Canvus was a design and technology platform specializing in creating, selling and distributing custom and licensed apparel. Canvus helps people sell shirts online, fundraise for charities, or simply order custom one-of-a-kind apparel.
Designs were positioned as crowdfunded campaigns, with a target goal needed to trigger print and delivery of products. Users and power-users (marketers) would upload custom artwork and start driving traffic via social media. The platform generated a base profit on each shirt sold and allowing the marketers to up-charge any profit they saw fit.
I was fortunate to be on the ground floor when Canvus started around a small conversation during a lunch and learn. As the Senior Product Designer and Manager, I focused on design strategy with business stakeholders while contributing designing the platform out. The project was shut down in 2018.
Creating an ecommerce marketplace is a tough challenge. The majority of first-time users were coming to the site via Facebook, and through this, one chance to establish brand trust. I focused on transparency and consistency as the building blocks to gain that trust.
The design editor was the soul of the Canvus platform. Everything centred around this small but important workflow, which mean it had to be extremely fast and easy to use. Users needed to be able to upload and preview designs on different garment/colour variations and enter campaign details. By deploying countless rapid iterations, I was able to reduce friction points for novice users who needed to be guided through each step, to power users who were uploading hundreds of designs a month.
The sales page and checkout process was converting double the industry standards.However, the campaign page was the intro page to Canvus for 90% of users. A/B testing helped me understand and push for stronger design decisions. The main takeaway was that the ‘paradox of choice’ is real - the more touch points (distractions and choices) added, the lower the conversion rate.
Housing all external ad management and campaign activity in one centralized location was vital for users to monitor campaigns. Dashboard experiences can be agonizing so it was important to organize these insights in an accessible, delightful experience. User testing sessions made it clear the dashboard had to preserve key data for adjustments on the fly.
The design process began with the logo. A customizable shirt is a canvas for self expression. Since the business was to connect users with canvases (designs). I used the idea of interlocking two c’s (connect + canvas) into a logo. The ultimate goal of the symbol, wordmark and colours was to create a feeling of confidence, trust, and authority.