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Evolution of the HUSL/Snag Work App

In the spring of 2016 I was hired by Snag (formerly Snagajob) as a founding member of the Innovation Lab leadership team. As we began brainstorming ideas to bring to life we were immediately drawn to the gig economy and the idea that there could be a work alternative. We thought we could bring the future of work to present day and in doing so bring a product & service to market that would have a positive impact for workers and business owners/manager alike.

As we completed our early discovery and pre-beta market concepts we began to design a responsive web application to launch into market. Why a responsive app and not native? Easy—a combination of engineering constraints, a desire to release and iterate daily, and an understanding that when creating a marketplace we must cater to all users. Our worker audience skewed younger and was primarily leveraging mobile devices where as hiring managers and business owners traditionally are stuck on an outdated desktop or laptop computer in a small office in the back of a restaurant or retail location. 

 

Before:

The screenshots above showcase our MVP. Very much a utilitarian experience where a manager requests a shift to be filled on a specific day and time and then an available and qualified worker is matched, notified, and is able to claim or dismiss the shift. For MVP we intentionally left the app absent of visual design. Why would we do this? That also is easy to answer—iteratively focusing on the tasks, features, and needs of the marketplace first allowed us to pay attention  to where and when the value and moments of delight would surface. Users didn’t need bells and whistles; they simply needed to complete basic tasks quickly and efficiently. I’ve always believed that visual design should stay out of the way of the experience and should support or augment it. With this MVP we found that the delight for the users came not from animations or interactions with a UI but rather when a manager requests a shift to be filled and then 10-15 seconds later they receive a notification that it has been filled. The experience continues beyond the app interactions when the worker shows up to the shift on time and prepared to complete the tasks required.

But this was not the end of our product design efforts. After proving market success and filling thousands of shifts in our first few months we knew we had something and that it was time to elevate the experience by taking our learnings and moving them into a native application for workers. The native app allow us the opportunity to update the visual design as well as to introduce enhanced features leveraging geo location, in app messaging, etc.

After:

As intended, the visual design of the native app enhances the the already positive experiences our workers have engaging with the product. Basic tasks remain highly intuitive and efficient. The use of swipe and gesture capabilities further simplifies the experience while intentional use of color and branding offer the much needed visual element. The modern design is what is expected by every user of any native application and as we continue to iterate and fine tune the UI we add subtle animations and easing so as to offer traditional ‘moments of delight’ while not getting in the way. Every decision is made with intent and purpose so as not to disrupt the user or their experience..

 

RVA HUSL Day Video Overview

Testimonial: Ardent Craft Ale • Richmond, VA

RVA HUSL Day

Richmond, VA mayor Levar Stoney declared October 12, 2017 as RVA HUSL DAY to celebrate our first market launch and 500 shifts worked milestone. As the video shows we shut down the street in front of our VCU Campus Lab office to hold a block party.

$5 million funding award

After only being in Market in one city for 8 months, Snagajob’s board awards our lab with $5 million in additional funding to launch HUSL into new markets and begin our expansion efforts. The team of 8 grows to 25 and the growing pains begin as we plan our move to the DC area.

Over 20,000 shifts worked to date in RVA

As of August, 2019 over 20,000 shifts have been worked in Richmond, VA. When talking about scale and success, context is key. For a new product launched only 2 years ago, and one that took 8 months to reach 500 shifts, the exponential growth and trajectory of HUSL (now Snag Work) has exceeded expectations.

Live in 3 markets with more to come

In 2018 we rebranded HUSL to Snag Work and launched into Washington DC and the Northern VA corridor. 2019 brings launches in Charlotte, NC, Dallas, TX, and Orlando FL with a long list of 2020 market launches to follow.