Chani Nicholas’s birth chart tool is a progressive web app (PWA) for anyone looking to ascertain their astrology birth chart, and is a companion tool to Chani’s debut book, You Were Born For This: Astrology for Radical Self Acceptance (HarperOne, 2020).
The design of the birth chart itself we knew we would reuse in future first-party tech products, so a lot of time and energy focused on getting the design of the birth chart right as well as designing its motion interactions.
Chani had built a global brand and loyal following from her astrology work. On the eve of her debut book being published, we saw an opportunity to expand our technology offerings and create a better reading experience for folks looking to take the next step in their astrology study as they read Chani’s book.
But for all of the “online natal chart” tools out there, none provided a user with a clean, modern, easy to use companion that would help Chani guide her readers on the journey that has been so meaningful to so many. None provided an easy way to understand the aspects of the chart, nor focused readers on the most important elements of their chart. So we decided to build it!
We wanted this design to be very functional and minimal - because a traditional astrology birth chart has so many symbols and technical nomenclature in it, we intended to create something with a super straight-forward look & feel.
We employed rapid prototyping to design the tool, and then the tool that we shipped is not far off from a mid-fi wireframe -- intentionally. We wanted it to be very straightfoward and didactic in its approach and framing of the information.
The report is also printable and email-able, so we had to design and test how the report rendered into a PDF.
This was the first live product I shipped, and I learned a lot about scoping product requirements and integrating with engineering teams through this project.
In the end, we produced:
● A Full-Stack React progressive web application integrated with Mailchimp
● An interactive, clickable natal chart display customized based on the user’s place and time of birth, including Chani’s particular keys to the chart
● Chart interactions to animate relationships of different signs and planets in the user’s chart
● Personalized calculations of the "gifts, mergers, and challenges" presented by the user’s chart
● Google Analytics setup and search engine optimization
● A continuous integration/continuous deployment model to allow users to use new features automatically
● Responsive displays for mobile and tablet visitors
● An infrastructure that supported a successful launch - 25,000+ users signing up within 48 hours of launch, and a more than doubling of Chani's email list in the time the tool has been live