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Creating a SaaS business

Startup
Tax-software
Design system
Dev collaboration
Main contributions
  • Branding
  • Product ideation
  • Building a design team
  • Service mapping
  • Design system
  • Iterations
Role
Lead designer

June 2018 – June 2022

About the company, iZi

This Startup wanted to (help) fix a very visible problem:

A very hard to use national tax software

With very poor aesthetics and too much information, processes turned very complex and provided little to no feedback, which could sometimes result in errors-that meant huge fines or businesses being shut down.

Our goals

Ensure our registered users carry the billing and tax registration on time and without any errors.

Provide a better tax management experience with simplified steps, softer aesthetics, and friendly interactions.

My role

I was first called to the project as freelance designer for a fast MVP, later I stayed in a now more-settled company and was able to introduce a lot of UX processes, validate ideas in the real world, iterate from the MVP and re-design where necessary.

UX team of one

As in lot of startups, initially I had to wear many hats, I worked hands-on and contributed in a lot of areas that were closely related and that, of course, included visuals.

First design projects
Branding
Style guide
Marketing
Sales tool: a WordPress site
The actual product

Started as an MVP now we’re here.

The process was a little messy, we had to respond to specific and unpredictable challenges in creative ways.

The pressure from investors made us rush to an MVP that went from collaborative  diagrams and sketches with the CTO, to high fidelity mocks, and loads of collaboration with devs to make things happen.

This was perfect to get us through the first round of investment and to launch into the real world, see real people’s reaction to it and the way the product could be used (and by whom). This led to having a better understanding of our main users and what big features were worth pursuing further (from a business perspective) and which were just not doing it… so: PIVOT!

Today iZi is used in more than 800 companies in Bolivia.

Can we have more features?

The company started growing, and as we acquired more customers, we realised that they had other needs.

– We like the taxing platform… but can we create quotes to our clients from here too?

– I love that I can create invoices for my customers, but what about the invoices that my vendors and providers give to me?

– Yes, the tax thing is helpful, but I need to keep an inventory of what I’m selling first

This information was informally collected by Sales in calls with clients and comments from close customers.

Some people in the team (hello, Sales folk) where really interested in being able to improve our product offering, being able to solve more problems to our customers would guarantee loyalty and open the path for new customers.

Hiring

As the project kept growing, it became obvious to me that I had to shift from a UX team of one to a Desing Team, and I was extremely happy about it. After some interviews and using a lot of intuition, an amazing Team of 3 was created.

Then came the most important part: aligning the team.

Aligning a team
Service maps
Diagrams
Getting data from Customer success team
Communication with devs

Our really helpful Service mapping template:

Design system

With new members on the team and new products to ideate, we wanted to be able to create new designs and try new features easily, with consistency, and with a really good collaboration with front-end devs.

It was decided to work on an Atomic Design System. Aligning on the goal wasn’t difficult as all teams recognised the value on being able to document components.

Here is part of the evolution of our Design system:

Overall learnings and results
Being there from scratch

Having the opportunity to be part of a project from scratch allows for a better understanding of the business and lateral view of all other teams, as a designer I felt able to foster more user centric approaches.

Iterations

With a well-coordinated design team and a design system in place, the process of making iterations and improvements on the product became both organized and enjoyable.

How things are going

iZi reached our goal to have a solution to manage taxes in an easy and friendly way, integrated with the Nacional tax system and keeping users informed about due dates and taxes payments, and helping them avoid fines. 2 rounds of investments both in Bolivia and a growing list of clients all over the country.

About me

I’ve spent the last 6 years in UX roles, being fully immersed in the products from planning to launching & iterations, all with the goal of crafting the most delightful user experiences.

With a background in Graphic design, I bring an inherently visual and hands-on approach to my work, and I thrive in environments (or while creating them) where organised and documented processes coexist with the freedom to create, share, experiment and test. Team work and diversity are at my core, complemented by my dedication to providing mentorship and constant learning.

Check out my CV, or just start a conversation on LinkedIn, or maybe check out some extra projects on Behance, or get mentorship from me in ADPList ✌🏼

hola@valentinaleonor.com
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