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UX STRAT USA 2019: Courtney Drake, Trello


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Trello is known to tens of millions of users around the world as an intuitive and even fun tool for managing personal and work projects. Its origin as a digital analogy for Post-its made kanban project management understandable to a broad demographic and they pride themselves on maintaining Trello’s simplicity, even as they seek to make it a more powerful tool for teams of all sizes. Listen to Trello's origin story and learn how they've since codified Trello's DNA into a set of design principles and employ those principles alongside quantitative data in product development.

Published in: Design
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UX STRAT USA 2019: Courtney Drake, Trello

  1. 1. COURTNEY DRAKE | DESIGN MANAGER | @COURTYDRAKE Key Principles That Guide Trello Design
  3. 3. Photographer; Source (
  4. 4. HORIZONTAL PRODUCT Redfin Marketo JIRA Salesforce Real Estate Marketing Tech Sales Trello
  5. 5. Real World Analogies Constraint Flexibility Shared Perspective Initial Core Tenets
  6. 6. “Trello-y”
  8. 8. Team Size Explaining unofficial principles gets inefficient and new hires get frustrated Opinions Veiled as Objectivity When “Trello-y” is code for “I don’t like it” Feedback Isn’t Actionable So it’s not “Trello-y”…how do I improve it? When is it time for principles?
  9. 9. Product as a Whole Developing Principles Just Enough Description How (Not What)
  10. 10. Trello Principles Universal Trello lets anyone bring perspective to their life Easy A new user can be up and running in a few minutes Personal Get perspective on work and home you do in one place Visual Use distinctive visual elements instead of relying on text Familiar Our core design patterns come from the real world
  11. 11. Trello Principles Succinct If you need to add new vocabulary, it’s too complicated Direct Users can directly manipulate objects Flexible Don’t prescribe how to use Trello, users shape it to fit them Collaborative Trello is optimized to help groups of people work together better Fun Trello has a personality. It's friendly, witty, light, and helpful.
  12. 12. Design Critique PRINCIPLES IN PRACTICE:
  13. 13. “I like that it’s direct, but could it be more visual?” “It’s not Trello-y enough.” BEFORE AFTER
  14. 14. Decision Making PRINCIPLES IN PRACTICE:
  15. 15. Play off of Quant Data PRINCIPLES IN PRACTICE:
  16. 16. Principles supersede data, but ideally they complement each other PRINCIPLES + QUANT DATA
  18. 18. WELCOME BOARD ONBOARDING Visual No explicit instructions, aside from card and list content Direct Use the product while learning how it works Not Performant Not activating users at the rates we wanted
  19. 19. MADLIBS ONBOARDING Visual Show board being built, explanation is minimal Direct User populates mini board, which becomes their first board Personal User creates a board specific to what they’re trying to get done Performant Activates users at higher rates than other onboarding tests Easy Users can set up their first board in minutes
  20. 20. TRELLO PRODUCT PRINCIPLES • Core tenets that resonated with users • Growing pains may mean it’s time for principles • Principles should live alongside quant data
  21. 21. Thank You @courtydrake