Today I’ll breakdown the user experience of the Fizzle online course.

The intended audience is: founders or wanna-be founders of online courses that want to learn something about how well designed online courses work.

Reading time: 4-5 minutes (if you read at the average 200 words per minute)

Selling the value proposition

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The guys know what they’re doing. In 3 lines you get:

  • a target: entrepreneurs
  • a value proposition: business training and a community that will keep you from fizzling out
  • a differentiator: “honest”. Are they comparing themselves to some other typical online business training courses? Anyway the smiling face in the video pushes me to learn more about this

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After the video there’s a short “sales letter” text. A very personal message from Corbett Barr. My bet is most of the readers of this page already know him. They know him from the very high quality blog and podcast behind this course (also the main marketing engine).

The call to action is “start my free two weeks”. That bring me to…

The business model

The business model is 35$/month to have instant unlimited access to everything. This is the typical business model for a membership site.

There’re no different pricing points and I think that’s a conscious choice that reflect their branding and messaging. They didn’t want to create hierarchy, and they like to keep things simple.

A downside of giving unlimited access to everything immediately is that some users will

  • get in with a free trial
  • download all the material
  • cancel the account before getting billed

To avoid this kind of behaviour some courses “drip” the content. Meaning the gradually release modules over some weeks/months.

In the case of this course, they’ve the community element that’s a big part of the value proposition and an incentive to stick month over month.

Getting started: the onboarding

This is what you see after entering the credit card information for the free trial (they won’t charge you but it’s a good way to stop people from creating multiple trials).

Just another way to set a light-hearted and personal tone.

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And this is the actual first “real” screen.

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The first actual step is a guided tour. Again the video is prominent and the design is impeccable.

To deliver the guided tour they’re using the same interface and layout that’s used for the courses. This is a nice way to introduce the user to the interface.

To host the videos they’re using Wistia – a SaaS video hosting solution with good analytics features.

When the tour is over, you arrive to…

The roadmap or how to go from nothing to a thriving online business2016-08-23_17-40-07

The roadmap screen is a great concept they’re using to give you the big picture. It’s organised in 3 phases and 9 stages. Each stage has some must do actions and then it’s linking to extra courses on Fizzle that expands on the subject.

Speaking of extra courses…

The courses page

courses

Welcome to the page where you can waste invest hundreds of hours watching business training videos. Including the founder stories: high quality interviews to role models that already made a good online business.

Don’t have many days to invest? Use the filter in the sidebar to refine the courses.

Don’t want to go at random? Go back to the roadmap and follow it.

You need some kind of accountability? Enter the community.

The community and the forum

index

Yes it looks like a jump in the past.

Yes it is not as sleek-ly designed as what we’ve seen so far. That’s because they’re using a SaaS provider (IPS) to run the community and the forum.

  • There’s little integration between forums and courses (e.g. I cannot comment a specific video in the forum directly)
  • They can’t customise it to match their needs. But hey, if they don’t have specific needs, they’re saving many thousands of dollars and getting a lot of value.

They have status updates, events, a leaderboard and a hierarchically organised forum that looks alive, which is not granted.

Keeping things alive: how?

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Having a community with a pulse is a big challenge that Fizzle won.

How did they do?

  • They have weekly events. Webinars with the office hours format.
  • Even many years after starting, the founders are still posting new threads
  • They have at least 1 person dedicated to managing the community
  • They have a series of email that encourage you to connect with other members and post in the community (e.g. reach out to a fellow member and introduce yourself)
  • And most importantly… they’ve a constant stream of new users, thanks to their incredible content marketing machine (blog+podcast)

For instance in the 2 weeks trial I’ve received 1 email every other day. Email is a must-have channel to onboard and activate users.

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Technically speaking they use Intercom to schedule automated emails with smart triggers. That’s a great tool. And generally speaking

My Fizzle homepage: the dashboard

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When you go back to the Fizzle private area you end up in your dashboard. A good starting point because from here:

  • you find a shortcut to go back to the latest course you’ve seen
  • you see a feed with the latest from the entire Fizzle ecosystem

Wrapping up: one way I’d try to improve the user experience

My only remark is about the integration between content and the community. So starting from here I’d try to add a user contributed section inside the content pages.

The 2 broad goals would be

  • Increase the engagement of the users and the success
  • Organise the community inputs so that they increase value of the content

One hard metric I would monitor:

  • # of posts per 100 unique visitor
  • Hours per month spent moderating inputs

Since user contributed areas can get messy quickly I would create some categories to group the kind of user input… for instance:

  • Questions
  • Suggestions
  • Successes

From the interface point of view: I would add this section at the bottom of the page so that it won’t distract users from the main content. This is also a common place for despicable trolls comments in many websites.

Here’s a sketch of the concept

fizzle-improvement

That’s all for now!

See you at the next course analysis 🙂

Giacomo

 

Category:
course-analysis