Crowdfunding, from Spark to Substance

Giving shape to Limoney’s ambitious crowdfunding concept.

What happens when six Italian entrepreneurs decide to move their communities to action? A new twist on crowdfunding is born. Naturally, Limoney had a ton of enthusiasm and ideas, but it wasn’t until they talked to us that they discovered the need for an angle. We were able to help them shape the big picture, which set a clear path to a win.

A crowded space

Finding the spark to fire up our thinking.

Many crowdfunding sites compete for attention out there. So when we started, we knew that we didn't want to recreate Kickstarter in Italian. We began the discussion by looking at what the Limoney team has done so far. We found that, in an effort on their part to be lean, they had attempted to quickly solve the problem by going straight to wireframes.

They entrusted us to step back and ponder the bigger picture. We knew that a single awesome kickass feature or sleek visuals wouldn’t be enough to set Limoney apart. So our first brainstorms were focused on exploring themes that would string together features and functions into a product with a clear voice.

We saw promise in a community-centric direction where every project would become a catalyst for rallying passionate Italians to action and exercising their national pride.

Three’s not a crowd

User personas influence the direction of the whole enterprise.

Through our Google Hangouts with Limoney across the Atlantic and a little educated guessing, we came up with three personas that would represent different users of the site. Personas are pretty common in the interaction design world, but we put our own spin on them. We focused on the context in which they would operate on the site. We created narratives based on the Entrepreneur, Supporter and Advisor. We imagined their motivations, their goals and their long-term objectives. What's going to give these users their high? What's going to keep them coming back?

We realized that a sense of belonging was the best way to move all three personas toward a common goal. Entrepreneurs wouldn’t just try to get a new gadget off the ground — they’d be creating a movement. Supporters would ride the wave, discovering exciting new projects and supporting what matters to them. Advisors would be in a great position to influence projects’ direction and create lasting impact.

Win win win — for Entrepreneurs,
Advisors and Limoney

Creating a sustainable revenue opportunity.

Limoney had come to us with a vague idea of what the Advisor could be: a power user that promotes Limoney to get more projects on board and funded. We found the idea quite intriguing and wanted to push it further. Why not give Entrepreneurs the ability to solicit an Advisor’s help directly — be it business, creative, or finance? Instead of an elusive power user, why not encourage collaboration?

Our hunch was that an Advisor’s involvement in a project would likely draw more Supporters and increase a project’s odds of success. And, in the end, it would benefit Limoney’s clout and bottom line.

Having high-quality projects was important. We knew that from the get-go. So we made signup flows that required Advisors to spell out their expertise, and Entrepreneurs to justify their projects. Pre-approving users with a signup process, rather than a simple “username/password” form, ensured that everyone who signed up was committed to making serious movements with Limoney.

And we wanted to reward their effort. Once signed up, we knew that the site’s users would likely be young, hip, and very tech-savvy, who use the latest iGadgets. So we wanted the site to look as awesome on modern mobile devices as on any desktop display. The mobile-first approach was the natural choice and permeated everything we touched, from sketches to wireframes to code.

Giving an idea momentum

Bold ideas take shape through bold execution.

Over 10 weeks we took a loose collection of wireframes, opened up the underlying problems, and solved them with workflows that served three types of users. Clear interactions and aesthetics helped users perform the tasks they needed to do. The idea was there. It just needed an angle called design.

Two months later Limoney went live. We’re excited to see how they continue evolving the product and creating impact in the community.

ZURB helped shape our visual identity and the way we relate to our users when Limoney was still a concept. The clash of cultures and creative thinking gave birth to a new online platform with a responsive design that makes it omnipresent to every device that is connected. — Francesco Falchi, Creative Director, Limoney

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