Although SaaS product trend is growing exponentially, there is one big problem every SaaS businesses have: “Customer Retention Rate”. It is a metric that demonstrates whether your marketing and customer care efforts are wasting your time and money or boost your business. Here is the situation that “Product Adoption” steps in to offer an effective way to improve your business’s retention.

Let’s start with a short definition of product adoption, then continue with some exclusive clues that will help you increase it.

Sounds good? Let’s go ?

What is product adoption?

Product adoption, by definition, is a process by which customers hear about a new product or a service and become recurring users of it. It is a crucial aspect of customer health and plays a primary role in customer success.

Increasing SaaS product adoption encourages your customers to detect new items and elements. And also, your customers can discover new features of an existing product. Plus, it enables them to become long-term users. For the most successful companies, higher adoption is indispensable for higher revenue.

Especially, SaaS start-ups are highly familiar with the term of product adoption. Because they continue to struggle with low retention rates, users not coming back after signing up and always looking for a solution to keep their users for a long time to increase lifetime value.

You know, it’s the fundamental of a SaaS business model. You have to sell your SaaS product every month to your customers. Product adoption process provides a more advanced customer success by increasing the average lifetime value and the conversion rate of the trial to the subscribed user and free to paying user.

Amazing, like a swiss knife for product teams, isn’t it?

Let’s dive into how to measure product adoption first, and then to how to increase it.

How to measure product adoption?

saas adoption rates

There is an obvious fact that most software people do not actually have adequate knowledge and understanding of adoption.

Apart from classical visitor to user, the user to customer rates, there’s a whole different area to measure new feature adoption.

Let’s think about a scenario which you are really familiar with:

You worked for weeks over a new cool feature and finally launched it to all of your users. How many of them could actually reach it? Did they really start to use it? How actively did they use it? Did you actually do a good job working on that new feature, instead of something else? How to measure the success of this new feature or a product in general?

You need to attentively detect the areas that users drop off and exit. If drop-off and exiting rates are high, it is an obvious indicator of something going wrong and an urgent call for fixing it.

Don’t know what feature adoption is? Check out our article What is Feature Adoption and How to Increase It.

3 Product Adoption Metrics

There are 3 metrics to calculate product adoption rates, therefore help you measure the success of a new product.

Adoption Rate:

It is the percentage of a number of new customers to the number of total customers. There is a simple mathematical equation to answer the question of how to calculate adoption rate. A number of new user / Total Number of Users x 100. For example, you have 22 new users and the number of total users is 200: Your adoption rate is 22/200 x 100 = % 11. It can be calculated in a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis.

Time-to-first key action:

The average time it takes a new customer to use an existing feature, or an existing customer to use a new feature for the first time

Percentage of users who performed the core action for the first time:

Name of this metric clearly reveals its definition. It is the percentage of customers have performed a core feature for the first time in a given period of time.

“Using a tool as a backup can be helpful.”

To monitor and measure saas adoption rates, you can employ some tools which are able to review the new user onboarding funnel to analyze the steps in which users are having trouble with.

Analytics tools such as Mixpanel, Amplitude, Woopra etc are great tools to measure product adoption with customizable funnels and lots of helpful resources.

How to increase product adoption?

We need to attract customers who tend to actively and consistently use our products or services. No matter what business model we have, we can only achieve success when we make users experience unprecedented moments which make them say “aha, this is what I’m looking for”. It suddenly takes our product or service to a core ingredient of customers’ work.

To clarify it, I want to define the Product Adoption Process by 5 stages.

5 stages of the New Product Adoption Process:

Product adoption process

Every user respectively goes through these stages no matter what kind of product it is.

To increase your SaaS product adoption;

  • Follow the stages in the new product adoption process,
  • Detect insufficient points in each step carefully,
  • Enhance them immediately.

1 – Awareness (Introduction Stage): 

In the first stage of the new product adoption process, potential customers enter your website to know about a product but they don’t have sufficient knowledge about it yet.

Teaching Customers can be helpful: Prospects may not be aware of the existence or importance of a certain problem. On the other hand, customers may realize the problem but don’t know the solution. Educating customers about either the problem or the solution can help provide a strong awareness.

An important step is making a product more recognizable and making customers be aware of it. Bringing new and differentiated features, low price, sales, proposed quality into the forefront with a smooth onboarding process can be very helpful in this stage.

 2 – Interest (Information-gathering Stage):                                       

It is the stage that customers get attracted to the product and try to have more information about it.

Follow the steps of your customers instantaneously and make sure you have strong customer support. Sending segmented emails will increase product adoption at this stage as well.

3 – Evaluation (Consideration Stage):

At this stage, customers determine whether a product is worth to try or not.

Help your prospects evaluate your product objectively. Make them see the aspects that differentiate from alternatives to it.

4 – Trial (Sampling Stage):

Users try your product to see how efficient the product is for compensating customers’ need. It can be either the first purchase or free trial period.

Give free trials and a money-back guarantee to ensure your product is worth employing.

5- Adoption / Rejection (Buy or not Buy Stage):

Prospects determine if your SaaS product has the value and decide to adopt it or not. In the last stage of the new product adoption process, customers proceed from a cognitive state (being aware and informed) to the emotional state (liking and preference) and finally to the behavioral or conative state (deciding and purchasing).

An Example Case of the New Product Adoption Process from Real Life:

Let’s assume that you are walking through a street near your home:

  1. You saw a billboard that says a new pizza restaurant Alican Pizza has opened which located near your home. (Awareness)
  2. When you went home, you looked for some information on the internet to know more about Alican Pizza’s menu and prices. (Interest)
  3. You considered either want to try it or not. (Evaluation)
  4. You decided to try the pizza in small scale – one slice or a little size for trial – to improve or estimate its value. (Trial)
  5. You conclude that it is delicious and you want to be a long term customer of Alican Pizza. (Adoption)

Diffusion of Innovations Theory: The Product Adoption Curve

Have you ever noticed that some people adopt new products or behaviors sooner than others? In 1962 Everet Rogers a professor of rural psychology developed a theory called diffusion of innovations to explain the product adoption curve.

Rogers found that individuals within any society fall into one of five different adopter groups based on how early or how late they adopt an innovation. While explaining the product adoption curve, Rogers’ theory tells us that if you want to promote the widespread adoption of a new product, you need to market each adopter group differently using distinct communication channels and messages.

