Lithys 2016: Optimizely - Community Design of the Year

Lithys 2016: Optimizely - Community Design of the Year

url.pngCompany: Optimizely

Entry submitted by: Amanda Swan (Website Product Manager) 

Community: Optiverse

Lithy Category: Community Design of the Year 


Optimizely is the world’s leading experience optimization platform, providing website and mobile A/B testing and personalization for the world’s leading brands.


Our community goals


The vision of the Optiverse is to be the most-visited digital destination for optimization industry thought leadership, peer-to-peer discussions, tutorials, how-to education and resources.


The Optiverse Community helps Optimizely scale education and support.


What makes our community unique


The Optiverse is made up of our Community, Knowledge Base, and Academy. In order to facilitate easy navigation between the three properties, we implemented a sticky left rail and top global navigation so it’s easy for visitors to jump between properties and explore different types of content. The left nav has a hover and expanded state.




We also created a responsive homepage for the Optiverse that sets context and explains why a visitor might use each of the three properties.




We’re implementing a custom implementation for premium gamification in our community with unique badges our members helped design.




In our quest to provide the best possible digital experience for an individual visitor, we’re also personalizing headers and layouts based on behavioral and firmographic attributes. We continually use AB tests and user test to inform and guide our decisions.


How we  executed our community design


There’s a blog post that digs into this process in detail that can be found here


Here are the main steps:

  1. Do you research and know your data. We were continually looking at analytics, talking to community members and performing user tests.
  2. Get the right people in the room. We gathered a team of internal stakeholders who were invested in the success of the community and set clear KPIs together.
  3. Draw a line in the sand. We created a strategy brief that became the source of truth for the entire design process. The Strategy brief outlined the vision and mission of the Optiverse, key user behaviors we wanted to influence, emotions we wanted the design to convey, target audience motivations, primary and secondary target roles, guiding UX priciples, and measureable goals. For example, based on common feedback trends from customers, the Optiverse team distilled the emotional and visual identity with six principles: Helpful, Educational, Trustworthy, Industry Leading, Thought provoking and Interactive. Of course, the tone and mood of the design should also follow these attributes. Having a strategy brief helped communicate the project to external team members and helped us evaluate success of the project.
  4. Move quickly and eliminate dependencies in design. Wireframes were essential for rapid prototyping because they allowed us to move quickly and are extremely cost-effective.  Along the way, we were constantly throwing new and crazy ideas on the wall to see what stuck. We always referred back to the user experience brief and used customer feedback to validate hypotheses. 
  5. Keep community members involved. Once we finally moved into the design phase, we made sure to keep our Community MVPs up to speed so they could contribute feedback and ideas.


Our metrics


2 months after the launch of the re-design (but still prior to rolling out gamification) we saw the following results (as compared to months prior to the launch):


Total Page Views


Total Unique Visitors


Completed Registrations


Member Time (min)


Member Entrances


# of Posts


Pages per Session


Session Duration