Paving the next steps for a new way to be a neighbour

In the four years since its launch, local social network Nextdoor had grown to 80,000 active Neighborhoods across the US and was expanding to Europe in 2016.

We were asked to deliver a new visual design and to help users to create a regular habit that approached a daily use of Nextdoor.

A text driven service, lacking emotional hooks

The existing service was very functional and lacking in emotional hooks and connections between users. Visually, it was very text driven, with little imagery. Inputs throughout the service were weak, which led to weak outputs.

Original Nextdoor designs

With the client being advocates of Nir Eyal’s ‘Hook model’ of engagement, Behaviour change models, used by Eyal and others, developed by BJ Fogg, would form a strong part of our Experience strategy.

By applying these to a firm understanding of community models we would look at ways of increasing activity and most importantly, re-engagement.

A week of workshops in San Francisco

Following a week of planning activities, we ran four days of workshops in San Francisco as part of requirements gathering and discovery. I led sessions involving experience mapping using their existing personas, feature prioritisation and group sketching.




In addition to the workshops, we held insights and data gathering sessions with researchers, data analysts and team leaders within the business. These helped us construct a wide picture of the issues faced by users within their existing experience.

I ran guerrilla testing sessions of the existing service to understand issues and frustrations with the onboarding process

User testing

Mapping the experience

Using a set of existing personas, we used the Fogg Behavioural Model to create an Experience Map, detailing the Motivation, Ability to complete a task and the Triggers within the service. These highlighted pain points and problems, to help us create opportunities and gains for each persona.

Experience Map

Nextdoor experience map

I planned out different IA options to improve the journeys and flows.


To increase volume of posts I created simplified and richer means of posting, widening the number neighbourhoods the user could post to, for a greater response and interactions from the published post.


Making Posting flows easier and meaningful

We simplified the act of posting to encourage more activity, but to also improve the quality of content. Posting was designed to reflect the final content that would be displayed, as easily recognisable content types.

Nextdoor posting flow

Cover cards

For the final framework, I concepted ‘Cover cards’ to highlight and surface moments in the service, provide feedback and to promote action and engagement.

Cover cards

We surfaced the activity and the relationships between entities. The neighbourhood would be a place to find useful information about the things that matter, increasing the sense of belonging and playing a role in building the local community.

Cover cards

Key take-aways


  • We delivered a huge amount of high quality work in a very short space of time.
  • The client really enjoyed working with us. They had previous bad experience of working with agencies.
  • The learning curve on the product was steep but we took in a massive amount of information to quickly understand the client needs.


  • The SOW was very loose, meaning we had to spend a lot of time working out our brief. This ate up a lot of time throughout the project.
  • Definition and design consistently overlapped. It wasn’t easy keeping up to speed with what each other was working on and making adjustments.
  • Clients weren’t aligned on their own needs or wants for their product.


For R/GA
Visual Design – Ben Minton
Strategy – Lachlan Williams
Creative Direction – Daniel Nieuwenhuizen
Executive Creative Direction – Lucio Rufo
Project Manager – Ed Ross