The Innovators (2.5%)

Innovators are a small but very important group because they are always the first learn about and adopt an innovation.

The Early Adopters (13.5%)

The early adopters are also a small forward-thinking group and are often highly respected as opinion leaders.

The Early Majority (34%) 

The early majority takes time to make decisions. They will observe others’ experiences and will only adopt a product once they are convinced it has real benefits and that it is the new status quo.

The Late Majority (34%)

The late majority is more resistant to change but they are very responsive to peer pressure. They want innovations to be very well tested.

Laggards (16%)

Laggards are highly unwilling to change and they also can be hard to reach with marketing campaigns. Because they often have very minimal exposure to media.

2 Ways to Improve the Product Adoption Process

1 – Make Your Support More Supportive

Customers are having trouble figuring out how exactly your product works. They have limited time and there are a lot of alternatives in the market so they do not want to spend much time on understanding your product. It creates a huge obstacle for customers to retain.

Customer support has the power that can make customers proceed to the next step with your product. Offering in-app live chat, embed videos and creating interactive guides are great solutions to improve saas adoption rates.

2 – Improve Your Onboarding

Effective onboarding helps customers how to successfully use the product without any external effort. You can show the proposed value of your product through a successful onboarding and it also helps users to find their “Aha!” moments easily.

A “Product Adoption Software” can be a very effective solution

You don’t want your developers to work for hours to create product adoption guides. It takes too much time and undoubtedly considerable effort is needed to do it. Save your developer team’s time and don’t waste your budget.

A product adoption software helps your users reach the product in websites and web apps with interactive guides that you created for them. It is the easiest and cost-effective way. You don’t need a big team and a high budget to make guides, your interns can even do it in a couple of minutes.

Moreover, product adoption software permits you to follow the product adoption process stages and provides analytical information which allows you to make objective evaluations handily.

For a longer answer to your question “Why shouldn’t I build onboarding walkthroughs insource?”, check out our article: Onboarding Walkthroughs Are Hard.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the five stages of new product adoption curve?

The Innovators – The Early Adopters – The Early Majority – The Late Majority – Laggards. All stages are explained in our article.

What is the most efficient way to increase product adoption?

A product adoption software saves your developers’ time and your budget and permits your team to follow the product adoption process stages.

What metrics should I follow to measure the success of product adoption?

Adoption rate of the product, time-to-first key action, percentage of the users that has reached the “aha!” moment.



Product design is a worthwhile endeavor, and a lot of professionals are into it, not just making a few bucks but actually making a living off it. The main problem is in the area of acquiring the skill — product design as a skill does not come cheap. You have to spend a lot of time learning, practicing, and making mistakes. However, when you become skilled in it, it becomes rewarding.

There are actually many ways you can make money as a product designer. You just have to follow a path and stick to it until you succeed. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can earn money with your product design skills.

The conventional and most popular way of making money as a product designer is to get a job in a firm where your skill is needed. In fact, most product designers usually start with this option. One good thing about this and why it is so popular among designers is that many businesses and corporations require designs, and they require them in-house.

One of the advantages you will have getting a job as a designer is that you will have the opportunity to improve your skills by working with other designers more experienced than you are. You’ll agree with me that going solo is not the best for a new designer, and getting a job is a good option since you won’t be making mistakes that will get to the client.

There is a prediction that in 2020, 50 percent of the United States workforce will engage in freelancing whether part-time or full-time. And guess what, designers are some of the early birds in the world of freelancing. In fact, many businesses do not actually have in-house designers, and as such, they look out for freelancers to outsource the job to.

When we talk of freelancing, you have two routes you can go through. You can either go to freelance websites like Upwork, Fiver, Freelancer, and other sites and get gigs from there. The other option is to get clients independently from other sources, which could be offline or from social media sites and design websites like Dribbble and Behance.

Yes, you probably are not aware, but designers with the right skills can also serve as consultants. However, you cannot be a consultant with little to no experience. In fact, to serve as a consultant and provide consultation service, you have to be one of the tops on the line in your field — nobody pays an amateur to consult for their business.

However, when you get to that level, the opportunities become endless. You’ll have the option of consulting for a good number of product design teams that need professional guidance and best still; you are actually not designing but just giving guidance. And needless to say, there is big money in consulting.

If you look at the four methods discussed above, they are all centered around working on the designs of other people’s products. The question now is, why not get creative and create your own product? After all, you are a product designer. I have seen where some designers created their product and sell them for profit, and they are making good money.

Some get creative with merchandise, others bring a team together and build a tech product that’s design inclined, and it all worked out. The major problem associated with going this route is that you need to have a solid go to market strategy on the ground because frankly, making a product is just one part of the equation, selling it is the most important aspect of it all.

Prior to getting my feet rooted in the industry, I did a lot of learning, and one of the media I used was reading blogs. I learned a lot, reading from the expert knowledge on the blogs I visited then. I know I have slowed down on reading blogs, though, but I still cannot forget to mention how helpful it was to the success of my career.

Plant’s blog you are reading right now is somewhat of a design blog but centered on core design, though, as our product, Plant, is a version control system for designers that integrate well with Sketch on Mac. If you have the required knowledge, you can start sharing your knowledge by blogging it and make money from premium courses, display ads, mentorship, and affiliate marketing.

While blogs are some of the major sources of information in the current world we are in, we cannot deny the fact that books hold more information than blogs. If you are well versed in a particular aspect of design, you can simply write a book about it and get it out to the world. Unlike in the past that you need a publisher to get your book to the market, with platforms like Amazon Kindle Publishing, you can get your book out in no time.

However, make sure your book is worthy of being published else; it will be filled with bad reviews. If you do not want to publish on Amazon, you can sell it yourself if you already have a fan base. Marketing is critical here because frankly, there are many other design books out there, and people need to know why they should read your book and not someone else’s.


I’ve written about the importance of product adoption. Getting a return on something that no one regularly uses is pretty tough. Adoption isn’t the only important factor related to products; ownership is as well.

