May 13, 2013

A New MailChimp Is Coming

We have a motto that guides our work here at MailChimp: Listen hard and change fast. We’ve been doing a lot of both in the past few months. Last year some curious patterns emerged in feedback from our customers. There was so much feedback relating to the mobile experience. Let’s be honest—mobile devices aren’t just an industry trend; they’re a revolution changing our culture. We get that, but we wanted to find out how broader industry trends were shaping our customers’ day-to-day work.

listenhard

We did a lot of traveling to meet with customers, and spent hours in interviews learning how people use MailChimp. We compiled hundreds of pieces of feedback from customers and our support team, and conducted surveys with thousands of users. All of this helped us see some places where MailChimp was falling short, but more importantly, it helped us see bigger trends. We realized people are still doing the same kind of work they always have, but there’s been a shift in how they get that work done. Most people are trying to do more with less. They have a ton of responsibilities to address by the end of the day, many are accountable to a boss who tracks their work, and there are still just 24 hours in the day. They’re using mobile devices to get stuff done during what would otherwise be idle time. 9-5 just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.

With limited time and resources, teamwork is more important than ever. 35% of our customers are working collaboratively today, and we see this statistic increasing steadily. People are passing the baton to colleagues when they’re unable to complete a task. They’re collaborating in order to do better work and get it done quickly.

So the requests for a mobile experience were just symptomatic of a bigger change. We’re all feeling extra pressure to get more things done these days, and because we can’t work any harder, we have to start working smarter. That’s why we’ve created a brand-new MailChimp that will hopefully help you do just that.

MailChimp will switch to a new look and enhanced features in June. We’ll show you our work over the next few weeks on the blog, so you can get familiar with the new look and understand why certain things changed. We want to help you work smarter, so you can focus on your customers and fans—not on our software.

Three goals have guided our design process. First, we want to make MailChimp ubiquitous, so it’s within reach whenever and wherever you need it. We also want to make the workflow more efficient, shaving seconds off of tasks, so you can get your work done and move on with life. And finally, we want to help teams collaborate so they can make better work and get consensus quickly.

Ubiquity

Though mobile devices are outselling PCs these days, they’re not replacing the desktop experience—they’re extending it. People start a task on one device and pick it back up on another. This new behavior pattern requires a different kind of design thinking that’s focused on consistency, optimization for different contexts, and clear continuation of workflows.

New MailChimp is responsive. Whether you access it from your desktop, laptop, or tablet, the layout will reflow to fit your screen. Although fitting an entire app as sophisticated as MailChimp into a tiny smartphone screen isn’t ideal, you can still fire off a campaign in a pinch. We’ve redesigned MailChimp Mobile to extend the desktop experience to smartphones, so you can manage your lists and track campaigns when you’re away from your desk.

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New MailChimp is always ready to go whenever and wherever you are. For us, making MailChimp ubiquitous isn’t just about making it “mobile-friendly.” It’s about making it work in all contexts.

Efficiency

MailChimp’s new design is the product of countless iterations over many months. We love great design, but not if it comes at the expense of functionality. We started redesigning MailChimp by removing any visual elements that weren’t essential to getting things done. Extraneous design elements add cognitive load that gradually erodes usability and learnability. Strong information hierarchy and clarity about what can be done on a page help new users and veterans alike move more quickly through the app.

Ok, now I’ll take off my designer hat and share a few examples of specific changes that are going to shave time off your workflow.

We had to touch every page in MailChimp for this project. That gave us the opportunity to question previous design decisions to see what could be made more efficient.

The setup page in the Campaign Builder has a lot of options, but people rarely do anything more than set a campaign name, subject line, and reply-to email. So we’ve collapsed all the advanced options, keeping them within reach if you need them, but getting them out of the way of the typical workflow.

Setup_Final

We also spent a lot of time making improvements to the subscriber list view, one of the most visited pages in MailChimp. We’ve made it easier to scroll through columns while still seeing email addresses, and now less important columns can be temporarily hidden from view, helping you focus on the information that’s most important.

List_Final02

We even made small efficiency improvements to the navigation. New users see an icon and label in the global navigation that guide them to the app’s key sections. Once you’ve got your bearings, you can simply collapse the nav bar, showing icons you’ll now recognize. That creates more space for you to do your work, which improves work speed.

Pro_Final

These improvements just scratch the surface. Many small improvements to efficiency add up to minutes saved with each session, and hours over months and years. Though we can’t add more hours to your day, we can help you spend less time on things that aren’t important.

Collaboration

Over the past few releases, we’ve been steadily adding features to help teams work together. Multi-user accounts let you share your account with colleagues while keeping a handle on permissions. And collaborative campaign building lets you work in tandem as you write and design. We’ve also added comment threading to campaigns, so you can give feedback from inside a campaign or by replying to a test email from any device.

Change is Hard

We know that change is scary for a lot of people, and New MailChimp might take a little getting used to. Since rethinking MailChimp on a grand scale could be disruptive to millions of people, we’ve made an effort to avoid changing things for cosmetic indulgence alone. We really want to make our product serve your needs better. Digital lives are changing, work habits are changing, and we think MailChimp should change with you.

Starting in June, we’ll roll out New MailChimp as an optional upgrade for four weeks, so you have plenty of time to try it out when you’re not under deadline. We hope you like what you see, and we’re listening to your feedback.

If you’d like to get a head start on what’s coming, we’re releasing a series of blog posts and videos that go into a bit more detail found here: New MailChimp