We also redesign important aspects of the interface and workflows such as On boarding, Editor, File Picker, Handles System, Dashboard, etc.
During our time working on the project, we managed to increase the user retention rate exponentially, the adoption levels of the new features were emerald green but best of all, it helped them increase the level of UX maturity in the company, receive financial support, increase sales and most importantly, strengthen the customer experience channels.
Let's cut to the chase, what did we build?
Xara Cloud Editor
The editor lets users edit, manage, transform PDFs and static documents into dynamic ones in a single platform.
The base of this editor comes from the desktop version of the company, but it needed a different dynamism, the technical limitations were noticeable and initially, it was a major problem for users to recognize functionalities, so the learning curve was high.
With this new approach our users now can grab ideas from different documents and stack them together like Lego bricks into a fluid one by simply importing files into the document you’re editing.
Today, The editor tool is easy to use and there are plenty of templates that continually are added.
When users started using this tool, it is easy for them to grasp and use in a moment's notice. Most of our users now have an on-going document where they reuse their templates over and over again for consistency across their brand.
Xara Cloud File Picker
The first version of File Picker allowed you to organize files and share them with your team, but there were important technical limitations and a high demand for features that users were constantly asking for.
Most of our clients uses Xara Cloud to create marketing and training materials quickly and effectively. Now, they're able to switch brand assets quickly when they have to create pieces for clients, and exporting is quick and intuitive.
In their dashboard, users sees personal and team folders and templates. They can easy create a new document, open any template or upload assets on a flexible way from other platform such as Powerpoint, PDF or Word. They can also connect cloud storage (Google Drive or Dropbox for instance).
According to the Demand Metric Benchmark Report, the consistent presentation of a brand increases revenue by an average of 23%.
Having that in mind we helped Xara Cloud to create a custom flow to allow users to select any template and their brand colors, logos, and fonts will be applied automatically.
The brand creator feature makes it easier to add a brand to Xara Cloud and get all the templates to immediately incorporate brand colors, logos and fonts.
Users can add or edit their brand anytime, without leaving the editor and save a lot of time. They can now grow a successful brand one document at a time.
Check the video below to understand the complete flow.
The handles that appear around objects control various aspects of the object, such as the size, rotation, zoom, margins and so on. We've made improvements to our all text and object handles, bringing in a more modern and less cluttered look.
Below is a list of the most common handles and cursors users'll see, and what they are for..
The new context menu is simplifying the access to the most useful functions relating to the selected object or text. Here are some functions accessed by the context menu:
Copy & Paste format
The Copy & Paste Format button is a handy tool to keep consistency across your document.
1. Select the text or object from which you want to copy the format (like color, size, font, etc) 2. Click Copy format in the context menu (brush icon) 3. Select the text or object you want to copy the format to, and click Paste format to apply it
Select the image you want to replace and click the Replace image option from the context menu to get the drop-down menu.
Select multiple objects and click Align objects from the context menu to e.g. get a consistent spacing. Hover over to see the different actions of alignment options.
Drag and Drop Editing
Xara Cloud promises this: Easily customize any template to your needs.
To achieve this we start by studying design tools for professionals and in parallel, study design tools for non-professionals. This gave us clues on how to route our innovation efforts and take advantage of the editing power of Xara Cloud, which is undoubtedly much more advanced than the competition, almost reaching the levels of a professional editor... However, we had to make it digestible for people with almost no technical knowledge of design. In the example below you can see some of the most used functions by our users using this functionality.
Users can discover how people interact with their content.
Xara Cloud allows users to turn anything into a web experience that can always update. They can for instance, publish online with PDF download. Xara Cloud is compatible with almost any document format out there.
User can also Track top performing content, average completion percentage, and user demographics. With page-by-page analytics users can identify interested people and nurture them accordingly.
Compare results and adjust content on the fly to achieve results faster. They can edit and republish a new version immediately and see how their engagement and sales grow.
Diagrams and Charts
Most of Xara Cloud users comes from a Business background. Having that in mind we worked on giving them all the tools they need to create beautiful data visualizations with easy.
Other UX/UI we also improved
As our library of templates keeps growing, we‘ve redesigned the file picker so users can find their files faster and work better as a team.
A single layer of organization that makes it even easier to get around their files and templates.
We helped with a Direct Import approach. Xara Cloud now integrates more naturally with your other tools. Open any supported file directly from the file picker: PowerPoint, Word, PDF, Google Doc, etc.
Requested by users working with their teams, we created a custom Team Asset Folder. This helps their team to get more done by sharing commonly-used templates, documents and assets in a team folder. It also helps to maintain their brand consistent.
Moving projects forward takes many eyeballs, ideas, and iterations. Now with Xara Cloud, multiple people can edit, make comments, and resolve feedback in real-time. All in a simple and sleek interface.
Xara Cloud also allows to change the type of collaboration in their teams. The flow to do it so consists on inviting their colleagues by @mentioning their names in the comment or by share editing the document. After that, users can pin their ideas on the text, image or graphic for easy understanding and implementation. Their team will get an email when new comments are made so they never fall behind.
If is all done, users can close the loop by resolving the comments and onto the next thing!
March 12 2020, Xara Cloud released its biggest update yet: new graphical interface, an improved editor, new collaborative tools. UX methodologies allowed these projects to be correctly routed, their internal deadlines to be met and most importantly: constantly discover opportunities for improvement.
Today millions of people around the world use Xara to create stunning content, collaborate with colleagues, and grow their business. Xara is a VC funded company, has 50+ employees, and with headquarters in Berlin and an R&D office in London.
Aaron Shutter - Product Manager (Xara)
Raisa Berger - Art Director
Ekaterina S - UI Designer
Adonay Lizardo - UX Designer
Luis Miguel Bello - UX Research