A common factor among successful martech stack components is clear and dedicated ownership. Ownership doesn’t necessarily mean the product owner is in senior management or is paying for it out of their own budget. Depending on the component, there is a wide variety of potential owners. For instance, an SEO tool that costs $100 a month may have a junior staffer as its owner while a CDP or CRM that costs several hundred thousand dollars a year (or more) is likely “owned” by someone with more authority and influence on the senior leadership team.

Project management and change management are two key frameworks that can help define product ownership, and while they’re closely related, they address different facets of an organization.

The implementation of Scrum project management in the Agile methodology includes a role named product owner. Some of the product owner’s responsibilities include representing stakeholders, prioritizing tasks, helping to define requirements and developing deadlines. It’s their job to take a high-level view of the product to ensure that value is delivered to users/customers. The Scrum framework places important responsibilities in this role to help the product perform well and provide a high return on the investment.

Through years of research, the Prosci methodology in change management has determined that the top obstacle for successful change is insufficient sponsorship. This sponsorship is typically provided by someone in senior management. Thus, a crucial part of change management is engaging, educating and enabling sponsors to exhibit ownership over a change. In a martech context, this could be a vice president defending and advancing a migration from one CMS to another. While the main sponsor may not do a lot of the day-to-day work, they support the change with their authority and ability to prioritize resources (time, money, staffing, etc.) as well as recruit coalitions within the organization. If that’s not ownership, I don’t know what it is.

The project and change management fields view product ownership differently, but there is a significant overlap. Both make it clear that ownership is an action word that requires consistent effort to champion a product.

In order for products to succeed, both frameworks need advocates to:

  • Find the project the resources and attention it needs
  • Ensure that users stay abreast of changes both to the product and the various fields it falls under
  • Adjust it to remain in alignment with evolving institutional needs and goals
  • Monitor and finetune its performance
  • Evangelize its usefulness to relevant stakeholders

Harnessing the methods of both project management and change management to foster effective ownership certainly helps, but in settings that are small or where project management or change management are new, the simple act of assigning specific people to own products should serve as an important early step. When a person understands that they’re responsible for a product, they can start making moves to ensure the product is set to succeed. Implementing specific frameworks like Scrum and Prosci can increase the chances of success, but a person must first adopt and accept the responsibilities to own it. Thus, I argue that ownership is crucial to effective martech management.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Steve Petersen is a marketing technology manager at Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah. He started on WGU’s marketing website team where he helped create and implement several initiatives including site redesign and maintenance, multivariate testing, user testing and mobile app development. Prior to WGU, he worked as a strategist at the Washington, DC digital agency The Brick Factory where he worked closely with trade associations, non-profits, major brands, and advocacy campaigns. Petersen holds a Master of Information Management from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Brigham Young University. He’s also a Certified ScrumMaster.


What is product illustration and how is it best used? Today, Product designer and illustrator Frances To breaks down the use of illustration in product design and offers some practical tips for creatives looking to expand their skills into this niche art form.

You’ve seen these illustrations in your favorite digital products—floating bright-colored people greet you as you browse through the web pages of Slack. Whimsical characters rendered in fluid brushstrokes grace the landing pages of MailChimp. Vectorized cars appear on the screen as you book a ride through Uber.

What exactly are these digital illustrations and why are tech companies suddenly embracing this art form? Enter product illustration.

  1. Mobile Dialog

  2. Shop Small

  3. Slack.com redesign — Illustrations 02

Row 1:
Tanner Christensen for Atlassian,
Joe Montefusco for Mailchimp,
Alice Lee.

What is product illustration and what is it for?

In product design, product illustrations are used to add a human element to your user experience, and to communicate complex ideas in a simplified, attractive way.

A good example of how product illustrations are used in digital products is Alice Lee’s illustration work for Wealthfront, an investment service firm. Financial products are generally perceived as serious and harder to understand. Alice’s illustrations, however, changed that perception by bringing approachability and warmth to finance.

To do that, Alice used metaphors to represent financial concepts. For example, plants represent money while groups of plants represent an increase in the customers’ investment. While plants can be watered and grown, similarly, investments can be grown and managed as well.

How is product illustration different from editorial illustration?

You might be wondering—aren’t product illustrations the same type of illustrations found in magazines and newspapers such as TIME Magazine or The New York Times? Not quite.

Product illustration differs from editorial illustration in terms of intent. Product illustration aims to bring delight to the users’ experience. It is also used to explain the benefits of a product and eventually, persuade people to love the product. Editorial illustration, on the other hand, captures readers’ interest and engages readers in the content. Editorial illustration also breathes life into the stories people are reading.

When to use product illustration

As a rule of thumb, product illustration shouldn’t be used for the sake of ornamentation alone. Otherwise, users will only end up distracted, confused, and maybe even frustrated. Instead, product illustrations need to have a clear intent as to why they’re being used.

Some of the best use cases for product illustration are:

  • When the accompanying text is harder to read and understand
  • When users need to know what to do next
  • When onboarding users
  • When a user has reached a goal and you want to congratulate them
  • When a user is confused or frustrated

Tips for getting started in product illustration

1. Keep styles consistent

The smallest details — colors, line treatment, perspective, and the like — all matter here and can either make or break your illustration. For example, if you made several illustrations with rounded edges and oversized proportions and you decided to have one illustration with sharp edges and slender figures, your work ends up looking inconsistent.

Why is this a problem? One reason is that inconsistency erodes trust. Another reason is that an illustration is reflective of the product and the brand identity it’s tied to. If an illustration lacks in quality and consistency, it also speaks the same for the product.

2. Keep details minimal when illustrating for smaller screens

While detailed illustrations make a concept more convincing, they can also visually backfire when scaled down to smaller sizes. Illustrations that look great when viewed through a browser may look cluttered when viewed on a mobile phone.

When illustrating for small screen sizes, it’s best to keep details minimal You can do this by taking out details that don’t add much context to the illustration. For example, if you illustrated a cookie with twelve chocolate chips on it, you can reduce the chocolate chips to five when scaled down. After all, you’d still know it’s a cookie even if seven chocolate chips were taken out.

3. Use metaphors to communicate abstract ideas

People use products because of the things they can achieve through them. For instance, people use Shopify because they want to start and grow their online business. People use Asana because they want to be more productive with their work. People use Google Drive because they want to access their files anytime and anywhere.

