Talk Shop | Gusto

Web/UI/UX Design, Creative Direction, CSS
Project Overview
Gusto’s content is an incredibly important driving factor in organic traffic to the brand. Providing meaningful and useful content to users is critical to Gusto’s SEO strategy as well as its company mission to small business success. We kicked off this project to improve traffic metrics and were successful in the face of short timelines and limited resources.
My Contributions
I led this project from start to finish and hand a hand in nearly every part. This involved everything from sharing project management goals, UX research, UI animation, art direction, general design and even some code.
The content platform and strategy at Gusto was successful, but as the strategy had shaped over the years, it became apparent that a rethink of the structure, UX and design were needed. I had tooled around with our content platform’s design and code in one-off projects since the start of my time at Gusto and was brought in to lead the engineering and design strategy when the rethink project was scoped.

‍Gusto’s content is a critically important organic traffic driver to the brand. Providing meaningful and useful content to users is critical to Gusto’s SEO strategy as well as its company mission to small business success.
Our first problem was to tackle the site hierarchy. Technically we had four separate platforms. This included a company blog, accounting resources, small business editorial blog and a Q&A wikipedia style blog.

After many discussions, wireframes and user tested prototypes, we decided on three platforms. The company blog and resources would stay separate, but the editorial and Q&A sites would all fall under the title “Talk Shop”.
When branding the content platform and the three distinctive properties within it, we worked closely with Gusto’s content team to define the personality of each. We walked the team through branding exercises until we whittling down defined characteristics to draw from.
The content platforms all share the same basic visual language and incorporate Gusto’s new brand while using subtle design differences to distinguish them. After putting the blog and editorial content under one umbrella, we still needed to surface these different types of content seamlessly without confusing the user.

This visually resulted in more photography and charismatic typography for the editorial content and straightforward, simple design and serif type for the Q&A content. We also designed a Q&A content widget that could be placed whenever we thought users might have a fast business question. Users in general do not see the difference of these content types at a conscious level, but intuitively navigate to the exact content they need.
After locking in our UX and content strategy we moved into the visual design phase where I worked with our visual design lead Natalie Schoch to lock in color, illustration style, typography, animation and finalized layouts refinements. We art directed the amazingly talented artist Agatha Singer to create content category and color directions.

Lastly, we worked with the agency Melon to develop the project. As technical lead on this project, I worked with content lead Riddhi Shaw from the start to find the perfect development partner. As a front-end developer myself, I had seen the opportunity of overhauling our Wordpress code and rearchitecting our URL system for optimized performance and SEO. This was a lofty project and took input from many Gusto teams, including a small CSS sprint from Natalie and myself to make the design perfect and add tweak animation code.

This project was put on a short timeline with limited resources so our team wore multiple hats and performed with incredible efficiency. I am incredible proud of what an organic traffic and brand success this complex project was in the end.