Rive Blog

How Age of Learning A/B tests upsell experiences with Rive

Rive brought the collaboration between design and engineering to a new level.


Wednesday, March 13, 2024

For product designers, developers, and marketers, A/B testing is a familiar term. It’s one way companies can understand potential users’ preferences, turn them into customers, and avoid the dreaded churn. 

The quicker an A/B test is created and put to use, the faster a product’s creative vision can align with marketing’s goals. However, 52% of marketers cite “not enough time to test” as A/B testing’s top challenge. And what if you’re releasing them on mobile? Now you’re painstakingly updating multiple platforms with every test, draining engineering resources, and wasting precious time that could be better spent exploring innovative branding.

Age of Learning enters the chat

Digital education company Age of Learning (AofL) faced this exact challenge when they released the newest iteration of their flagship program, ABCmouse, as a mobile app. Recognized for its award-winning, research-validated curriculum of expertly designed educational activities, AofL’s character animation and interactivity play a major role in the program's success. This is where Rive — an interactive graphics tool — comes in… with a twist. 

AofL was already using Rive to animate their games while building the next generation of ABCmouse. When they decided it would be released as a mobile app, the engineering and design teams had a light bulb moment: what if they used Rive assets to simplify A/B testing?

Intrigued by this unique use case, we spoke with Age of Learning’s VP of Engineering Yamen Sarah and VP of Creative Chris Leavens to understand how Rive empowered them to test variations of interactive layouts across apps, create a shared language between designers and developers, and spend more time bringing their brand to life with animations.

A/B testing and mobile release challenges

At Age of Learning, A/B testing is a core part of their product optimization strategy. The team knew success hinged on putting a system in place that allowed them to conduct experiments without needing an app store release, a common hurdle for companies with apps. 

AofL first tried other routes to get around this issue, such as using web views, remotely serving art assets, and developing templated systems. They discovered web views were clunky, art assets lacked interactivity, and templated systems required ongoing maintenance. 

Why they chose Rive

Yamen first saw the potential to A/B test with Rive after successfully integrating it into their game development process. Now the team could build several unique and engaging games with the change of a single file. “When the time came to add support for A/B testing, we thought Rive would be a perfect fit for all the same reasons,” he told us.

When Events was released, it was clear to them they had to move forward. Events is a Rive feature that makes it easier for designers to communicate with developers what’s happening in the graphic, such as playing sound, displaying text, or taking you to the right page. It lets you send signals to the runtime code that executes a block of code at the right moment. It also enables artboards to communicate with each other. In an abstract way, it’s similar to how coding gets done, making Rive an accessible design tool for engineers.

“The introduction of Events was a game changer,” Yamen said. “It opened a communication pathway between Rive and our application, enhancing both functionality and visuals. It has elevated Rive from merely a tool for creating animations to a vital component of our engineering toolkit.”

Chris explained, “The idea immediately captivated him. He stood up and asked, ‘What do you think about doing this?’’ I agreed with him, so I put together a layout and then handed it off to a designer who added the interactions. And it worked. We used our own backend to serve the right Rive file based on which arm of the A/B test the user was in.”


Fast-tracked designer-to-developer handshake

Rive’s not-so-secret superpower is how it streamlines the designer-to-developer workflow, making engineers' lives easier and putting control of the design firmly in the designer’s hands. 

Yamen gave us an example, “Let’s take landing pages. A designer would put together the landing page, provide it as a mockup for the engineer, and the engineer would spend time building that landing page to spec, get it approved, and then merge the whole thing.” 

Rive takes a considerable chunk of work out of the engineering side. He continued, “With Rive, there is some initial engineering work to define the contract between the Rive asset and what it's capable of doing in terms of interactivity, but after that point, you just need someone working in Rive to put together that landing page—it doesn’t even need to be a designer.”

Simplified deployment and optimized performance

Rive files load dynamically, so their designers can build an entirely new page or layout, and then load it without having to submit a new app to the stores. All of their Rive file interactions work, even if they look and behave completely differently than the previous Rive file.

For AofL, Rive removes the need for engineers to recreate the design. “By slightly increasing the design effort and offloading the tech art onto the designer, we were able to halve the engineering effort. Code to support this setup only needs to be written once,” Chris told us. “We also eliminate design visual QA because the designer’s output is incorporated directly into the product.”

Not only does Rive affect AofL’s designers and developers, but also their marketers who can now more frequently test their landing, offer, and popup pages. Rive helps them optimize their upsell experiences so customers keep coming back for more.

Increased creativity and branding opportunities

AofL animates assets that before they wouldn’t have had the time or capability to animate. Today they can bring their branding to life in new ways without worrying about the onerous update process. 

Chris explained, “Before, we would try to keep animation and art as simple as possible knowing that it was something we would need to change often. Now, dropping in animation is no big deal. It's straightforward.”

Mind melded designer creativity with engineer logic 

Rive was made to accommodate the workflows of both designers and developers. Because of this, designers at AofL have gained a deeper understanding of the engineering logic behind their product. 

Yamen explained, “One of the unforeseen benefits of using Rive is it brought the coordination and collaboration between design and engineering to a new level. Now design is much more involved with how our app functions in addition to how it looks. They're much more familiar with the architecture of our application and how it works.” 

He added, “In terms of collaboration and coordination, it’s night and day. Can't say enough about how awesome it’s been. Hands down one of the best things about Rive.”

Get your team started with Rive

Rive is the interactive design tool bridging the gap between designers and developers. Learn more about how it can benefit your company’s workflow at our pricing page

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