These ideas tend to be abstract in nature and are harder to convey through illustration. Using metaphors solves this problem because they relate an intangible concept, like being productive, to something tangible, such as having several items ticked off a to-do list.

One of the most effective ways of coming up with metaphors is to relate the abstract to the concrete. Say you’re asked to illustrate the idea of designing your own website from scratch. You can come up with metaphors by completing this sentence: “Customizing my own website is like _____.” One answer to this is the idea of “painting” the screen of a desktop with real paint and paintbrushes. Paint buckets of varying colors can also be drawn to further highlight the concept of customization.


Product illustration is a powerful way to highlight the benefits of a digital product and convince others to use that product. While product illustration shouldn’t be the go-to solution to improve a product, when used appropriately, it can attract users and make a product stand out from the competition.


About the author: Frances To is a Product Designer at First Circle by day and a freelance illustrator by night. With a love for technology, lifestyle, and travel, she aims to humanize digital products and inspire people to travel more often. Find her on Instagram or follow her on Medium to stay updated on her articles.

Find more product illustration inspiration by searching the #productillustration tag on Dribbble.

Find more Process stories on our blog Courtside.
Have a suggestion? Contact stories@dribbble.com.





Side project, from data analysis to prioritization & execution.

(Build-Measure-Learn). Resume Angels is my e-commerce store on Etsy platform.

Side project, from data analysis to prioritization & execution.

(Build-Measure-Learn). Resume Angels is my e-commerce store on Etsy platform.




Project management,

Data analysis, 


Design & execution

Project management,

Data analysis, 


Design & execution

Revenue increase: from 150$ to 1300$/month.

Order conversions rate increase: from 0,5% to 2%.

Traffic increase: from ~100 views a day to ~400 views a day.

Revenue increase: from 150$ to 1300$/month.

Order conversions rate increase: from 0,5% to 2%.

Traffic increase: from ~100 views a day to ~400 views a day.


What’s the challenge? What’s the goal?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

―Tony Robbins

I was running the e-commerce store on Etsy since 2014 and after an initial good start things started to get worse.

From the past year, my revenue from this project was differing between 27-150$ a month and my traffic since the best period dropped by 82%.


There wasn’t a single day I was not thinking to do something about it but to be honest I wasn’t acting on it.

It was always a side project for me, like a laboratory where I can test my ideas & assumptions.

I’m still amazed by the new wave of entrepreneurs that through creating an online business are able to create more time for themselves. All of them are able to scale their businesses without increasing the time they are spending on managing it.

There are a few books like Elaine Pofeldt “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business” or Paul Jarvis “Company of One” that show many examples of how it can be done.

With all the online tools that we have now, there has never been a better time to do it.

Having the ability to scale your client base and profit without expediently scale increasing your employees or resources is still mind blowing for me.

“That’s it!” I said to myself  “If you never try you will never know…”

In August 2018 I decided that I will focus more time on my side project.

Learn as much as I can so my side project would be my main experiment.

The goal: Bring more value to my clients and increase my sales to 700$ a month in next 2 months.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I knew it was not something I could do in a weekend. The time that I could spend on this project was limited.

I knew I needed to commit to the process so that It could be effective for me in the long run.

There are many frameworks that I love (Design thinking, Lean development, Lean Startup, Google Sprints) and there are many articles about their similarities & differences and how to use them (so I I will not get into detail about this now). What I would like to focus on is that all of those frameworks at the core are based on the same formula; Build-measure-learn loop.


My plan was to apply these into my process:

  1. Develop hypothesis

  2. Get an idea/product/strategy to the market/target group as soon as possible

  3. Measure the results

  4. Learn from the results

  5. Repeat the process every week

  6. In the long term find ideas that are scalable/repeatable

I took those 3 steps to set up my “Build-measure-learn loop” up and running.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”

― Abraham Lincoln


I took a deep dive into my data & I made a competitive analysis

I was using mainly Etsy Stats, Google Analytics, Etsy Rank, Marmalead, SimilarWeb & Buzzsumo to take a closer look at:

  • shop & products conversion rates
  • traffic sources
  • reviews
  • my past surveys
  • e-mails & messages from my clients on Etsy
  • presence in social media
  • other products focused on solving the same problem

Key insights:

  • 90% of my customers were women (mostly from creative fields)
  • My clients biggest problem was “How to write a winning resume”
  • My order conversion rate dropped from 1% in 2014 to 0,5% in 2018
  • My organic traffic also dropped by 82% (compared to the best period)
  • I had 2 quality traffic sources Etsy & Pinterest
  • The Pareto principle could be applied to revenue from my products (20% of the best products were earning 80% revenue)
  • The same 20% of products were the most popular and pinned from my Pinterest
  • I was able to estimate how big the market was of my category on Etsy (daily, monthly, yearly sales & revenue of my competitors) and based on that knowledge set more realistic goals
  • All of my main competitors were selling the same products with the same features. Differentiator was the design.
  • Pinterest was also a strong quality traffic source for them. Their bestsellers were the ones that are popular on Pinterest.
  • I had a highest Review Conversion Rate in my niche (from all of my main competitors)
  • I was able to analyse their Etsy search keywords strategies


I created a master doc with all the ideas based on key insights.

I divided all ideas into different categories, depending on a field:

  • Conversion rate improvement
  • Etsy search
  • Pinterest traffic
  • Ads
  • Product Ideas
  • Virality
  • Content marketing
  • Promo/Giveaways
  • Customer Service

Then I used ICE method to prioritize the best ideas so every idea got the ICE score.


As a quick refresher, ICE stands for:

  • Impact: How impactful do I expect this test to be?
  • Confidence: How sure am I that this test will prove my hypothesis?
  • Ease: How easily Ican get to launch this test?

Each criteria is graded from 1–10 and the average presented as the ICE score.

At the end I added “expected outcomes & measures” & “start and end date” of each experiment in the doc. From then on I was treating my ideas as experiments and my master doc as my backlog.


I set up Kanban on Trello & committed to my weekly sprints.

Ideas with the highest ICE score were added into Trello. I knew how much time I could allocate each week and I had estimates on each strategy. Each week started with planning & ended with retrospective.

Experimenting made all the difference

“You don’t learn to walk by following the rules. You learn by doing and falling over.”

― Richard Branson

Below you can see the stats and the number of orders since I started (August 2018). Those results below are based on many lessons from the past experiments.


