Increasing Feature Discoverability for Knowledge Workers


Lead UX Designer


Competitive Analysis
Card Sorting
Think Aloud Testing with SEQ
Motion Design


As a PDF software, Nitro Pro offered the same features as it's competitor: Adobe Acrobat. However, both new and existing Pro customers did not think that to be true because functionality in Pro was difficult to locate. Most users of Pro found it be invaluable to their workflow, but limited their feature use to what they knew, and did not feel compelled to investigate further.


If we restructure and reorganize the ribbon in a way that is clear and concise, we can expose more of Pro's features and make it easier for customers to find the tools they need.


  • Increase the discoverability of Pro features.
  • Increase workflow efficiency for customers.
  • Leverage quantitative data to up level the most valuable tools.
  • Don’t upset current Nitro customers.


From a business perspective, Nitro marketed themselves as the PDF cousin of the Microsoft Office Suite. Because of this selling point, the notable ribbon structure of the Microsoft product line had to remain in-tack. 


Research and Design

Research was performed in three stages: generative, informed, and evaluative. At each stage we spoke with users, totaling 48 potential and existing users at the conclusion of our project.  



User research began with an open card sorting exercise with 6 participants. We strategically chose an open card sort (as opposed to a closed card sort) because we wanted to understand what participants would name their categorizes and why. This ultimately gave us a better understanding of their mental model and organizational choices. 



Armed with our insights from these sessions, we rapidly prototyped and tested various categorizations on (e.g. potential new Pro users) to examine our learnings and assumptions. At this stage, we ran users through a series of tasks and had them rate the ease by which they accomplished said task. We tested the  new concepts against the current version of Nitro Pro to ensure that the concepts were outperforming. This phase of testing help us figure out how our users navigated the ribbon. 



We ended our research by testing two final concepts with our current Pro users. This was vital to the success of our new ribbon structure because we did not want to accidentally interrupt the workflow of paying customers.


Final Outcome



Brand new first-time-use module with gifs demonstrating each feature.


A new visual brand that mirrored the marketing website.


Launch of the 'Favorite tools' grouping on the home tab.

Video Presentation 

If you'd like, you can hear my presentation of the ribbon redesign! I sprained my ankle climbing the evening prior to the presentation so I was allowed to dial in from home. ☺️ 

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