TheRightMargin: Designing an online planning and writing app that makes writing easier


Design, build, and grow a writing tool from concept to market that helps writers finish their writing projects, as the sole UX designer and researcher.


Increased user adoption from <50 beta users to 1600+ users ($5k+) over 18 months through designing, testing, and iterating the product; marketing; and growth hacking.

What I did

  • user interviews

  • rapid prototyping & usability testing

  • facilitate design brainstorming & feedback sessions

  • collaborate with developers

  • ui design

  • brand & marketing design

  • scrum mastering

  • copywriting & blogging

  • mobile design

  • ... and more



Before and After: Product


Beta design: An editor with long-form writing features.


Design 2.0: A planning tool for writing projects.


Design 4.0+: A smart, goal-driven, online writing app that makes writing easier.



Before and After: Homepage

Initial Design


design 4.0



Before and After: Dashboard

Design 1.0

design 3.0 - My projects

design 3.0 - Smart projects



Tools Used

Recruiting, research, testing tools:

  • Craigslist

  • Userinterviews

  • Facebook poll

  • Typeform

  • UsabilityHub

  • Usertesting

Design tools:

  • Sketch

  • Sketch Mirror

  • Balsamiq

  • InVision

  • Zeplin

  • Canva


Other tools: 

  • Mixpanel

  • Google Analytics

  • MailChimp

  • GitHub

  • Heroku

  • Slack

  • Trello



User Research

We learned from our ongoing user interviews that each writer has his/her own process, but there are several commonalities across writer journeys.

We put together many of these findings into journey maps to review our progress and guide our prioritization of work.

Additional synthesis techniques:

  • affinity mapping

  • 2x2 diagramming

  • personas

  • design studio

Identifying where TheRightMargin can alleviate writer pain points in the writer journey of writing a novel.



Product Onboarding

Our innovative sign-up process converts website visitors to signups at around 8-9%. Far higher than industry standard and incredibly effective, even before a more refined UI was in place.



Pricing: Subscription-based payment after a free trial

I researched pricing page designs and purchasing psychology to arrive at this design. We deliberately wanted to lead people towards the Austen plan, while making clear that all plans start with a 14-day free trial, all plans have the same feature set, no credit card is required on signup, and inspiring trust.





Early Feature Development Example: Navigating through a long document

identifying the problem, ideating solutions


prototyping how to navigate through a long document 



UI Design

Designing TRM's interface means thinking deeply about what users want to do, and figuring out how to guide them to easily accomplish that next step... and keep going.

  • The Projects page interface was designed to show users what project and what milestone to focus on first.

  • The timeline was designed to visually guide the user to the next task/milestone they have to work on.

  • Our emails surface the next task or milestone that's due

  • Our writing space is next to the timeline so that your next writing session is guided by your plan

"If you want to write consistently, track your progress and eventually hit the finish line, TRM is the way to go."

- Victor R.


"TheRightMargin's tone is encouraging. These writing projects are not about beating yourself up. And we're here to help."

- Ryan R.

"I use it. I like it! I come back day after day. It's a comfortable fit for me. I will be first in line for the mobile app."

- Farley S.




Final Thoughts

My team culture is extraordinarily focused on experimentation, agile methodology, measuring results and keeping users involved in each step.

A few things I will always go back to:

  • always going back to our user research and user pain points

  • separating the problem from the solution

  • clearly defining design goals for each chunk of work

  • tying every design to how the user and business will benefit


TheRightMargin team, alongside our coworking space friends.