Axonify Inc.

How I created and executed a strategy to modernize a frontline training platform, leading to a 33% increase in training sessions and a record year in business

Product Design & Strategy
User Research
UX Roadmapping
Axonify is a multi-award-winning pioneer in the microlearning space, delivering bite-sized training to more than 2 million frontline staff in multiple verticals including Retail, Call Center, Sales, On-Demand Services, and more. It uses principles of cognitive science and gamification to deliver training that drive behavior change resulting in demonstrable business results. Notable clients from around the world include Walmart, Grab Taxi, Bell Canada, Footlocker, and many more.
Jan - Aug 2020
Mobile (iOS and Android)
Product Design & Strategy
User Research
UX Roadmapping

We finally got word back from our newest prospect, a major player in the hospitality industry: "Your app feels too juvenile". We were crushed.

This would be our third lost deal in two months where the look and feel of our app was a primary area of concern. Once the leader in the frontline training market, Axonify was beginning to lose market share to newer, mobile-first competitors. The app was cited as being dated and prospects were concerned it wouldn't be engaging enough for their audiences.

We knew we had to modernize the app but with so many things we could do, where do we start?


I conducted multiple discovery activities to help understand and scope the specific problems and opportunities we needed to address in a modernization effort. The main activities included:

  • stakeholder interviews
  • heuristics evaluation and UX audit
  • workshopping
  • competitive analysis
  • quantitative analysis

Our business goals were two-fold:

  1. Drive increased sales in Annual Recurring Revenue by addressing common design concerns of prospects
  2. Increase retention (or reduce churn) by driving learner motivation

Driving Sales

We knew that a number of prospects--both lost and currently prospecting--had voiced concerns around dated looks, had trouble picturing the Axonify platform blending in with their existing branding and tools, or found the platform not fitting into their existing mental models of training tools. As such, we carved out the following streams of work:

  1. increase branding opportunities
  2. increase visual interest on key pages
  3. update some visual assets such as fonts and iconography

Driving Engagement

Since joining Axonify, I had been trying to learn as much about learning, motivational psychology, and gamification as I could.

In order to get people excited and aligned on a long-term plan, I came up with a framework that was based off of Self-Determination Theory and ludology. I presented this to a cross-functional team and it has been a guiding vision for at least 16 months of UX and Product activities.

The framework I presented for our engagement and learning model

In essence, through this framework I proposed the following themes of work that could serve to drive learner engagement and reduce churn:

  1. Help learners feel like they were growing their competence through their Axonify training activities
  2. Ensure learners have a sense of autonomy and agency in their own learning journey
  3. Amplify learners’ feelings of relatedness with their peers
  4. Increase transparency of their progress both on the big picture of their overall training requirements and the day-to-day progress they are making
  5. Give a sense of purpose by making the long-term vision of their learning journey clearer
  6. Amplify learners' sense of self-identify so that they could be proud of their achievements

This framework proved very useful in eliciting immediate ideas and brainstorming.

Coupled with the research we had already done, we managed to create and break down themes of work into tasks which we documented in AHA, our project management tool. Eventually, these tasks formed a roadmap of ongoing modernization efforts that we internally dubbed UX 3.0

Breaking down the tasks into our AHA project boards

I shared the larger list of identified opportunities with the cross-functional team and we collaboratively weighed them against Design Effort * Dev Effort * User Value.

Collaboratively prioritizing work tasks on a roadmap

In total, we were able to create a roadmap of items that could keep the team busy for at least the next 16 months.

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