Zero is a mobile app that helps its over 1 million monthly active members build healthy habits around diet and exercise, based on the science of intermittent fasting. With scientific guidance at the forefront of the user experience, the Zero team understood the importance of in-product copy as a direct line of communication with members and to set themselves apart from the competition with a dedication to embedded science.
However, despite the importance of product copy, collaborating on this key element was difficult with the team's existing toolset. Juggling a high volume of content across different member cohorts, the team found itself constantly copy-and-pasting between Google Docs, Figma, and developer environments. The process was time-consuming and error-prone, even when trying out various CMS solutions. On the engineering side, the Zero team wanted to reduce the constant QA work spent debugging, reimplementing, and reinterpolating text across different mobile formats and screen sizes.
When it came time for the team to take on a new initiative that leaned into content personalization, they knew that their existing workflows weren’t cut out for scaling with their cross-functional teams (engineering, design, science writers, and more) and the quantity of text they were handling.
"No one really wants copying and pasting to be a part of their job, right?" — Jordan Manning, Product Designer
Product designer Jordan Manning reflects, “I just remember saying, ‘Okay, we're going to do [personalization] again but better, and there's no way we're doing it with any of the tools we have now. I mean — no one really wants copying and pasting to be a part of their job, right?” Working on a distributed team that spanned time zones and continents, Manning also knew they needed a tool that would “give a really clear sense of who had done what, when.”
The Zero team implemented Ditto to manage their user-facing text from writing to design to QA to deployment. Through Ditto’s handling of personalized content, the team was able to develop and launch holistic daily coaching for subscribers, serving personalized insights and guidance to members across 8 unique segments. This coaching evolves day-to-day, meeting the changing needs of Zero's members throughout their lifecycle.
All told, Zero has seen this feature drive:
Aside from user facing text, Zero also uses Ditto to manage in-app URLs and even text fields managing colors and animation files. In integrating Ditto, Jordan felt like the team “unlocked collaborative writing inside of the designs themselves: able to go from curriculum outline, to rough first pass, to edits and final copy without ever needing to paste between documents or requiring developers to manually update to the latest copy.”
"Ditto unlocked collaborative writing inside of the designs themselves: able to go from curriculum outline, to rough first pass, to edits and final copy without ever needing to paste between documents or requiring developers to manually update to the latest copy." — Jordan Manning, Product Designer
Engineer João Lopes elaborates, “We no longer have to create content twice. Designers use the real content on Figma with Ditto as the one place to store it all.”
Since using Ditto, the Zero team experienced a drastic improvement in two key areas: time saved and confidence to ship.
Instead of relying on bi-weekly releases, or quarterly content pushes, the Zero team can now monitor which content their users are engaging with most, shipping updates daily. Manning summarizes, “With our data in Looker and content in Ditto, we have complete visibility into user states and are able to really rapidly tweak and deploy content.”
“Numbers aside, the biggest thing is that I just have way more confidence in the content. With Ditto, we have this level of validation so that we can see problems way faster. It does save me a ton of time, but I never really cared that much about the time as long as I can bring value to our members. I know exactly where things are.” — Jordan Manning, Product Designer
The increased confidence and efficiency is echoed on the engineering side. Backend engineer João Lopes expands on the reduction of QA overhead,
"Bug tickets from content and design inconsistencies have been reduced by a lot. With Ditto, we know the designs will match exactly what we'll see on the products or mobile services. There’s less time spent worrying about edge cases because we know that we’re covered." — João Lopes, Engineer
As an engineer, Lopes has seen Ditto change how their team is able to collaborate on product text cross-functionally — which has enabled their team to ship new experiences at scale.
He expands, “It's a huge time saving because it doesn't really make a difference on the engineering side whether there are 10 pieces of text or 1000 pieces of text. The way the Ditto API serves the content makes it really easy to follow and understand. If we notice any issues coming through our validation process, with Ditto it’s really easy to find, check, and debug — which is especially helpful when you have a lot of content. This really helps everyone that touches a feature (product, design, content, and engineering) validate what they need or what to change right away, before it even reaches the clients.”