Canva uses UserTesting to optimize onboarding experience

Posted on June 3, 2016
2 min read


The challenge

The idea for Canva came from watching non-designers trying to use traditional design tools. After years of development, the Canva team had built the first version of their product in late 2014. The inevitable challenge with launching a product for the first time is not having seen how people would use it. Giving the users a great experience in the first few moments was critical to Canva taking off. They needed to change their users’ beliefs about their own design abilities and make users feel happy and confident to click around and explore. No short order!

The solution

Canva engaged UserTesting to conduct some exploratory research and discover where they could make improvements. The insights were extremely useful. The Canva team learned just how intimidating graphic design was for many people: users were scared to click much, and when they did, they struggled to know what to do next. Many struggled to create something they loved and left feeling dejected. The feedback was unanimous: “I’m not creative enough; it’s too hard.” It wasn’t quite the fun journey Canva was hoping users would experience. It became quickly apparent that it wasn’t just the tools themselves that were preventing people from creating great designs, but also people’s own belief that they can’t design. Users’ hesitancy to jump in and explore the platform’s potential had to be overcome. The Canva team didn’t just need to create an intuitive, easy-to-use graphic design program; they needed to empower people who weren’t graphic designers to believe they could design. Based on what they learned, the Canva team optimized their onboarding experience—paying particular attention to their users’ emotional journey—to dispel people’s beliefs that they didn’t have the talent, skills, or creative ability to design. They created a short introductory video to help new users visualize how easy it is to use Canva and to eliminate the preconceived notion that design products are hard to learn. They also created a series of interactive challenges to help users experience small wins, build their creative confidence, and convince them that Canva was easy to learn and fun to explore.

The result

Their re-designed onboarding process has saved hundreds of thousands of people from struggling to use their product. Within a few minutes of using Canva, people feel confident with their abilities, understand how Canva works, and then spread the word—a feat which helped Canva grow to more than 10 million users in just over two years.

Include your users in your product journey—they’re the only other people who will care about your vision as much as you do. UserTesting helped us understand what they needed on both a UX and emotional level. - Melanie Perkins, co-founder and CEO of Canva

Want to learn more?

If you’d like to learn how UserTesting can help you understand your customers through on-demand human insight, contact us here.

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