UX • Interface Design • Prototyping • Marketing • Code
DigitalOcean is the simple cloud host designed for developers. With its ever-growing set of features, simple experience and top-knotch customer support, DigitalOcean has positioned itself as the #2 cloud host provider in the global market, with the #1 spot belonging to Amazon AWS.
They've become a favorite among individual developers, teams of developers, hobbyists, and the occasional internet breaker. One of my first major tasks at DigitalOcean was to unify our design system into a manageable and scalable collection of components and styles that could be used to maintain consistency moving forward.
As a member of the product design team at DigitalOcean, my responsibilities included leading new products and features which either added to, or supported the existing core product of the Droplet. Throughout our process, product designers, product managers and engineers worked closely to identify problems our users faced in order to put forth a solution. Read more about my process.
Features and products I've worked on at DigitalOcean include:
During what we called the 'normalization' phase of our design system, I was responsible for tracking similar, but divergent styles and unifying them under a common style. This process included making some minor and major visual design updates, as well as significantly reducing our CSS codebase. Shortly after, along with the rest of the product design team, we established an even more refined system which promoted consistency for our growing feature-set. The new style guide which we called 'Buoy', is a set of modular-based components built using the BEM methodology. See the DigitalOcean style guide upon request.
As a part of our iterative process at DigitalOcean, we focused on revisiting pain points in the experience, as well as making general improvements along the way. The billing experience required some rethinking, especially as we introduced things like VAT for international customers, improved credit card management and better reporting on usage and invoicing.
What does failure look like? Along with two engineers, I worked to improve our customer-facing support system. Our goal was to make more help articles and information available to our customers so they could easily resolve their own problems, reserving only the biggest problems for our in-house support team. In doing so, our failure was that we created more of a bottle-neck for our users by introducing friction to the process. Initial data showed that we had not succeeded in reducing in-bound support tickets, and if anything, had created a system which increased them. When I departed from DigitalOcean, we were in the process of improving the experience through data-driven solutions which targeted different segments of users, A/B testing and user feedback.
A long-standing request from our users was to offer the ability to create multiple instances of the same configuration at the same time. Previously, a user would have to create a Droplet, wait for it to finish propegating, and then go through the same process all over again. Our solution, which went through many rounds of design iteration, resulted in an uptick of almost 2x. The average number of Droplets created per user was approximately 1.7, which not only demonstrated the value of this decision to the business, but more importantly, solved our customers' problems.
DigitalOcean's Community is one of the largest funnels for new customers. Early on, DigitalOcean positioned itself as the go-to source for developer documentation by focusing their attention on writing some of the most thorough and useful articles on the web relating to VPS management. I worked with the Community team to expand their reach. Our goal was to introduce an educational system that fostered a developers growth and learning from start to finish by providing curriculum-based tutorials and documentation.
When the design team was much smaller back when I joined the company, I would often be responsible for creating marketing websites for events or promotions. One of the sites I worked on was for a Valentines Day promotion that offered a chatbot which was developed by Kamal Nasser. With only two weeks to design and develop the site, I accepted the challenge and to this day, it is one of my favorite projects.
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