Stenovate

A better way to complete transcripts

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Overview

Product Concept

Stenovate is a comprehensive collaboration platform for court reporting professionals.

Stenovate combines an admin dashboard and a freelance marketplace, allowing their users to manage projects and deadlines, as well as allowing for more efficient collaboration between the parties involved.

Aha! Moment

Lauren Lawrence, Stenovate’s founder and CEO, is a court reporter and has been dealing with the inefficiencies of the court reporting industry for years.

She noticed that court reporting professionals used too many tools to manage their work and to collaborate with each other. The disconnect between the tools and the constant tool switching cause not only inefficiencies but also frustration to court reporting professionals.

As a court reporter, Lauren set out to build a software platform which centralizes and connects the tools in the industry. In her own word, Stenovate “brings everything under one roof.”

Founder story

Here is Lauren sharing her story.

“I am a court reporter, and I actually see some pain points within our industry and have seen them for years now, and I finally decided to solve some of those problems through Stenovate.”

“[Court Reporters] use a lot of disconnected tools. We are connecting on Facebook, transferring files through Dropbox, paying each other with PayPal, and organizing our business in an Excel sheet or QuickBooks. Stenovate is bringing all of those tools onto one platform.”

Client

Stenovate

Project Category

Web App

App Category

Legal, Collaboration

Venture Phase

Early Stage

Client Highlight

$25,000

What We Did

  • tick UX/UI Design

  • tick Flowcharting

  • tick Clickable Prototyp

  • tick Mock Pitch

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Problem

Lauren started off strong by taking Stenovate as far as she could on her own; she conducted comprehensive market research, interviewed her colleagues in the industry, and pitched to potential investors.

As Stenovate aspires to eventually become the one-stop shop for court reporting professionals, it was crucial that Lauren defined a clear focus to start with instead of immediately trying to tackle everything that comes to mind.

However, since Stenovate is the first software-as-a-service (SaaS) product she has worked on, Lauren did not readily have the product development experience and expertise she needed to hone in on certain features.

Without the insights into how easy or difficult a feature is to build, every feature seemed necessary and non-negotiable, which is overwhelming because the timeline is always short and the budget is always tight for a startup.

Faced with this obstacle, Lauren decided that, in order to launch Stenovate in a timely manner, she needed to find a development partner who not only helps her with designing and developing Stenovate but also advises her on how to strategically prioritize the features and create a focused product roadmap.

In her search, Lauren met with our team at Lean Start Lab. After a series of meetings to clarify the vision for Stenovate and to detail a strategy to execute on that vision, both Lauren and our team agreed we must partner up to bring Stenovate to life.

Fun fact: the first meeting lasted for 3 hours because, prior to meeting with Lauren, our team members hadn’t heard of court reporting as an industry and were having fun asking Lauren questions to learn more about the profession.

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Solution

Strategy

We kicked off the project with a deep-dive strategy meeting. The court reporting industry is a traditional industry which is ripe for innovation.

The industry is highly specialized and therefore, we spent a lot of time upfront learning as much as we could about the court reporting profession, the professionals who work in the industry, how they interact and collaborate with each other, what they do on a day-to-day basis, etc.

The foundational understanding of the industry allowed us to pinpoint the main problem Stenovate should tackle: the convoluted and inefficient process which court reporting professionals have been using for over a decade to work together.

Stenovate, therefore, needs to position itself as a standard and convenient collaboration tool for court reporting professionals.

This positioning acted as our north star; every feature we consider needed to make collaboration more intuitive and convenient for court reporting professionals. Using this strategy, we began to prioritize features which align with our focus and backlog feature which don’t.

Gradually and systematically, we created a lean feature list, one that would empower Lauren to clearly convey Stenovate’s value proposition and would also be quick and easy to execute on.

Leaning down on the feature list provided us with wiggle room in case unexpected setbacks occur. Sure enough, an unexpected setback occured: the funding Lauren was expecting for the first round of development of Stenovate did not come.

With this major development, we had to rework our entire strategy given the new project constraint.

Without the investor funding, Lauren needed to bootstrap, which meant we needed to figure out a way to work efficiently within a project budget much smaller than we originally planned.

Since moving forward with both design and development was no longer feasible, we decided to focus entirely on design with the same exact same goal in place: to create a visual prototype which would empower Lauren to clearly convey Stenovate’s value proposition and would also be quick and easy to execute on.

The new strategy allows us to: produce something pitch-ready within the timeline and budget constraint, clarify how Stenovate works to prepare for the development project in the future, and give Lauren a powerful tool to pitch to investors and raise funding between the design and the development phase.

“You guys went above and beyond, with sitting down with me pretty frequently to really flush things out. And so you’ve abided by the contract, even though I think that you guys went so far above and beyond what was in the contract. And that whole experience was really incredible.”

Design

Lauren was a bit of a perfectionist, which lead to her being the most involved client we ever had on this type of project.

At Lean Start Lab, we always put an emphasis on simplicity and speed when it comes to our designs. We strive to build products that are functional, beautiful and user-friendly, and Lauren got a first-hand look at how we do that.

Having already defined the main use cases for Stenovate the next step would be creating a comprehensive flowchart for the step by step user journey on the platform.

With Lauren’s help, we also designed extensive processes detailing how to onboard a user, how to create a transcript, and how to invite others to collaborate.

From there moved to hand sketching elements and screens. We discussed the screen layout and button placement as well as the overall presentation style Lauren was looking for.

Once those were all decided, we moved onto wireframing her application to create a blueprint that the designer could follow to create the high fidelity designs of Stenovate.

When it comes to designing high fidelity screens, we prefer to have a style guide ready to work with prior to starting. Due to the ambitious timeline, we had to hit Stenovates milestones, we began designing in grayscale.

This decision allowed us to do the designs while Lauren worked with the Stenovate marketing team to create the style guide.

The finalized designs and style guide would be completed roughly in tandem, allowing us to add the perfect splash of color to Stenovate just in time for our deadline.

“Seeing your idea come to life, actually getting something on a computer screen that looks really, really nice, is by far the most exciting part of bringing your concept to fruition.”

Stenovate solution image

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Results

With the prototype in hand, Lauren started to demo product concept of Stenovate to her target users to gather feedback.

The feedback was valuable because they not only allowed Lauren to generate interest in the product itself but also gauge the users’ willingness to buy, which gives her ideas on how to tweak her revenue model.

Using the learning and insights from the user interviews, Lauren continuously refined her pitch.

In 2018, she participated in the Pure Pitch Rally, a grant competition for startups. Lauren’s pitch was a success!

Everyone at the rally loved the idea. Stenovate won $25,000 in development grant to build out the design we created for the prototype.

Stenovate is now under construction! The live version is coming soon. Check them out at www.stenovate.com

Stenovate website gif

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Summary

  • tick Focused product roadmap

  • tick Lean feature list

  • tick User flow charts, screen sketches, and wireframe

  • tick Pitch-ready interactive prototype with high-fidelity app screens

  • tick Mock pitches

  • tick Interviews with target users and pitches to potential investors

  • tick $25,000 development grant

“We actually have something that makes people take us seriously as a company. Now I can pull my phone out and put it in front of them [investors], open it up, and show them it exists. It brings more of a wow factor.”

Lauren’s 3 Words to Describe Lean Start Lab:
"Caring. Focused. Honest."

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