Butter is an all-in-one video conferencing platform focused on empowering facilitators and hosts to lead smooth and engaging virtual events. As the User Research Lead, I coordinated a team of four through a research sprint to uncover current needs of video conferencing platform users. From our findings, I strategized and designed solutions to integrate logistical ease and delight for facilitators.


Product design
User research lead


April 2021 – June 2021

View final Prototype
In a world where remote work is becoming the norm, events are becoming geographically accessible by expanding to the digital space. As virtual collaboration increases, video conferencing platforms are becoming an increasingly essential part of daily life. However, this has also resulted in upwards of 300+ million daily users of Zoom (and this isn't including other platforms!) who may be experiencing Zoom Fatigue.

The question my team and I wanted to answer was what challenges and pain points do users face, and what opportunities exist to help alleviate Zoom Fatigue?

Conducting research

As the User Research Lead, I coordinated a team of four through our two-week research sprint, where we employed a variety of research methodologies in order to thoroughly understand the problem space.

Research results, TL;DR

User Research Takeaways
We conducted 13 user interviews – 5 event facilitators (4 of whom have used Butter previously) and 8 casual users (7 of whom have used Butter previously) – to best understand their goals, needs, and current pain points.
  • Facilitators' primary goal is to ensure attendee engagement and enjoyment, and to provide a seamless experience
  • Facilitators' largest challenge is orchestrating pre-event logistics and planning
  • Casual users' goals are to achieve what they came to the space to do – whether that is to participate or to listen
Competitive Analysis Takeaways
After conducting a thorough competitive analysis, we found that –
  • Competitors allow for some form of screen personalization, though most are only accessible through a paid subscription
  • To cater to both consumer and enterprise customers, competitors offer a variety of integrations to allow for specific use cases

Defining the Opportunities

As a team, we identified four distinct paths to explore from our user research insights, focusing on different parts of the user experience. Moving forward, we each tackled one specific direction – I chose logistics, as hearing about the challenges that facilitators faced before the event even begins inspired me to find them a solution.

However, rather than just making a usable product, we wanted to take it one step further.
A snapshot of the analogous research we conducted
Delight survey + analogous inspiration
For Butter, we wanted to create solutions that were distinctly delightful. Although Butter has many of the same features as other platforms, the way that Butter does it brings people back because of the delightful way they create the experience. Aligning with both user interviews and Butter's mission + values, the "special sauce" that brings users back is the unexpected joy infused within each moment.

We wanted to answer,
what is delight? What makes people want to re-experience that delight?

Thus, we began a
second round of research
  • survey with 26 respondents to understand their definition fo delight and recent moments they experienced delight
  • analogous research to gain inspiration from how other industries successfully deploy delight – such as video games, food & hospitality, amusement parks, and social media
Exploration #1 appears in pre-event set up
Exploration 1:
reducing visual clutter by customizing features show
Facilitator participants mention that they would like integrations that are specific to their roles or experience. Thus, this leads to the assumption: streamlining the experience and reducing the visual clutter in the room will help facilitators be better able to focus on the task at hand.

However, after presenting my idea to Butter's Chief of Product, we realized that this does not offer a visually distinct space. How could I take it further, from both the facilitator and participant perspectives?
An example of one feature designed for Collaboration Mode
Exploration 2:
Further customization with unique offerings dedicated to specific use cases
Zoom fatigue arises because users are looking at the same space/screen all day. Thus, finding the distinction between business, personal, and casual become harder. The next exploration was based on the assumption: customizing visually distinct digital spaces for different types of virtual events will help both facilitators and users get into their desired mindset while accessing the relevant tools that they need.

While this seemed interesting, this scope was far too large. Not only was this inefficient from a design standpoint, it would be inefficient from research, development, and marketing standpoints as well – there would be far too many moments of interaction to refine, validate, and strategize.
Within room set-up, users are able to change the mode that their room will be in – Butter Classic, and Presentation Mode. Help text and a preview screen helps users understand what these different modes are.
The final solution
A presentation-oriented view
Because Butter's current platform is well crafted for collaboration – something that research participants did not hesitate in calling out, and the primary goal of the product – I decided to focus further on building out a presentation mode.
Ability to add documents and presentations ahead of time

Facilitators mention that the majority of their work comes up-front (e.g., making sure they have all the correct documents). This feature is to reduce logistical load during the event itself.
Gauging reactions at a glance

Participants mention that the current animations of reactions are a tad distracting. To retain the joy of reacting while ensuring focus and to help facilitators gauge engagement at a glance, I implemented a reaction count, replacing the fun yet distracting animations of current reactions.
Dark mode puts emphasis on the presentation

Taking inspiration from theaters, competitors, and color theory, I incorporated a dark interface to place emphasis on the speaker and the presentation.
Ability to swap modes quickly

To account for a variety of situations—such as forgetting to set the mode ahead of time, needing to swap modes impromptu, or simply wanting to test it out—I incorporated a toggle to allow users to change modes on the fly.
The result + impact
The feature optimizes facilitators' workflows when setting up and preparing for their event and helps them feel more confident once the event commences. I reimagined the experience of sharing an idea to attendees by designing a new space, helping both facilitators and their attendees focus on the content being shared.

To measure impact, I would recommend measuring:
  • Net promoter score
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Conversion rate
  • Rate of users who use versus skip the feature, and comparison of retention rates between the groups
View final Prototype
Learnings + takeaways
"Unhappy" paths
During this project, I learned about the importance of building out all potential paths of experience for a usability test (time-permitting, of course!). I conducted a pre-mortem to define actions that would occur if everything went wrong (an "unhappy path" if you will), which helped prepare me for anything during the usability test. One participant did take an unhappy path, and from that, I gained invaluable insights about discoverability.

Collaboration – smooth as Butter
Throughout this project, what I am the most grateful for and what I learned the most from was collaboration – unsurprisingly, working on Butter helped us meet their goal of achieving true collaboration!

Bi-weekly meetings with Butter's Chief of Product Chris Holm-Hansen gave us space to share our progress, explain our design decisions, and receive feedback. Learning deeply about the product from the person who built it from the ground up was an incredible learning experience, and receiving feedback from him helped shape the course of my feature greatly (thank you Chris!). Not only was I pushed to think deeply through each decision I made, I also learned how to consider the product as a whole in tandem with business goals, KPIs, and future acquisition targets.

And of course, I learned so much about remote communication (across 4 time zones!), project management (again, across 4 time zones!) and the beauty of ideation sessions from my dear teammates.