Orders in my shop from January 2018 to January 2019

The main advantage of testing a lot of ideas is that you get a lot of feedback.

You are starting to “connect the dots” and see patterns that you can apply to formulate a new hypothesis or new iterations of the same idea. 

You are able to move faster and each iteration brings you closer to your goal.

1. It’s possible to increase product chances of becoming a bestseller and save a tone of time doing it

Problem: Creating new products is a major time consumer. In the end I didn’treally know whether they were going to be a “bestseller” or a “noseller”.

Hypothesis: The Design of the resume template is the most important factor for my clients during the purchase decision (decision of purchasing).

Idea: Instead of spending the time to create a Resume template pack (3-pages resume template Cover Letter Reference Page) I could create about four or five 1-page Resume templates in the same time.

After some time based on the order conversion rate – upgrade to resume template pack (this should increase Order conversion rate) or take them off from my shop.

Result: I created about 45 new resume templates and upgraded about 15 of them. (5 of them are now my bestsellers.) At the same time, I would be able to create only about 10 new resume templates packs.

The Pareto principle didn’t work anymore – I have now more products that are popular.

2. Lowering the price can increase your revenue

Price in my category on Etsy varies between 1-15$.

When I started my order conversion rate was 0,5% and all of my templates were priced at 15$.

I was able to increase my order conversion rate to 2% by experimenting on my pricing strategy and finally I lowered my price to 8$. (my profits increased)

3. You can set up a whole year promo-sale

Etsy offers a way to set up sales and coupon codes. It’s not rocket science to set it up but it never worked for me so I just stopped doing it at some point.

In August 2018 I started again – each week I was testing a new approach.

The one that I ended up right now is generating 15% of my monthly sales. It is consistent every month.

4. Keywords on Etsy are everything

By experimenting with keywords and Etsy SEO I was able to increase my traffic.

Also I have more products that I’m selling so, if you think about Blog analogy, Each new resume template acted as a new blog post,. This added additional traffic to my shop.


Traffic on Etsy from January 2018 – January 2019

5. You can increase your traffic from Pinterest by automation

In November 2018 I started posting daily on Pinterest. I’m using Tailwind to schedule the week up front.

Since November when I started I tripled my views on Pinterest & doubled the traffic from Pinterest to my shop on Etsy.


Traffic from Pinterest February 2018 – January 2019

?Hey! Don’t just sit there, drop me line!

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Made with ? in the beautiful city of Krakow © 2019 Mateusz Tatara

Made with ? in the beautiful city of Krakow © 2019 Mateusz Tatara


Take a peek behind the scenes to see what questions we ask, and how we evaluate the answers to find great designers at Snapdocs

Wells Riley

Interviewing for a new job can be really rough.

Often times the process is completely opaque. There are portfolio presentations, sample projects, hours-long on-site interviews, and questions designed to trip up candidates or find the fraudsters. That is, if you even hear back from your application in the the first place.

Even though companies aren’t often asking about ping-pong balls in school busses anymore, the process can still come from a defensive, suspicious place. It’s less about attracting and energizing amazing candidates than it is about filtering out the bad ones. While I am a firm believer in hiring for role and values fit, I do believe there’s a better way than approaching hiring from a place of doubt.

Maybe the best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.

Snapdocs is a technology company that’s reimagining real estate transactions by helping everyone involved in the process work better together. Our talent team already responds to every applicant, no matter what—we’re all people, after all. Someone who might not be a great fit today could be a trusted colleague a year from now when our business changes, so it’s important to us that every candidate have a great experience.

But today I’d like to try something new—I’m going to share what every step in our process is, and what we’re looking for to find the best candidate. If you’re a strong, experienced designer who’s interested in the challenge of designing a product that makes real estate less frustrating and more accessible, I want to make sure you have the best opportunity to showcase your skill.

Step 1: Introduction

Your resume and portfolio are the ultimate design challenge. You need to know your audience, and what their goals are. The purpose is to give the hiring manager and recruiter enough signal, as quickly as possible, that your design skill and experience are a match for the role they’re trying to fill. We’re also assessing how clearly you communicate the context around your work and how polished the overall presentation is.

✨ Learn more and apply at https://www.snapdocs.com/careers

The strongest candidates…

  • Present a resume where form and function are in perfect harmony. A well-designed resume demonstrates attention to detail and visual design / layout skills.
  • Communicate their skills, experience, and interests clearly and succinctly. Enough information to grab the hiring manager’s interest, and nothing more.
  • Paint a complete picture for us. . If the candidate has a strong social presence (like a GitHub, Dribbble, LinkedIn, blog, etc.) working links are included. Weak social profiles (like a blank Dribbble account) are excluded. A strong candidate participates in the design industry and shares work and ideas they’re proud of.

Design a strong portfolio website. Squarespace templates or custom HTML/CSS are both fine. Case studies and mockups are both fine. No images at all — great! The best portfolios showcase the candidate’s strongest work, and leave everything else on the cutting room floor. The best portfolios clearly show the context, considerations, and solution for the piece of work in a way that an outsider can easily and completely understand.

Step 2: Recruiter call

At Snapdocs, the recruiter’s first job is creating a great candidate experience. Your recruiter will work to understand your past experience, your ideal next role, availability for interviews, potential commute, salary requirements, and where you’re at in the process with other companies.

This will also be your first opportunity to get to know our business and internal workings a bit. If you have a question about benefits, location, company structure, the product, etc. — please ask!

Step 3: Meet the hiring manager (me!)

This is likely the first time you’ll meet me, and my job in this call is to get you excited about the role, and the mission and vision of the company. I’m ultimately responsible for hiring the best person for the job and, once you arrive at Snapdocs, I will be instrumental in creating an environment in which you can do fulfilling, important, and challenging work.

Take advantage of this time to ask questions and get to know me. Take time before the meeting to think about what you really care about in a company and what your ideal role looks like. Research Snapdocs. Ask questions that help you decide if Snapdocs fits those criteria! I will do the same in return.


  • Tell me about yourself. What’s your story?
  • What are you looking for in your next role?
  • What are you hoping to do or learn that you couldn’t do in your past roles?
  • Why Snapdocs in particular? What stands out?
  • What do you need to know about Snapdocs and the role to decide if it’s a good fit for you?

