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Published September 23rd 2019

BuzzSumo Interview: The Product Team Discuss Our Exciting New Look!

We sit down with Alena Hall (BuzzSumo's Head of Product Design) and James Blackwell (BuzzSumo's co-founder and VP of Product) to get their insight on the data and decisions behind the new BuzzSumo user interface.

It’s the result of almost one year of research, re-design and build by our product team, and it’s finally out of Beta and ready for the world to use! For details of what’s changed and what’s new, have a read of our introduction to the new Buzzsumo’s tools for content marketing insights.

The new BuzzSumo UI has been built from the ground up to allow existing users to get the insights they need as quickly and easily as possible whilst being as intuitive as possible for new users to navigate and learn.

In this blog we sit down with Alena Hall (BuzzSumo’s Head of Product Design) and James Blackwell (BuzzSumo’s co-founder and VP of Product) to get their insight on the data and decisions behind the new BuzzSumo user interface.

First we hear from Alena, who is the design guru and researcher behind the refresh.

Interview With BuzzSumo Designer Alena

What are you most excited about in the new User Interface?

Alena: I’m excited about the exploration of the new product – users discovering things that they were previously unaware of. During user testing we found that there’s many features within BuzzSumo that our users didn’t know about. We spent time focusing on navigation and labelling to combat this.


Why did we need to do this work?

Alena: BuzzSumo has grown a lot over the last 5 years and there’s a lot of intelligent data behind the scenes. During that 5 years there’s been new features and functionality added into the platform but it became apparent that we needed to take a breath and assess what we had with a focus on our users and amongst the competition.


How were our customers involved in guiding your design?

Alena: We spent about 2 months before starting work on the new platform analysing and gathering research on what we already had. This began with an in depth audit followed by an opinion survey of 300 of our users. We ran usability testing where we invited our users to take part. During these tests we examined the performance of regular BuzzSumo tasks. Accessing the ease, speed and flows that were taken. It was vital throughout each of these stages to have our customers involvement and it informed much of what we did.

What can we expect to see in the future?

Alena: The new UI has set the tone for BuzzSumo going forward. We’ll continue focusing on user needs and making improvements in line with those needs. We’ve already got the wheels in motion on some exciting things later this year and will continue to keep the user at the center of what we do.

Thanks Alena, we can’t wait to see what you’re working on come to life!

Over to James, one of the founding team of BuzzSumo, let’s get his view on this big step change.

Interview with James From BuzzSumo’s Founding Team

This is the biggest refresh BuzzSumo has had since you co-founded the business 5 years ago, how did this work compare to hacking together an MVP in 2014?

James: In the earlier years we prioritised getting new data and functionality in front of users as quickly as possible. This has some obvious advantages but it usually meant settling for the first design we tried, even when it was less than ideal. We also accumulated quite a bit of inconsistent UI and rushed the copy in places. This really adds up over time and it has become harder to use and discover features, especially for newer users.

It’s been a great experience taking a step back and assessing what works and what doesn’t. Then spending some more time trying out different designs before jumping into coding UI.

What were your core objectives when you started this project and how do you plan on measuring their success?

James: We wanted to drive adoption of the less used features so we’ll be measuring whether the usage of those increases over time. In addition to that, we’ve made improvements to reduce the level of confusion during the trial period and improve the experience during those first 7 days. We’ll be measuring whether this has an affect on the number of new customers we convert.


What do you think users will love the most about the new experience?

James: Our Web and Facebook analysis reports have received a big visual overhaul and they look fantastic. Comparing different topics or domains is also easier and clearer now. I also hope that users find it easier to get started with the product.

We hope you’ll enjoy the new UI as much as we have enjoyed building it, to celebrate this launch we are allowing trial access to the new platform for free, even if you have already had a trial previously.

Launch your trial and check out everything we’ve built for you!

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