Yes, I am going to be that guy that posts about weed …sort of. The Marijuana industry has expanded immensely in recent years due to less-stigmatized public perception and further state legalization. Exponential growth has drawn a lot of recent college-graduates and young professionals, but I will not waste anybody’s time with old news, statistics, or market evaluations. Rather I wish to speak toward MassRoots, a social platform that is uniquely apt to Millennials and our social age. After a successful battle into Apple’s App Store (for 23 legalized states), attaining the necessary licensing for becoming a publicly traded entity, and only 3 years running, MassRoots has gained well over 900,000 users and significant public attention (okay, some statistics). Have I mentioned that the cofounders are only 22?
Purpose, Audience, Stakeholders: The general purpose of their mobile applications are to provide an outlet for an audience of growers, dispensary owners, entrepreneurs, and simply those with a “favorable” opinion of Cannabis to connect. The company’s underlying intent, however, is to inform and empower the Marijuana community while actively promoting legalization reform (especially in light of the coming election). Stakeholders would then be the audience I have stated in addition to anybody living in states that have not yet legalized Cannabis. It is for the latter reason that you will find some bias in areas of their web portal, applications, and certainly blog. I am talking about a company who’s CEO (Isaac Dietrich) originally said “the whole point is that we don’t want our grandmothers to see us taking bong rips on Facebook.” I wish all empowerment to them. Nevertheless, MassRoots has become an influential and insightful source of the latest news, social trends, innovations, and enthusiasts’ opinion. This is where my interest is.
User-Centered Design: Their mobile applications are exceptionally easy to navigate and very familiar since they are modeled after Instagram. You will find three primary feeds on the homepage which use an infinity scroll: Local, Global, and “Buds.” The remaining tabs include a “Discover” feed, notifications, your personal profile, and right at the center is a button for posting images and videos with supplementary descriptions (hashtags and usernames still applicable). The layout for posting feels slightly more like Facebook but allows for editing and filters like Instagram. Their color scheme uses simple, clear, modern shades of green and yellow with plenty of white space. It does not feel busy yet it offers a plethora of material. Their website is more impressive even in my opinion as it addresses anyone that is interested in learning about who they are as a company, what they offer, statistics, projections (exclusive information for investors), information and opportunities (like advertising) for business owners, as well as a thorough blog. Like their mobile applications, their site’s color scheme includes the same green and yellow in addition to lots of white/grey space. They effectively implement singular images and image galleries, live photos, professional photos of themselves, infographics, and a lot more. Their blog page again uses an infinity scroll over a consistent gallery of square images and clearly highlighted titles that appeal to readers a lot like major news outlets. For example, “Cannabis Pesticides: Oregon’s Class Action Lawsuit.” One feature I am particularly fond of are the tabs at the top of the page which read “Latest News,” “Learn,” “How-To,” and “Legalize.”
Conclusion: This is an impressive example of what entrepreneurs our age are accomplishing by taking advantage of social media and effective online marketing. It is also a fruitful source of information regarding the Marijuana industry, local and global Cannabis community. What I have mentioned here is only a fraction of MassRoots’ capabilities and functions so I would highly suggest checking them out for your own ideas in web design, blog formatting, social media attribution, and more (if not just to learn something about weed).