The strongest candidates…

  • Clearly and thoughtfully articulate what they’re looking for in their next role. They have an opinion, and articulate why they’re looking for those things.
  • Ask more than several questions that dig below the surface of the job description or stated company mission, looking for a good fit.
  • Show genuine interest in the company or space, and excitement for the job and opportunities at Snapdocs in particular. The interview process is a two-way street… we get the most excited about candidates who are excited to be here. Hopefully you feel the same way!

Step 4: Portfolio review (via Hangouts)

This is a critical stage. The ask is to share two or three projects you’re most proud of, that best represent your skills and experience as a product designer.

Portfolio review with a group of designers

Portfolio review with a group of designers

It’s not just your work that’s on display—we’re also looking at how you manage your time (45 minutes to completely run through–including time for questions!), how you organize and present information, how you tell a story, and how you help someone who has no prior context about the problem or the work gain a clear understanding.

These are all skills critical to the day-to-day job of being a product designer at a startup!

The strongest candidates…

  • Tell a story around their work, sharing context, their journey through the project, and tangible outcomes clearly and succinctly. Everyone leaves the room with a clear understanding of the work and why it was interesting.
  • Stop at key points to solicit questions. They know the work so well, they’re excited to go into detail wherever it’s needed.
  • Budget time for questions and discussion, so that the session can end right at 45 minutes without leaving projects or discussions with loose ends.
  • Design the whole experience of the presentation. The intent and attention to detail stands out more than just clicking around a personal website!

Step 5: On-site interview

The on-site is often our first opportunity to meet in person! It’s an exciting day because you’ll meet the people you’d be working with, visit our wonderful space, and get a feel for what it’d be like to actually work at Snapdocs.

Not only will you meet other designers, you’ll also meet cross functional partners from engineering and product too. Their job is to dig deeper into your skills and experience, and assess fit with the role and the job we’re trying to fill.

Session 1: Product walkthrough with a PM

The purpose of this session is to go deep and give you a clear understanding of the Snapdocs product and the business problems it solves. So, ask us questions about our business, the product, our design paradigms, or anything else!

Additional questions:

  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with a PM that was especially difficult for you. What happened, and what did you do to resolve the situation?
  • What’s been a particularly successful process you’ve used to collaborate with a PM on research and user testing? Walk me through a specific experience.
  • Tell me about a time where you had to ship something that was ‘good enough’
  • Tell me about a time where your PM had work spilling off their plate. What happened?

The strongest candidates…

  • Ask thoughtful questions with the aim of more deeply understanding the product, customer, and opportunity.
  • Actively participate in the conversation, and are not passively led. Their attempts at understanding drive the conversation forward.
  • Demonstrate what it’s like for a product manager to work in a collaborative setting with them.

Session 2: Design thinking exercise with a designer

The purpose of this session is to assess how you approach problem solving and ideating with a teammate. This is less about getting “the right answer” and more about understanding your process and ability to ask questions, think quickly, and manage ambiguity. This is a collaborative exercise!

The prompt: We’ve been tasked with building a new product that reimagines the eSigning experience on mobile devices. Let’s work together to try to come up with a compelling prototype we can build and share with our initial customers for feedback.

The strongest candidates…

  • Demonstrate natural talent in breaking down a big, ambiguous problem into approachable chunks.
  • Ask many clarifying questions before jumping to conclusions.
  • Collaborate with the designer, leveraging the partnership to do better work than either could do alone.

Session 3: Design implementation with an engineer

At Snapdocs designers and engineers work together very closely to create new benefits for our customers, and this session gives us a glimpse into how you collaborate with your technical partners and how you approach that critical relationship.

The prompt: Our engineering team is always looking for ways to improve our front-end development process, and we’ve been tossing around the idea of creating a design system in partnership with the design team. Can you help me think through the process and approach?

Additional questions:

  • Tell me about a time you struggled to work with an engineer on your team.
  • What’s something you recently learned from an engineer colleague that changed how you approach your design work?

The strongest candidates…

  • Demonstrate experience solving problems alongside engineers with empathy and understanding for their needs, constraints, and skills.
  • Ask questions and attempt to understand the deeper context.
  • Collaborate with the engineer, leveraging the partnership to do better work than either could do alone.

One on one interview with a member of the Snapdocs team

One on one interview with a member of the Snapdocs team

Session 4: Operating principles

The design team at Snapdocs isn’t looking for “culture fit”—in fact, we prioritize creating a team comprised of many different cultures! Instead we look at something we call principles fit. What do you value? how do you make decisions? And do those align with our principles?


  • You’ll be asked to describe experiences that show how you’ve handled situations that put stress on our operating principles: Empathy, Pragmatism, Authenticity, Innovation, Teamwork, and Results.

The strongest candidates…

  • Align well with our operating principles , and can demonstrate how their values have helped them make decisions or face challenges in the past.
  • Ask many questions to more deeply understand what Snapdocs values and how those values are tested.

Session 5: Wrap up with the hiring manager (me again!)

That’s it! We’re pretty much done. I’ll wrap up any loose ends, and answer any final questions you have. I want you to leave your on-site with a strong sense of whether or not you think Snapdocs is the kind of place you can see yourself enjoying and creating a big impact in.


  • How did the day go? How are you feeling about Snapdocs?
  • What questions can I answer for you?
  • What stood out during your interview (good or bad?)

The strongest candidates…

  • Reflect openly about their impressions of the company and, if they’re interested, share excitement and reservations they have.
  • Reflect on the interview and provide positive or constructive feedback.

After the on-site, the interview panel will provide feedback to the hiring manager in private, and then we will discuss the feedback as a group.

Next Steps

After the on-site, the interview panel will get together as a group to share feedback. Our recruiter will be in touch to share our feedback and hear yours.

Final step: Offer

If we believe there’s a great fit—impressive experience, strong skills, open mindset and hunger to learn, low ego, and genuine excitement for the opportunity Snapdocs presents—we’ll make an offer!


What VMware Design is looking for in candidates

Kevin McBride

The VMware Design team is growing. In the past year, we more than doubled the team to over 100. We expect to continue this rapid pace of hiring — and not just for junior product designers, but for design leads and managers as well. One important element we look at when evaluating candidates is their design portfolio. In this article, I will detail what we look for in a good one.

