Staying Up to Date with Startups: Optimizing the Product Hunt Mobile User Experience
A mention on Product Hunt is considered by many entrepreneurs to be a sign that their startup or product has a strong chance of making it.
Product Hunt is a website that announces the latest product releases, and is an essential resource for investors, entrepreneurs, journalists, and more. According to their self-description, “Product Hunt is a curation of the best new products, every day. Discover the latest mobile apps, websites, and technology products that everyone’s talking about.”
Each day, the site features a carefully curated list of between 15 and 20 different digital and tech products. The products are selected by a carefully vetted group of over 8,000 influencers that range from Silicon Valley rainmakers to NBA stars. The site’s design, careful information architecture, and selected usability features do a great job of helping users to focus in an environment that contains a high volume of information.
Mobile-Friendly Minimalism and User Experience
The first impression of Product Hunt reveals a minimalist, list-style site with tons of white space and a tap-friendly design that’s great for mobile users. The site looks good on a mega monitor and is easy to navigate as a casual browser on a smartphone. The home page quickly gives users access to in-demand features. A submission form is front and center to get subscribers to the site’s newsletter, which delivers each day’s product list via email — a clear value proposition for time-starved tech fans.
Along the top menu, an open search bar and login comprise the entirety of the main menu. The meat of the site itself is the product list. Each day is broken out by date-based headers for easy navigation and later referencing. The list of products features an icon with the number of upvotes a product has received, a snappy description, and links to the influencers that recommended the product. Upvoting is an important part of the system and each day’s products are ordered according to the number of votes that they receive.
Another feature on the main landing page uses simple icons to quickly convey information about the product, right to the product name. For example, in the image below it’s easy to see that “Glose for Mobile” is available in the Apple Store and the Play Store for Android, and that there’s an exclusive offer available for site users on Product Hunt to get a discount. Touching certain icons reveals a pop-up that gives more information on what that icon means.
Links on the homepage — or whenever a user clicks on a product name — take the user directly to that company’s website. There are no dedicated product pages or further information that users have to explore. This user design does a brilliant job of conveying a significant amount of details about products to browsers without taking up too much visual real estate. It’s a powerful example of how to pack in significant detail when optimizing a site design to be friendly to smaller screens and still maintaining a clean, balanced look.
Different Information Architecture Options for Different User Intentions
Product Hunt offers two primary ways of viewing information that are fundamentally different, based on user intention. The first is the product list which is described above. The main product page has an effective organizational structure for users that want to stay in the know on the latest and hottest products and visit the site daily. The second option is collections. Users are able to create collections of tools which appeal to them, simply by starting a collection and then adding different products to it. Collections are also a useful feature for individual users that want to create lists of tools for future reference or to share with their teams.
Collections also provides a different window into the site’s content. Featured collections are highlighted on a horizontal menu near the top of every page. These collections are organized by theme and provide users another way of browsing the site’s content by topic. It’s helpful for users seeking product insights related to a task they’re trying to complete or a problem they’re working to solve. Top collections include leading products (the 1,000 upvote club), productivity hacks, PR hacks, and many other topics that are geared toward the interests of the site’s users. Visually, the pop out blocks help users skim the page on mobile devices, and differentiate the user experience from browsing the product list.
Product Hunt offers brands several key takeaways in terms of usability and design. The first is that it’s possible to manage a large volume of constantly changing information in an organic way, while maintaining an attractive and mobile-friendly design. The second is that understanding how your audience works and what it wants to accomplish can help you design an information architecture that’s both easy to navigate and effective.
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