At a certain point, many small business owners decide they want to sell their business. However, in many cases, the decision to sell comes up quickly without much planning or preparation. The size and revenue of their business, being so small, makes brokers unlikely to take them on as a client. The small business owners are then left searching for information, scrambling to find buyers and secure an amount that they are able to retire comfortably on.
Exit Oasis aims to provide small business owners with information about and guidance in selling their business. We developed a platform that presents this information in easily digestible and navigable forms.
Strategies Used: Card Sorting, Competitive Audit, User Interviewing, Stakeholder Interviewing, Usability Testing, Prototyping, Wireframing, Information Architecture
Final Exit Oasis site prototypes, created with Sketch
To understand the ideal platform type, we conducted interviews with small business owners to understand what information would help them the most. This was done alongside our research of other sites that provide information on the topic of selling, as well as online course-based information programs.
By interpreting the research findings and combining that with the client provided resources, we were able to group the content and create a site-flow. We then developed the site into prototypes of varying levels of complexity.
The important outcome of our research was determining the content types to include in our platform and organizing the information intuitively. We were able to create an interactive prototype with our findings that supported users with all levels of knowledge, even no knowledge, about selling a business.
My main responsibilities included:
- Facilitating interviews and organizing card sort testing with small business owners
- Processing the research into content that is intuitively understandable and organized
- Prototyping multiple iterations of the platform layout - low-fidelity to high-fidelity
We conducted remote user interviews with small business owners, all of whom work in different industries. These interviews were to understand the typical user of our product and more specifically the essential content types and platforms for a truly helpful tool.
We conducted card sorts to understand the site features that were most valued, for example; site testimonials, comment sections, or up/down voting articles. This helped to narrow our focus when conducting tests with content from the current platform.
The two personas we developed were essential to our overall site-flow and final site prototype. Each persona represented different familiarity levels with the process of selling a business and allowed us to think in the mindset of a new seller needing information to learn or a seller needing guidance through their selling process.
Site Flow: The site-flow was created after synthesizing the vast amount of data from our interviews, card sorting and also the content of information from Exit Oasis’s CEO. This information covers all aspects of the selling process, This includes before beginning the process, up until the sale has gone through. It was most important, and difficult, to simplify the information into digestible bits without losing its value.
The final usability testing with small business owners reminded our team to focus not simply on the beauty of the system. The original prototype relied on simple, but also non-traditional navigation methods, which hurt the way it was understood by users. By going back to a normal navigation system, our platform went back to providing information users could find and understand.
We took our findings and created mockups of a variety of the platform’s site using Sketch,. Then we made them interactive with the online prototyping application InVision. We provided our client with full findings and recommendations report as well as other resources, such as the revamped logo for the company.
The final prototype is a simplification of the steps it requires to go through selling a business. Our design is based on the idea that while this process is tricky and confusing, the site from which information is provided should not be, it should make the entire process easier.