Building a monetisation
platform for creators.

I worked at Joynt as the lead designer for over an year. The product was a chat application similar to WhatsApp when I joined the company. During my time there, we redesigned the product and repositioned with a new branding. I ran several experiments and created multiple versions of the android app with the team.

Client JoyntΒ Β Β Role Lead Designer, UX-Design, UI-Design, Research
Tools used Figma, Notion, Whimsical, Principle

In the discovery phase, we spotted three main issues that demanded our attention. Most of the users and a majority of the 100 Million+ incoming messages per month came from independent influencer's who used the app to start their own micro communities. The problem we desperately had to solve was the lack of monetization on the app for these influencers.

We talked to these influencers and their fans extensively. From the several one on one interviews, we came across many problems that both of these groups faced. We then created multiple personas before working on solutions. Here is a simplified version.


🀡 27
πŸ“Έ Fan

Samuel feels the existing social platforms do not help in making a more meaningful connection with his favourite creators.
Biggest Pain Point:
Need exclusive content & access in return for monetary support.


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πŸ₯ Musician

Diea struggles with making money with her skills despite having a lot of fans and supporters on social media.
Biggest Pain Point:
No way to monetize the
followers/members of her group.

1000 True Fans
1,000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly is one of the theories that we looked up to during this research and something that reassured our findings. The theory in short words is this:

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living. A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.
‍Kevin Kelly
1000 True Fans

We looked deeply into the existing competitors like Patreon, Buy Me A Coffee etc.. From our research it was pretty clear that most of the existing tools lack community building aspects and monetisation for smaller scale creators. We saw an opportunity to focus on smaller creators and their true fans. Our aim was to design a platform that helped these creators grow a close-knit community and generate income from that.

By this point, we knew what the problem was and who we're solving it for. We began sketching out ideas. Once we had a bunch of them, we discussed in more detail and pulled out the key ideas.

The idea that we were most excited about was the one of exclusive clubs. This basically allows creators to create an exclusive club, as simple as making a WhatsApp group, then add a price for joining the club. With this, anyone can start making money in minutes.

Here is a simplified Happy Path for the idea of clubs.

Wireframes and Mockups
We had a very limited time for designing a prototype. We had already planned an event with some of these creators to test the concept Β and receive direct feedback.

So we quickly sketched out the wireframes for the screens in Whimsical. ‍I then designed a basic system with the necessary elements from the wireframes to quickly mockup the screens.

Once we were happy from testing the wireframes, we then proceeded to quickly mockup the screens and get ready for the test. We had to focus on shipping fast and we pulled several all-nighters and finished the prototypes on time. Some of the main features we focused on:

Creating a club
We wanted to make sure that we retain the speed and experience of creating a chat group. For that, we kept the steps clear & simple.

Onboarding Fans
We wanted it to be equally easy and simple for a fan to join the creator's club. We retained the same experience of joining a chat group through a link, and added an extra step for payment.

Points of Engagement
From our research, the platform needed to be able help build more meaningful and deep communities around influencers. We created a very simple chat based interface and another feed for single pieces of content.

Correct the Course
We tested the prototype in an event that the team organised for a small group of creators. During this test, we found that these influencers enjoyed the simplicity of creating a club. They also found it very easy to interact with their followers over chat and they really enjoyed the overall concept of clubs.

But the main problem we set out to solve was monetisation. Our solution was not well received. The monthly subscription model that we decided upon - where the creators can charge their fans to join the club. Most of the creators responded as this being an obligation to deliver to a lot of people every day because they are paying them. We failed to see that this was one of the reasons why few of the competitors didn't impress them. They would need another option to monetise their clubs.

After a few days of working on finding a solution to this, and several interviews and back and forth with the creators, we decided on a very interesting solution. Every piece of content that they put up for free on any of the different platforms had a cost to create. Normal followers wouldn't spend money to see most of this content. But a True Fan would. And, these creators are willing to go an extra mile to make better content for a price. Hence, we decided to redesign the feed into a special content monetisation page where the creator can sell content directly to their followers.

Redesigning the path
I believe Product Design is science. The best part is that, with every step in the experiment, you get closer to a better product. Once we got the feedback, we went back to the table and updated our paths to better. We designed a path for the creators to sell their individual content.

Exchange of Values
We wanted to make sure that we retain the speed and experience of creating a chat group. For that, we kept the steps clear & simple.

More discussions than likes
We wanted it to be equally easy and simple for a fan to join the creator's club. We retained the same experience of joining a chat group through a link, and added an extra step for payment.

Joynt organised several events and launched a beta version to a few creators - later in 2019. These creators made their Clubs and sold their content over Boards. One of our early creators, Evergreen, a music band, released their new song through the Boards on Joynt. That initiated a handful of great discussions in their Club. They organised a concert and sold tickets through Boards on Joynt.

‍Joynt was also featured in several articles like YourStory & The Hindu. SOSV and it's accelerator MOX invested in Joynt later and the product has pivoted into a video-first talent discovery platform competing with apps like Tik Tok.

Next Project ⟢
Designing an automatic watch