Adminca Back

A successful startup project

About

Adminca is an admin panel as a service that is easy to setup and use. Adminca connects to the mobile development platform Parse and saves developers time and resources setting up admin panels. It is used by hundreds of mobile app agencies every month.

My Role

I co-founded Adminca with Lukas Eiermann and Frank Kaiyuan Xu. I participated in every aspect of the project from business strategy to design and development.

Download the design process book and poster.

The Problem

Admin Panels are Broken

Problem space

Every mobile or web application accumulates data in its backend database. Companies have to design and develop admin panels to enable their non-technical staff to view and manage this data. However, creating admin panels has always been a hassle, because:

  • Developers waste time building and maintaining a non-revenue-generating tool.
  • It often lowers staff efficiency due to poorly designed interfaces.

Research

We carried out a lengthy user research study that included 14 interviews, a competitive analysis of 13 competitors, and the review of 27 online threads. We discerned two main user groups with very different goals: developers, and non-technical people.

Research insights became more than mere design principles, it became our values! Every subsequent decision we would take would have to fall in the bounds of our three values that we called the 3S:

Simple

Simple

Effortless setup
+ Intuitive interface

Save developers weeks of time, and streamline the admin panel setup process. Provide an intuitive interface that non-technical users can get their hands on without training.

Secure

Secure

Data permissions
+ Encrypted credentials

Empower developers to manage data permission to ensure data integrity. Use highest encryption and security measures for Adminca to protect customer’s data.

Smart

Smart

Powerful features
+ Smart defaults

Provide solutions for diverse data management problems with a comprehensive feature set. Understand what users want to achieve and provide them with smart defaults that make their live easier.

Iterative Prototyping

3 rounds over 5 months

We followed a lean UX approach. It allowed us to deliver to the market a quick and dirty MVP that we iterated over. To prevent technology to slow us down, we sought to use modular web components that we could easily add, modify, or remove based on initial feedback.

Adminca ideation phase

Because our two main user groups had very different needs, we decided to build a two sided interface. Admins can create and customize their admin panel in a matter of seconds and invite contributors. Contributors only have access to the data management part of the interface which is customized by admins.

Detail view

The main contributor view is the record's detail view. When clicking on a record in the table view, a fly out detail panel appears to present more information without losing context. After a few iterations, we made the side panel easier to read and improved the table view to display more than one column at a time.

Settings view

The settings view allows admins to customize what contributors can see and the actions they can perform. Each panel, class, and field is customizable. The challenge was to make customizing multiple fields at the same time fast and intuitive. In the final version, we removed unnecessary information and added tooltips to display help messages.

Onboarding

Following our design principles, we wanted the very first experience of Adminca to be as smooth as possible. We designed and refined our onboarding flow to help developers to get started with Adminca without prior knowledge of admin panels. After multiple rounds of usability testing, users found it was very easy to get started. The magic moment happens after a minute or two only, when their panel is up and running and they can start managing their data right away!

1. Account creation

We removed unnecessary fields and reduced the required information to the essential.

2. Welcome email

Once the account is created the user receives a welcome email with additional resources. There is no need to confirm the email.

3. Intro video

Users understood the basic concept from our marketing website but weren’t exactly sure how Adminca worked. The video explained the main concepts

4. Panel creation

Most users weren’t comfortable with providing their keys. We added a new tooltip that explained our security measures and why Adminca required it.

5. Onboarding tips

We observed that users didn’t know what exactly they were supposed to do next. We added a guided tour to help then get started.

6. Help section

More detailed explanation about all of Adminca’s features are available in the help section.


There is much more to Adminca than those few screens, check out the demo to get a better understanding of the whole experience:

Outcome

A successful launch

We launched in January 2016 and quickly saw people from all around the world using it! Adminca is the perfect tool for web and mobile agencies. It allows them to offer an admin panel to their clients without the need for coding. After only two months more than 500 accounts have been created, and around 150 people use Adminca every week to manage their data!

user growth over time

Feedback

Mobile agencies love it!

user feedback around the world

Try Adminca now at Adminca.com, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.