Askable + Canva
Sr. Product Researcher
Aug, 2023 | Three weeks
Zoom | Canva | Slack
In August 2023, I was approached by Askable, a user research recruitment company, and asked to help them do a bilingual research project for one of their well-known clients, Canva.

Canva is an online graphic design app for creating social media graphics and presentations. It has over 135 million users. The majority of them live in the US, Brazil and Mexico. Their main revenue stream is via a subscription model called ‘Canva Pro’.
The team at Canva had been striving to enhance their revenue by providing a simplified and user-friendly experience to assist their users in switching from free accounts to Canva Pro. However, converting their significant user base from emerging markets such as Brazil and Mexico to Canva Pro was challenging.

They hired Askable to validate if this was due to:
- a usability issue in their payment flow.
- the reduced amount of alternate payment methods offered during checkout.
- an economic/financial barrier. In other words, users perceiving Canva Pro as an expensive product.
Kick off meeting
I scheduled an initial meeting (via Zoom) with all the people directly involved in the project.
- 1X Project manager - Askable
- 2X Senior Product Researchers - Askable (I was one of them)
- 1X UX Lead - Canva
- 3X UX Researchers - Canva

The purpose of this meeting was to:
- set and align expectations about my involvement/role in the project.
- understand the project's requirements in detail.
- define the tools/software we would use as a group.
- go through the existing assets they had for me to use.

Key learnings/action items
- We had three weeks to recruit/interview participants, create a report, and present findings to the Canva team.
- I would focus on selecting and interviewing Mexican participants (as Spanish is my native language).
- The other Senior Product Designer (from Askable) would focus on Brazilian participants (as Portuguese is her native language).
- We would use Askable's platform to screen and recruit participants, Canva for documentation and findings presentation, Slack for brief/written communication and Zoom for video calls and remote interviews.
- We defined Canva's UX Lead and Askable Project Manager as the people we would communicate with if there were any doubts/questions.
- The Canva team would create a source of truth/living document (using Canva) where we could collaborate, have visibility of the project's brief, overview and timeline, co-create a moderation/discussion guide, and access the existing Figma prototypes (Spanish and Portuguese).
The Canva team and I co-created a screener via the Askable platform and agreed to talk to five participants who met the following criteria.
- Live in Mexico.
- Have used Canva more than three times in the last month.
- Have used Canva for over one year.
- Currently use the free Canva account.
- Try to get one or two participants who have used Canva Pro in the past but are now back on the free Canva account.
- Try to get 1 or 2+ that use Canva for business use (can be a freelancer or a company).
- People not opposed to upgrading to a Canva Pro account.
- Use Canva on desktop at least some of the time.
- No strict criteria in age, gender or socioeconomic background (aim for a mix).

The screener was published on a Thursday and allowed participants to apply during the weekend.
Out of the 93 applicants, only 19 met the screening criteria. I short-listed nine and discussed the five best participants to proceed with with the Canva team via Slack.
Moderation/Discussion guide
While the participant’s screening/selection process occurred, I created and shared a moderation/discussion guide with the team.

This guide was created to:
- allow the interview to last up to an hour.
- capture our hypotheses and assumptions.
- fill gaps and reduce the likelihood of having unanswered questions.
- hold people accountable.
- I interviewed all participants remotely via Zoom. 

Important: I prefer someone from the client to be an observer or note-taker in my sessions, which helps me build trust and rapport with them. However, this was impossible due to the time difference with Mexico (-15 hours).
- All recordings and notes were uploaded to Canva’s Google Drive.
Key findings report
I created a report using Canva, including insights and findings.

The top three high-level findings were:
- Canva’s upfront cost is the main friction point for conversion. 

Mexico’s average monthly income is AUD 746 (2022 stats). All participants expressed that non-essential services (including Canva) are not their priority.
- Shorter and cheaper subscriptions may increase the likelihood of users joining Canva Pro.
Four out of five participants stated that they would be more likely to become Canva Pro users if they had the option of a 1 or 7-day subscription, as the cost of these options would be much more manageable than the annual or monthly subscription models.
- Some expressed they haven't subscribed to Canva Pro as they are happy with what the free version offers.

Several participants indicated that the free version of Canva fulfils their requirements effectively. They highlighted that they occasionally need to employ creativity and work with available free resources such as images, shapes, and animations. In situations where they encounter obstacles, some participants have access to alternative tools*, allowing them to make adjustments and continue working within the free version of Canva.
Wrap up reflection
- This was my first time using Canva, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was incredibly easy to use.
- I would have liked to see how these insights gained from this research round helped Canva shape and create a new solution.
- Working with the Canva team was an absolute pleasure because they were approachable, friendly, and highly talented. I would definitely consider working with them again in the future.
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I recognise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which I work, and acknowledge those communities' continuing connections to their lands, waters, and cultures. I pay my respect to their Elders past and present.
This portfolio was built with love in 2024 using Figma + Webflow