Thumbtack Design & Research
I previously led the Design & Research teams at Thumbtack, a two-sided online marketplace that matches customers with local services professionals from over 400 different categories. When you need to hire someone – a plumber, a landscaper, a DJ, anyone – Thumbtack finds them for you for free.
As a the Head of Design, I am incredibly proud of the diverse talent and individual skillsets across the Product Design, Experience Research, and Product Writing teams. Since joining Thumbtack, I’ve tripled the size of the research team, driven the mechanics of category strategy, and have helped rebuild the entire Design org amidst the uncertainty of 2020.
In the past year, we’ve shipped numerous features and updates including an “Instant Book” experience where customers can immediately book pros for jobs, an improved targeting experience to match pro preferences with the right customers, and better budget and Price Assurance protection systems.
In addition to product improvements, our org has been a big driver in the development of the company’s 3-year vision, the refinement towards core consumer segments, and internal and external diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. We’re an innovative, low-ego, and impact-oriented group dedicated to building the best products that help customers fix, maintain, and improve their homes. If you’re interested in joining our team, please reach out. We’re always hiring!
- Thumbtack Product Design 2019 Highlights: This article lists some of feature highlights including updates to the Projects tab, Lead Management, and the Customer Demo.
- “Meet Rannie” Medium Article: In this interview, you can read about my reasons for joining Thumbtack, our Design team culture, and some of my favorite projects.
- Targeting 101: This guide explains how targeting works on Thumbtack, and how targeting gets pros the exact jobs they’re looking for.
- Thumbtack 9th Annual Small Business Friendliness Survey: This survey represents the largest continuous study in the U.S. of small business perceptions on government policy.
Simplifying Facebook Search
This still remains one of my favorite all-time product initiatives. With over two billion searches a day, redesigning the search experience was a massive undertaking. The search box persists at the top of the Facebook app and serves as an entry-point to every surface and piece of content on the platform. Meanwhile, we had to support competing goals for navigation, discovery, personalization, and speed.
As the research lead, I drove the investigations that shaped the end-to-end experience and advised on the complexities of execution. This work impacted internationalization strategy and scaling decisions, global app performance, and platform parity and accessibility across the world.
“Facebook Search was originally designed to let people easily navigate to profiles, businesses, groups, and events. Over the past few years it has grown to include other types of Facebook content, such as the posts, photos, and videos we share in News Feed. With each new addition, the design of the system became increasingly more complex.” You can read more here.
Career Conversation Card Sort
Inspired by the prioritization powers of qualitative research methods, I developed the Career Conversation Card Sort in 2017 as a manager’s tool for unpacking ambiguous career-related concepts and growth goals with direct reports. The tool includes a discussion guide and cards with concepts like Promotion, Role Change, Work-Life Balance, and Impact.
After a few design iterations and word getting out about the tool, over 2,000 units of the Career Conversation Card Sort have been sold. It has been used by managers, ICs, and career coaches in companies like Facebook, Google, Instacart, DoorDash, and Credit Karma. A remote-friendly version for virtual teams is under development and in beta-testing.
Managers – Make Your Habits Work for You
On its face, management shouldn’t be much of a challenge. You’ve likely already had some success as an IC, racking up wins and impressing your managers. They’ve given you validation by entrusting you to lead your own team. In other words, you’ve made it clear you know the material, and they’ve made it clear that they’ve noticed. But whether you’re in research or design or marketing or accounting, knowing your stuff is only one tool that a manager needs to be successful.
In this article, I discuss how strong routine and existing habits can drive both product and organizational impact. For example, if researchers are uniquely trained and experienced in understanding people’s needs and motivations, why not use those skills in a management context?