  1. Representing breadth and depth
  2. Focus on the user and the stakeholders
  3. Storytelling
  4. End-to-end design process
  5. Project roles and leadership
  6. Design craft
  7. Domain knowledge
  8. Scope of work
  9. Results and impact
  10. Team building
  11. Influencing others
  12. Design of your portfolio

A great design portfolio will show us the breadth and depth of a candidate’s understanding and practice of design. It will show not only a high-quality design product that solves user problems but also the team and the process by which that design was created.

We expect the focus of your designs to be on the users — understanding their needs and showing how the design was shaped by those needs. So, any design project description should start with your target users, how you chose them, and how you learned about their goals and pain points. Even if the target users were given to you by someone like a product manager, they should be your starting point for any design.

Persona cards

Persona cards

Who are your users?

And the stakeholders

For design lead and design management candidates, we expect the focus on users to go beyond the immediate hands-on users to the stakeholders in the organization for which they work. Again, VMware is an enterprise software company selling to organizations. Those organizations have stakeholders who set goals and measure results. They are often the ones making buying decisions. Design leaders will show this context in their portfolio projects.

A good designer is a storyteller. A portfolio should demonstrate the ability to tell both the user story and the designer’s story. We like to see user stories that show the original user problems as well as how the user’s story has changed as a result of the final design. For the designer’s story, we want to hear about the end-to-end design process.



How did you tell the story?

A good design portfolio shows the end-to-end design process you used to deliver the design to market. A conceptual diagram of your design process is always a good start. Whether is it a double diamond, triple diamond, design thinking, user-centered design, or some novel combination, show us this at the high level. However, a conceptual process is not sufficient, you need to show us the process in action.

Double diamond design process

Double diamond design process

What is your process?

You should have one or more design project examples where you walk us through the process from understanding users to ideating on design solutions, to early user feedback, to design prototypes, to iteration on designs, to delivery of working code, to the measurement of user outcomes. The more senior the designer, the more complete and detailed we expect this process to be.

Every design project in the portfolio should describe your role. Even for in-class projects and small startups, there are often multiple people involved. It’s important to show interaction with product managers and engineers. If you were the only designer, tell us that. If you were one of a team of designers, explain your role and their roles.

“My role” section of a portfolio

“My role” section of a portfolio

What was your role and who did you work with?

If you were leading or managing the design team, tell us about how you gave direction to others and communicated with other project leads. It’s fine if portions of the project that you show were completed by others, as long as who did what is clear. It’s great for design leads and managers to show how design work was assigned and tracked, such as the use of Jira, Pivotal Tracker, or other project management tools. How was the design work tied to development work? How were design reviews conducted, by who, and how was design complete decided?

JIRA board

JIRA board

How did you keep your team on track?

After those basics of user-focus and design process, we look at design craft. For junior designers, we expect an emphasis on the basic craft of design like interaction design, visual design, motion design, prototyping, user research, and storytelling at a feature level.

We don’t expect junior designers to be experts in each of these areas, but we are not big on excess specialization of design roles. We expect any product designer to be somewhat proficient in each of these skills. Expertise in one skill is a plus and could be highlighted with a separate section in the portfolio showing that skill practices across multiple projects.

Design craft leadership

Design leaders should have expertise in multiple areas of design craft. They should be able to show not only examples of their work, but how they set the standard for others and mentored others in their organization. A design leader can also demonstrate their ability to recognize design excellence in the work of their team they choose to highlight. We are quite open to seeing a project from a design manager who did none of the hands-on design work but could show how they led the process and mentored others in delivering high-quality design.

The enterprise products we create at VMware are often targeted at highly skilled computer science professionals like IT administrators and application developers. Designers working with these users need to be able to understand how they work and the complex problems they are solving. Though not absolutely required, it’s a big plus for junior designers to have designs in their portfolio targeting these highly skilled users.

For design leads, this domain knowledge is even more important, often a requirement. Not only are leads more likely to be leading research with these users, they also need to have discussions with technical architects and product managers. We want to see that you are able to understand and communicate the goals and pain points of these types of users.

Another area we look at is the scope of your designs. Were you designing a single feature of a product or were you designing across the whole product? Was this the first release of the product or an incremental revision to an existing product? For junior designers, solid work on a single feature is fine as long as it shows a complete design process.

For design leads, we like to see work on a good size product or even a portfolio of products. Some of our more difficult design projects at VMware require integration across multiple products, so we like leaders with experience working with multiple teams at once. How do you get consensus across products, ensure consistency, and deliver an integrated experience? Can you show impact across a portfolio of products?

It’s not enough to just show your design activity, you need to show us that the design worked for your users and your organization. Show us how you measured success both quantitatively (data analytics are a plus) and qualitatively. Google’s HEART metrics (happiness, engagement, adoption, retention, and task success) are a good outline of measures we look for.

Impact section with data on satisfaction, task completion, and market share

Impact section with data on satisfaction, task completion, and market share

How did you measure success?

For design leaders, we would also ideally see some attention to the business value generated by the design — both for customer organizations and for your own business. Metrics in this area might include increased revenue or market share, decreased costs or time to value, or increased customer satisfaction. We know these measures are sometimes difficult to come by and not always fully under the control of the design team. But, we are looking for design leaders who are aware of the business goals and showing the impact of their designs.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the VMware design team is growing, and we are looking for leaders who can help accelerate that growth. To that end, showing how you have built a design team is helpful. How did you go about recruiting? How much did you grow the team and how fast? Did you work on a design team career ladder that helped grow your internal talent? This is important leadership work that could be shown in a graph.

For design leaders and managers, in particular, we look for documentation of how they have influenced others. In Project roles and leadership above, I talked about how we look for design project leadership — organizing and assigning the work, setting goals and tracking progress. Beyond that, we want leaders to evangelize and educate the whole organization on design.

Organizational leadership might take the form of communicating design vision and strategy to executives, initiating new design systems or processes that influence engineering practices, or organizing internal design workshops or conferences to up-level design at the company.

Finally, your design portfolio itself is a chance to demonstrate your design skills. Is it beautiful and easy to use? Is the navigation intuitive? Have you thought about the target users — recruiters and the design teams doing the hiring? Will they be able to easily evaluate your experience and design skills? Is it concise and scannable? Remember, we are looking at hundreds of candidates and can’t spend too much time on the initial screening.

