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Publicist is a SaaS company that connects brands to freelance communications talent. I redesigned how brands assess and communicate with talent in the platform.

Role - Research, UX, UI for a Web App
Team - Product Designer (me), Engineer, PM, Content Strategist

Client -


From there I mapped out a flow to highlight the parts in the experience where the client user could reach out to the freelancer. I realized that the bulk of these interaction would be within freelance profiles. In addition the profiles are alternatively used as marketing assets for landing pages so this is the page that drives most of the business. 


Client users are unsure how to communicate with talent users in the platform.

Conversely, talent users are unsure how to best position themselves to client users.

Design System

If I'm designing from scratch, I like to start with a design system to keep designs consistent and make engineer handoff seamless. However, the previous profiles didn't provide client users with a path to contact freelancers. In addition, there were other elements related to the profiles such as profile cards and status signals. Unfortunately I had to break the design system to include these elements but I did so in hopes to inspire a product update.


Design Breakdown

After considering the survey data I wanted to design with the client user in mind. I knew that they usually had titles such as Recruiter or Marketing Coordinator. Their priorities were around identifying a prospects experience level, availability and location. I prioritized adding this to the design at the top part of the profiles. This section could also be reused when clients are browsing talent on the browse screen.


In an effort to re-merchandise the profiles so that freelancers could better appeal to client users, I added logos to signal trust. Client users want to know they're engaging with experienced talent so that they have trust in getting the job done. This feature would enable freelancers to upload their past work as well as tag their past work with brand and publisher logos. 


I added a section to the profiles called Similar Profiles. This was inspired by a comparable LinkedIn feature. I wanted to use space and repetition in a meaningful way. These mini profiles would serve as a preview into related talent and give the client insight without them ever having to leave their current view.


I enjoyed working on this project as I was able to own it from end-to-end. Working for a startup meant there were a ton of unknowns. One thing I would have done differently is involving more metrics around the profiles so that I could 

better track its impact on the product. Regardless, there was an obvious need to be met based on user data. The profiles were a great place to start to meet that user need as well as the business need.

  • Motivation, tells us why  

  • Attitude, identifies what is being said

  • Behavior, identifies what is actually happening

The metric I used to assess this was a Net Promoter Score, based on the survey results the NPS was low. From here I concluded two things:

  1. Users were not advocating for the platform 

  2. Users were becoming increasingly uncertain if they would use Publicist in the future 


I sent out a survey to client users  who had been on the platform for at least 3 months. I wanted to identify their feeling towards Publicist. I focused on 3 areas when curating questions


I wanted to dig deeper and better understand why users chose their answers. I needed more context if I was going to ideate on potential solutions. I set up user interviews with both the client and talent users. Some of the questions that I asked during the interviews were:

  1. Tell me more about how you discovered Publicist?

  2. Walk me through what you did after signing up?

  3. Show me how you would contact a freelancer?


The third question is what changed the course of the project as I had discovered that users were circumventing the platform. This was a major problem since the primary business model is based on transaction fees.

I was now solving for satisfaction and to prevent circumvention.


Visualizing my thinking is how I learn best so I created a variety of process deliverables such as: 

  • Polarity Map to highlight any potential threats in the current flow 

  • Scenario Mapping to highlight opportunities that we could build for our users 

  • Ends vs Means Mapping to identify feature constraints 

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