In Spring of 2016, we kicked off what would be a multi-stage product development process which culminated in the launch of our new home screen with the release of Foursquare City Guide v 10.0 in September. All new homepage design credit goes to Nicole Formica.
There were actually a couple of problems with our old homepage. First, many new users would land on this page, tap on nothing and leave the app, never to return again. We were mystified - what did they want? Did they not understand what to do?
Second, 85% of users interacted only with the search portion of the page. Very few users clicked or even scrolled to see our "Top Picks", a personalized collection of recommendations that update daily. So we knew most of our homepage space was not being utilized. Moreover from user research sessions, we heard some users felt these places were paid or sponsored, and therefore were purposely ignoring these recommendations.
Finally, we knew that users thought of Foursquare as their go to when they were looking for a place in the moment, and not so much for planning ahead or browsing.
THE QUICKIE A/B TEST
In order to see whether a more search forward experience would alleviate our install and bounce issue, we ran a quick A/B test among new users. In this experiment, we basically expanded our intent button menu (what happens when you tap the overflow menu in our original homepage) and never showed users our Top Picks. They could close out and see them, but we just defaulted them to this view for the rest of their time.
To our delight, we saw a huge lift in week 2 and month 2 retention from showing users a search-focused screen.
The next step in our journey was to test a variety of search-focused concepts with real users. We presented our users with 3 options which ranged from straight-forward to a little out there. Luckily our users reacted strongly and were unanimous in their favorite.
Before we were ready to ship our new homepage, we wanted to ensure we resolved any usability issues. Since Foursquare City Guide has no onboarding or sign up flow, this screen would be the first thing users see of our app, and we wanted to make sure our first impression was an awesome one.
At long last, we launched our new homepage in September. Our numerous rounds of user research and A/B testing paid off, with substantial increases in engagement and retention among both new users and existing users.