How might we design and build an MVP feature?

I Heart Jane - Discounts

I Heart Jane wanted to offer cannabis stores the ability to flag items on sale. Still a startup, they needed an effective solution immediately vs a full-featured experience. With one full-time and one part-time engineer, I set out to research, design, and plan a vital sales tool.

iheartjane.com as of May 14th, 2019iheartjane.com as of May 14th, 2019

I Heart Jane is a revolutionary new cannabis marketplace where consumers can search for specific cannabis products and get local results within seconds. 1

2018 Mar - Apr Role: Lead Designer UX React JS Startup

A small but vital featureA small but vital feature

How complicated could it be?

Cannabis products come by the gram, the ounce, and the number of items in a package. The industry has also embraced typical sale strategies you’d see anywhere. Such as day-of-the-week, veterans discount, 2-for-1s, loyalty discounts, and the like.

Language was also tricky. Each state had its own stipulation on which words you could use. For example, in Washington state coupons of branded merchandise are banned”.

With so many permutations and clauses, what should the team build? And how can it be messaged across different states and stores?

A 10,000 ft view of what’s possibleA 10,000 ft view of what’s possible

What should we measure?

Which single KPI does the team value most?

… at any given time, there’s one metric you should care about above all else … getting you to focus on the right thing, at the right time, with the right mindset.2

I drafted a few quantitive and qualitative key performance indicators (KPIs) to start. Together, we added a few more and highlighted the most important ones for this feature:

The team also listed baseline assumptions about promotions.

Note: Because these assumptions seem obvious, it’s actually more important to declare them. The simpler they are, the more likely they will go unspoken, and worse, unquestioned. Assumptions can be subtle and hidden, yet they are powerful and influential. They can drive the approach to the entire project, and all without anyone noticing.


The Jane team had relationships with experienced store staff–from owners to floor personnel. I interviewed 5 spread across Washington, New Mexico, Colorado, and California.

Phone interviewsPhone interviews

Research objectivesResearch objectives

The questions were structured around 3 objectives:

  1. Understand operations to create requirements
  2. Understand motivations to validate feature need and priority
  3. Understand logistics to uncover complexities

The answers were synthesized into trends, for example:

From requirements to stories

So what would be the most effective discount feature to build? Category-wide discounts. Almost every store pulled this lever every week, if not every day, at their brick-and-mortar. The discount was easy to remember and brought both regulars and newcomers in the door.

I listed job stories from three perspectives: the customer’s, the store’s, and Jane’s.

While I was writing these, I noted down an idea Edward de Bono wrote:

Quality is intentions matching expectations. 3

Note This is especially true when I work with early startups. Without the resources of a well-established company, these startups need to go lean. This has become more difficult as consumer expectations grow. But what does quality mean to each of us? Edward de Bono’s idea strikes me as the baseline for defining quality. It acknowledges how its definition can change, based on who it’s for and where they are in this moment of time.

Examples of job stories from a customer’s perspective:

What do I expect from an e-commerce experience?

And from a store’s perspective:

What is the most valuable type of promotion I do now that I Heart Jane will support?

As a store owner I can set … - Blanket-wide” deals on a specific product category - Most are recurring for a day of the week - Sometimes recurring for a range of hours - % or fixed $ amount taken off - With the ability to exclude certain items

Is this adding more work and frustration? - As a store employee and owner, I can see any promotion ending today

What is the most effective way to communicate the design?

From end-to-endFrom end-to-end

I created a clickable experience journey where you could jump from the 10,000ft view to a specific screen. From the moment an owner plans a discount to its end when it expires.

Try out the prototype

This way everyone understood how a discount worked and how this feature we were building was a part of it.

Work in progress - Admin view of current discounts, ongoing and savedWork in progress - Admin view of current discounts, ongoing and saved

Work in progress - Admin view to create a discountWork in progress - Admin view to create a discount

Staging - How discounts are shown to the consumerStaging - How discounts are shown to the consumer

Where are they now?

The discount feature was on-time, on-budget, and was well received by stores. By January 2019, roughly 12% of all orders on Jane had some product on discount.

What I did miss was a store’s need to offer discounts on single items. Though it was never mentioned in my interviews, it turned out to be a much needed feature.

Discounts as of May 14th, 2019 - UI updates have continued after our engagementDiscounts as of May 14th, 2019 - UI updates have continued after our engagement

  1. The Real Dirt Podcast

  2. Lean Analytics by Croll & Yoskovitz, 2013 p55

  3. How to have a beautiful mind by Edward de Bono, 2004