Paperless Post - 

Product Design


Paperless Post is a company that delights millions of card and invitation receivers every year. I joined Paperless Post in search of a Product company after having worked in an agency previously. Here, I was part of many teams designing on platforms across the iOS apps for iPad and iPhone and the website. 

Host Vs Sender

Host refers to someone sending an invitation on Paperless Post, as opposed to sending a birthday card, anniversary card, etc. A card sender is referred to as “Sender”.

Paper Vs Paperless Post

Yes, we’re called Paperless Post. No, we are not particularly a “green” company (we recycle, though). Yes, we have a “Paper” product - this means that most of our digital cards can be printed on fancy paper.

Process at Paperless Post

This is the process I follow with any new feature or redesign project. Features on Paperless Post are designed for desktop and mobile breakpoints. Appropriate features are also designed for the iPhone and iPad apps. 

Requirements gathering The design process starts with gaining good understanding of our users. To gather requirements, I talked to our in-house support team to understand the pain points on the existing host flow. I also consulted with the data team to understand where in the funnel we had most drop offs (hosts leaving the site). The data team also helped me look at what the most and least used different features on Paperless Post were.

Competitive Analysis After gathering requirements, I perform competitive analysis to make sure our features are comparable with other products in market. With the requirements gathering and competitive analysis, I end up with a core set of features that we want to support and build.

User FlowsNext, I make a list of use cases for each feature and map out user flows for each of the use cases. User flows are detailed and include notes on functionality and edge case scenarios. I introduced the process of making user flows as part of every project at Paperless Post because it helps a great deal with understanding how a new feature impacts the rest of the user’s journey.

WireframingAfter making detailed user flows, I brainstorm (sometimes with other designers or developers) and make wireframes detailing functionality of the feature. Wireframes are made using Sketch.

Polished Design - After wireframes are finalized, depending on the size and complexity of the project, I sometimes create a prototype of the flow. After prototyping, we make final comps using Sketch. Paperless Post has a style guide that is applied to all of the final designs.

Development and Testing The annotated designs and notes on functionality along with user flows are sent to developers. I work closely with developers during design to ensure the feasibility. During development, I pair with developers to answer any questions regarding design or functionality. After development is completed, I am involved in a final round of testing to ensure everything is built according to specifications.

Discovering the host

My first project at Paperless Post was to customize the digital envelope on the iPad app where users can choose from hundreds of beautiful envelope liner designs made in house by our Content design team. Since then, I became empathetic with the sender, the host, the creator at Paperless Post. I have focused almost all of my time here in improving the UX flow for the host.

Who is the host?

Our hosts are largely women, between the ages of 20 to 50. Mostly moms, given the popularity of our baby and kids’ birthday invitations.

We are an Invitations company. Our online invitations are more popular (and generate more revenue) than the cards - since invitations are often sent to more than one person and cards are generally one to one. Unless they are holiday cards, another favorite category with moms.

Host journey at Paperless Post

The host’s journey starts at the homepage. Traffic that comes to the homepage is largely from people who have received our cards/invitations before. Other traffic comes from our marketing emails, SEO and existing users. Data shows that if you receive a kids’ birthday party invitation, you are 70% more likely to send a kids’ birthday party invitation. This meant that we needed our homepage to show that we cater to events such as weddings, cocktail parties, etc. The homepage and navigation focuses on product education and marketing/brand efforts.

1. Discovery at Paperless Post

The focus here is welcoming our users into Paperless Post, educating them of our product and on boarding them through the journey to becoming hosts. While on the discovery team at Paperless Post, I focussed my efforts on a few “quick wins” by conducting a series of A/B tests to understand host preferences while increasing conversion. (Conversion on Discovery was measured by the number of people that move from the homepage to choosing a design for customization). One such test was on the number of cards to display on the e-commerce pages.

Browsing invitation designs 

Our e-commerce page is a grid displaying invitation designs. We have over a 1000 designs in each category. Data says 90% of conversion took place in the first 3 pages (containing 28 cards per page). As an experiment to increase conversion, we increased the number of cards in each page to 96. This increased our overall conversion by 3%. Success.

Narrowing your selection 

Even with e-commerce fewer pages to click through, browsing over 1000 invitation designs is still no easy task. In efforts to narrow our hosts’ selection, we introduced filtering capabilities. In addition to having generic filters for color, photos, designers, etc, we introduced category-specific filters like “Theme” and “Age”.

Delighting the host

The most delightful part of receiving a Paperless Post invitation in your email is the opening animation. We love it, our users love it. We brought this animation to all our e-commerce pages.

2. Customize invitations

The host can customize the invitation by changing and formating the text on the invite, adding a background, customizing the envelope and the reply card. My task on this team was to help our hosts get through customizing fast. We focused on making the navigation easy to understand and minimizing any clickouts.

Previously, our navigation showed that the host has 5 steps to complete (and they took days do complete customizing their invitation). We reduced the steps to 3 and created clear CTAs to go to the next. This drastically reduced the time spent on customization and consequently increased conversion.

3. Set up your event

This is where the host gets to add the details of the event. The page is designed to be a simple form that displays options for guest list management, event management and advanced settings.

4. Build a guest list and send

The “Delivery” page (where the host makes a guest list and sends an invitation) hadn’t been re-designed for 4 years. There was a lot to do. This page was responsible for most of our angry customer support calls. We started redesign by going back to basics and

making some user flows for different host scenarios. This gave us a clear understanding for basic requirements to start with. The host has 2 tasks - Building a guest list and sending the invitations.

Building a guest list

We designed a widget that is used to “quick-add” guests into a guest list. This widget pulls guests from the address book or allows the host to add a new name and email address for a guest. We focused on making this widget fast and intuitive for adding a large number of guests into a guest list.

Sending the invitations

Some of our hosts have large guest lists and the “Send” button would be pushed all the way below the guest list. We made the button more prominent by making it stick to the bottom of the screen while showing all information necessary to send invitations.

5. Manage your event

After sending the invitations, we help our hosts manage their event on the “Tracking” page. This page was also redesigned after 4 years of no love. The purpose of the tracking page is to make sure all the invitations were delivered, show the host how many guests can make the party and help the host manage the event. Management

tools such as messaging (hosts can send private messages to their guests), follow up tools (helps with following up with unresponsive guests) and resending invitations (for any emails that weren’t delivered) help the host make a successful event.

The host’s journey on Paperless Post ends after the event has completed. Once the host journey is completed, we follow up with the host to make sure their event went off without a hitch.