ActionButton Research and Integration 2023


  • Productboard research
  • Participant recruitment
  • Generative interviews
  • User testing


  • Userinterviews.com
  • Figma


  • Results presentation
  • Clickable prototype
  • Design specs

Problems and Goals

ActionButton usage by NationBuilder customers was still lagging, even after making it free for existing NationBuilder customers. We had already performed outreach to customers, and metrics showed that several were trying ActionButton but not actively using it. I developed a set of hypotheses based on customer feedback and previous customer interviews and user testing:

  • Customers were experiencing friction switching between NationBuilder and ActionButton
  • The discrepancy between NationBuilder and ActionButton branding created an inconsistent experience that didn’t inspire trust
  • ActionButton didn’t have the data integrations with NationBuilder that customers expected
“One of the barriers [to using ActionButton] is the fact that it exists outside of NationBuilder and it feels like a separate product at the moment.”

My goal for this project was to evaluate these hypotheses and determine ways to deliver customer value and increase usage of ActionButton by NationBuilder customers.


As an organization, we decided to focus on advocacy customers, and ActionButton is a key element of this emphasis. I conducted generative interviews with both NationBuilder customers who fit the advocacy use case as well as non-customers in the same industry to learn more about their needs, goals, and pain points.

My findings from these interviews helped shape the larger vision of what ActionButton could be and how to move forward with integrating it with NationBuilder. I worked closely with our Product Manager to determine that we should pursue parallel efforts - a first phase focusing on data integration, and a second phase where we would more holistically integrate the two products.

Phase 1

Once the Product Manager created a matrix of existing and missing integrations, we prioritized based on data and customer feedback. I was able to add use cases from my interviews to increase our understanding of user needs.

“The data not all coming over has made me not use [ActionButton]. If it was all smooth and just working great, we’d probably be using it a lot more”

I created high-fidelity mockups of each integration before requirements were written, in order to facilitate ideation. I continued iterating on solutions based on heuristic evaluation and internal stakeholder and customer feedback.

First iteration


First pass - mimicking design patterns from NationBuilder.

When I started working on the user experience for how customers would get data to flow seamlessly from ActionButton into NationBuilder, I mimicked a common design pattern from NationBuilder - the actions/more menu. Clicking the menu item for "Add to path" would open a modal with all the selections currently available in NationBuilder.

  • Pros: Uses a design pattern NationBuilder customers are used to, includes all existing functionality
  • Cons: I avoid modals when possible, and once all five new integrations are added, that menu is gonna be CHONKY

Second iteration


Second pass - thinking more about flow.

The more I thought about how the menu would feel with all the new integrations in addition to share and embed CTAs, the less I believed the integrations belonged in the dashboard menu. I decided to remove the share and embed functionality from this page (it's still available in the menu) and validated with customers that it made more sense to set up integrations at this step and share and embed after finishing.

  • Pros: Expandable based on checkbox, includes all existing functionality
  • Cons: Less discoverable for users, still very heavy

Third and final iteration


Third pass - making good decisions based on data.

After showing this to the product manager, he looked at usage data and determined that the majority of the options weren't being used. We made the decision to remove the little-used dropdown options and focus on the primary use case.

  • Pros: Discoverable, easy to understand
  • Cons: Removes some power user functionality

We’re currently halfway through implementation of the missing integrations, and I’m working closely with engineers to think through error states and edge cases as well as core user flows.

Phase 2

For a medium-term phase of work, I had the ability to think more broadly about bringing NationBuilder and ActionButton together. I considered the expected timeline to create a realistic user flow, including high-fidelity mockups and a clickable Figma prototype. During user testing, I was able to validate some of the compromises we’d made to the experience to ensure we were still addressing the most significant obstables to adoption.

“Nationbuilder is quite powerful and works very well, but the friction involved in integrating ActionButton as a separate piece of software makes it less useful to me”


Part of the clickable prototype for validating phase 2.

Phase ?

Independent of planned work, I developed my own vision for what a long-term integration could be. This “concept car” included a number of ideas that have gained traction within the company. I intend to validate some of these concepts with customers in the near future.


Initial sketches for a long-term vision for integrations.

Starting with pen and paper, I started to explore how we could create a long-term vision for how ActionButton could live holistically within NationBuilder. A key part of this process was conceptualizing how we could build toward that vision with quick wins to deliver customer value on a regular cadence. One of those was creating a hybrid version of the Custom Email Targets and Contact Your Lawmakers ActionButtons, a common ask from customers.


Another incremental improvement that builds toward a more complete integration.

Another concept was to leverage the popularity of NationBuilder's newly built email builder to fulfill a customer wish (including ActionButtons in NationBuilder emails) as well as expose more customers to ActionButton.

Results and Takeaways

We’re releasing the phase 1 integrations on a regular cadence, and hope to meet expected functionality within two quarters. Meanwhile, the phase 2 work has been put on hold for 9 months so we can meet other obligations within the NationBuilder product.

One of my key takeaways from this project so far is to ensure that interim solutions not only bring short-term customer value, but can also pave the way for longer-term ideation.