Design portfolios are a key element of our initial screening of candidates. A good portfolio will get you past the first look and into a phone screen where we will ask you to walk us through your work. Pass the phone screen, and we will invite you on-site for a series of interviews and one of them will again be a portfolio review with a panel of interviewers. Being prepared to show us your work with the content above will be your best shot at joining our team. You can know that your colleagues here at VMware Design have met the same high standards.


Every creation is a product of opinion. If you want to produce high quality design you need develop a strong opinion, but one shaped by that of many others.

Opinion decides what goes into the work and what stays out of it, who the work is for and who it is not for. Opinion can shape the objectives and goals of the work while defining a line between distractions and inspiration. To have a valuable opinion of the work is to not limit yourself to only your own, personal, knowledge or experience.

The work we do is only ever as good as the multitude of perspectives and ideas that go into it. If what you’re designing is going to be functional for anyone but yourself, you’re going to want to get a second opinion on how it should work, appear, or feel.

”Better outcomes come from hearing a diversity of perspectives.” — Julie Zhuo, Facebook VP of Design

Collecting opinions doesn’t mean giving up accountability or responsibility. Every decision needs a single decider, someone who can own the decisions and be held accountable when things go well, or not.

But what gets handed off to the client, or to engineering or other partners, is often the result of the designer’s opinion; with that delivery comes a lot of bias. We don’t know what we don’t know, and it’s hard to see how a design might impact those who have different beliefs than us, or who aren’t using the same technology, or who intend to use what we design in ways we never imagined it to be used.

To set ourselves and the work up for success it’s in our best interest to shape our opinions of the work by gathering the opinions of others.

Early and often in the design process we should be building a broad perspective of the work by pulling in other’s who can add to our opinion of it.

What problems might arise or what edge cases might break the design? It’s helpful to know how people might get confused, or be empowered, or feel as a result of what we design. We can never know everything about how our designs will function and be received once they’re out in the world, but we can try and learn what others think, feel, and perceive about the work before it makes its way outside our direct control. That is: before the design reaches a static state.

How do we gain diverse perspectives without losing focus? How do we tune-into those whose opinions can be additive to what we’re building, rather than distracting? What is the best way to gather other’s opinions without sacrificing our responsibility in the work?

1. Share design early and often

In design critiques or one-on-one with designers, engineers, product managers, clients—anyone on your team—share your work.

It doesn’t matter what stage the work is in, the sooner you share it the sooner you can catch issues or shortcomings.

If you’re afraid your work will be unfairly evaluated or that others simply won’t understand it, remember that effective work can stand up on its own regardless of how we personally feel about it. An effective critique is never a critique of the designer, only the work. And you are not your work.

Sooner or later the designs you create will have to stand up without you there to defend them. By exposing the work to other opinions early and often, you end up strengthen it early and often. Because you can take those early opinions and incorporate them, or start to build “defenses” against them into the work itself.

“Many designers want to take a problem and hide away with it in order to produce the work, but that usually backfires. They want to shelter their ideas and designs but end up weakening them instead. Like an immune system that hasn’t had a chance to strengthen itself against diseases. Designers who don’t collaborate well end up seeing things from a very limited perspective and that hurts the designs.” — Tanner Christensen

2. Share your work with as many people as possible

Sharing work early and often is good, but if you’re only ever sharing it to one person you’re limiting the perspectives and opinions that can help you evolve and strengthen the design.

Your goal should be to get a broad picture of the work you’re doing, and to do that you need to share it with as many people as possible. The more opinions you can get, the better. Because everyone has a unique background and lens from which they will see the work .

The goal is not to “design by committee”—having many people determine what should and should not get built—bur rather to solicit many different perspectives and opinions without giving up your responsibility for the work.

If you approach others with a clear intent to learn what they think—and when everyone knows who is responsible for the final output— these conversations become easier to navigate and leverage to your advantage.

Consider sharing your work by presenting it with one of the following introductions:

  • I respect your insights and want to hear your opinion on this, I may or may not take the feedback into the next stage but really want to hear what you think, can you take a look?

  • I’m trying to ensure I have all the information I need to make an informed decision in my work, can we take five minutes to have you review it?

  • I want to ensure I’m getting as many opinions as I can so I can collect what others are seeing and take action on it, can I get your perspective?

  • Would it be ok if I showed you some of my latest work and walk you through what I’m thinking, I want to make sure I’m not overlooking anything?

3. Clarify and re-declare your objective whenever you can

One of the most difficult parts of soliciting other’s opinions of your work is ensuring the feedback you do get is aligned with what your focus or goal is.

Especially if the opinion you get from someone else is strong but not exactly what you need to hear. It can be incredibly difficult to turn away feedback or opinions without a strong rationale for why you’re doing so. If you simply reject someone’s opinion as being unhelpful they may not be so willing to share their perspective with you in the future.

It can also be difficult to know what feedback is actually helpful or what feedback you’re rejecting simply because you don’t personally agree with it.

To face the common challenges that arise when sharing work, you should always begin the conversation with what your objective is, or what the design is trying to accomplish.

One of the most vital indicators of whether an opinion should influence the work is whether it relates to your objective. When the objective is unclear or different than what others are thinking, the feedback will be less helpful than ideal.

When you share the work or ideas for the sake of building a stronger opinion, state and re-state the objective so everyone can align on it. Be clear by saying something along the lines of: “My purpose with this project is to get X result, I am not worried about Y or Z at this point but will consider anything that helps move the work toward those goals.”

If you feel the feedback you’re getting isn’t helpful, or that the opinions being shared are too removed from the objective of the work, take a minute to re-declare them. Not only will it help the person or people giving you their opinion, doing so will also help you re-orient yourself around the purpose of why you’re looking for feedback.

Sharing your work and asking others for their opinion of it is not an excuse or a reason to give up responsibility. At the end of the day the designs you create are yours alone, not anyone elses.

If you want to ensure your design succeed you’ll want to collect many different opinions of it before it’s considered “complete.”

The more diverse opinions you can collect about your work, early and often, the more likely the design is to stand triumphantly against any challenges it faces in the future, especially once it’s left your hands.