Rifr newsletter
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Rifr dashboard

A Newsletter Creation Tool

Rifr takes the best of what you read online, automatically assembles a newsletter, and gives you real-time insights to help you build your tribe.

Product Design • User Experience • Brand Identity

The Project

Many of us find it daunting to stare at an empty text field, hoping to put something out in the world. Rifr was a tool that made you the expert on a given topic, allowing you to share insights without having to stare at an empty text field. 

Rifr bookmarklet

The Rifr bookmarklet that easily lets you choose your topic when saving an article. 

Rifr newsletter displayd on an iPad

Viewing the email formatted for a tablet.

Approach

When we first took our ideas to paper, we wanted to understand why we found writing to be difficult, and wondered whether there was an alternative to sharing our thoughts and ideas in another form.

Initially, there was a constant struggle in how to design the user experience. We had decided early on that it should be built for the desktop first, because of the complexity and limitations in saving articles from your phone. We also wanted the interface to duplicate as a preview,  as though you were editing an actual email. This would involve using the exact fonts, hiding the input field borders, allowing drag and drop, and adding inline thoughts right beside your articles. What is commonplace now with many editors, was on the bleeding edge with Rifr.

In short, by saving just one article Rifr allowed you to create your first newsletter without staring at an empty text field. You could, in fact, send this out immediately without doing anything else.

Rifr Newsetter feed

Hey there, this is the default text for a new paragraph. Feel free to edit this paragraph by clicking on the yellow edit icon. After you are done just click on the yellow checkmark button on the top right. Have Fun!

Inspiration

When trying to communicate changes to the interface to users, it was too time-consuming to write emails and marketing materials explaining every new release. One feature that we really loved from Wufoo was how they described updates when you logged in for the first time in a while.

This allowed us to continue building out the product, yet not spend too much time designing marketing emails to users about every update.

 

Product Updates

A prompt when first signing in to show the user what has changed since last time. Thanks, Wufoo!

UX Solutions

Our most important screen was the compose window. To appeal to new users, we wanted to make sure that you could assemble your email in a way that felt like you were editing the final product.

 

Composing an email

The compose newsletter view mimicked an actual newsletter so that you were able to see the end result while in the building phase.

The dashboard was built on of Node.js, which allowed us to display real-time engagement activity. Here, you were able to view how well your open rates, most clicked on articles, and eyeballs were attuned to your shared articles in real-time. The best part, immediately commenting inline which would then email the original recipient. With the maintenance of moderating public comments, we felt that any comments would be made private by default, while easily allowing the author to make them public. 

Rifr Dashboard

Lessons Learned

Even though we had landed our first customer who saw increased adoption while using Rifr, we ultimately couldn’t put together the resources to keep it going.

We unfortunately decided to shut it down, but it remains one of the most useful (to me) projects I have worked on.

Selected Works

HomeSpotter AppProduct Design

Deco Web AppProduct Design

Rifr Web AppProduct Design

100 Days of Palm TreesPersonal Sketching