Life at MiroCase study
Miro is an online collaborative whiteboard platform, a canvas-based product that focuses on bringing teams together. As of today, Miro is an established leader invisual collaboration. My work there stretches in all aspects of design, from product definition, strategy alignment, feature releases, and launches to experimentation and research.
I joined Miro in 2019, as the first full-time Platform designer. Things back then were quite different for Miro, we were a startup with about 250 employees and a newly opened office in Amsterdam. Today 2022, Miro is one of the most successfully growing SaaS companies in the world with more than 1200 Mironeers across multiple locations in the world.
The Miro Platform is a unique sub-service that allows for external or internal parties to generate solutions on top of Miro, by consuming Miro REST API & Web SDK. Covering a wide range of teams in the beginning allowed me to understand problems and solve challenges holistically.
You can say I became a Lead Designer for the stream. Constantly thinking about the connetiviti and stickiness between the teams. I was both designing for end users and for developers. You can break it down into canvas mechanics, developer experience, app creation, app discovery,and growth.
One of the biggest and most important projects that I've worked on was to collaborate and contribute to the panels UX in Miro. We were looking for a scalable way to empower external & internal creators to create applications and featires in Miro, by also providing a native behavior to our end-users. Solving unlimited scenarios from gallery-focused applications supported by Drag’n’Drop API to automation and configuration of widgets or applications. The design was inspured by OS, where similar panels allow for control and flexible information structure. We also thought about allowing developers to configure their panel behavior for a delightful two-way app experience.
While working on the Panel UX, we identified as a team the need to provide well-structured layouts. That way our creators wouldn't spend time dealing with composition issues, they can quickly inject data and start prototyping and testing their solutions. That’s how the App Layouts in Mirotone was born. You will learn more about Mirotone, a bit later in this story.
Installation and Authorization
Another important area of the Platform journey was, and still is the Installation and Authentication, it’s the part where end-users are deciding if they want to start using an application for their daily work in Miro.
We’ve worked on a full redesign of this flow and created a new conversation with dynamic and scalable UI. The UI allowed for different combinations of states based on the application configuration and single-click installation. With the power of research and user validations and interviews we come up with an optimal solution inspired both by small teams users to big enterprise teams.
Once we introduced installation and authorization, we’ve started focusing on Enterprise experience and Admin management. As a leading designer, I kept my focus on the strategic vision and the direction in which we wanted to take this initiative as a product area.
The most important lesson during our collaboration on app experience was the value of conversation. Scopes and Authorization remain a technical area that's still considered confusing for users. Especially in the context of data and privacy. Our research allowed us to understand the value of the conversation between the UI and the user. Which resulted in a block inspired design with dynamic and reusable structure.
Async collaboration for the win
After the success of the new installation & authentication mechanism for our app users, we as a team wante to add more value to the Platform experience. That's how the idea of improving the app config page was born. App config is an area in the product, where developers can create, configure and develop their application, from that experience they can also submit and publish the app on the Miro Marketplace.
At this point in time there wasn't enough engineering capacity for such a redesign, but on the other hand it was also a perfect moment to step in and directly worked in the codebase to provide a simple but effective page re-design. What is amazing in Miro is that collaboration is a mindset. We used our canvas to involve product, engineering, design, and Platform leadership for an big asynchronous critique, which resulted in an aligned vision of how we want to communicate things to our app creators.
Later on we also used this method to uplift our Developer relations by re-designing our App montly Digest, which was a montly email to provide better exposure and more effective convesration with our developers.
Asynchronous critiques are scalable, effective, and powerful when prepared in a good way. Writing makes the product knowledge durable, and help for the structure of the thought. It's important to underline that it requires time for preparation and patience for the collaboration.
Designing for the community
Another important role that I was lucky enough to fill in was the role of Design system advocate. Along with Gin (SE) we founded the Miro design system. We focused our work on establishing processes, supporting teams, and creating exposure for the system and how important it is for the organization.
By my last day at Miro, our internal community grew to +100 members, and an official design system team was formed. One of my proudest achievements to this day.
By teaming up with some of my fellow Developer experience engineers, we created Mirotone. Mirotone is a small & lightweight design system kit that tries to match Miro styles for helping you design, build and integrate apps. The kit was designed with a focus on internal control and external flexibility.
Mirotone has +9K downloads on NPM today and keeps growing daily, a dedicated team, and an additional Figma plugin to try to close the funnel and to allow for a delightful experience while building.
Culture at Miro
Miro today is one of the most successful SaaS companies in the world. As an organization Miro keeps transforming the way we collaborate and work together as teams and as a society. The culture is a tremendously important part of that transformation, with an entrepreneurial spirit, endless curiosity for solving problems and passion for evolving the ways of working. I’m truly thankful and forever grateful of meeting and working with such an amazing and diverse group of individuals.
Thank you team, we did everything together ♡♡♡.