Segment Builder

The moment before you turn something on—an email campaign for example—is one of the scariest in interfaces. Are all the settings correct? Is this going to the right people? Did you misspell the month again?

Users of Apptentive had the same fear, and most of their anxiety came from the targeting & segmenting interface. They must use tracking events and boolean operators to pick who their campaign would go to, in an interface which didn't do anything to help them feel confident about their choices.

Users could set it up perfectly and still say "I'm not sure I did it right"


Our goal was to build something which could be used by someone with a low level of technical expertise, and was still powerful enough for complex targeting logic. We defined several segments representative of things that our personas regularly target. We used these segments as guides when designing, and as tasks while running user tests.

We then ran user tests to record people going through interactive HTML prototypes of three variations. If people could successfully complete our persona's example segments, then we counted that as a success.

View User Testing prototypes

Handling the details

The most successful segment builder we tested focused on building simple segments quickly — roughing out the overall plan, like a sketch — before filling in the details. Many rules are simple Key - Operator - Value sets.

Rule with no details

Some rules may have an optional clarifying detail. Users can access these additional levels after filling out the initial rule and opening the rule's "Details".

Rule with some details

And for some rules, there are multiple available details. These stack, so each additional detail adds further specificity the parent rule.

Rule with lots of details

Hiding the details for a rule behind a click allowed people who had never built a user targeting segment to approach this without feeling intimidated. Brand new users could focus on building an outline of their segment quickly — roughing out the overall plan — before filling in the details.

Example Segment

Having trouble with the video? download the .mov file


  • Decrease time-to-live on customer projects.
  • Less 'backtracking' where people would delete their whole segment just to make a couple edits.
  • Positive feedback from customers.
  • New structure allows for more flexibility with future data types.