Podio app view

Optimising Podio's core for new and casual users

In-house design for Citrix Podio
Adoption Team, Podio
Concept development, UI design, user testing, css
Successful release with positive reception
Less support tickets on use of views and reports

About the project

The app view is a core part of Podio, accessed everyday by people to get their work done – from managing bakeries to software companies. Over the years, its development had introduced a range of usability issues, resulting in a steep learning curve for new users. Our challenge was to improve this without breaking the many workflows of existing users.

Based on user interviews, talks with our support team and a heuristic evaluation, we identified four core issues:

Navigation first

Some of the main navigation issues:

  1. The essential views were hard to discover, hidden behind a subtle dropdown. The unsaved state was ambiguous.
  2. Views were listed alphabetically, meaning essential views could very well have been at the bottom of the list.
  3. The 'save' button was always active, even when there was nothing to save. The 'actions' menu was a mixed bag: current view controls, full screen option and report creation.

Based on three iterations of designing and testing, some of the improvements included:

  1. The unsaved state is now clearly indicated and actionable.
  2. The views are prominent and one click away. In tests, new users found the relevant content more quickly.
  3. Borrowing from our reporting feature, we introduced breakdowns to views (e.g. by category). This lets users quickly create views that are versatile and informative, without the more advanced controls that come with reporting.
  4. View controls are now accessed through the view itself. The option to re-order lets experienced users move important views up, which in turn helps new users get started.

Reporting with intention

Support tickets showed that users were struggling to create reports. We identified a number of issues:

  1. The UI was unnecessarily fragmented.
  2. The controls for breaking down the data (for example by person) were relying solely on ambiguous icons.
  3. Copy was too technical, using words like "function" and "operator".
  4. Among a packed interface, the save button was an understated link button.

Through a series of experiments, we arrived at a flow that was much closer to our average user's mental model:

  1. All controls in one place.
  2. Instead of presenting the controls as isolated choices, we turned them into a human-readable sentence that literally states what the report will do.
  3. A small but important detail: no test participants needed to look around anymore to figure out how to proceed.


Overall, the redesign was well-received. Some people preferred the new focus on views, others missed the reports that we deprioritised (now behind a button), but we had made sure no workflows were broken by our changes.

Most telling was what we didn't hear about: the new UI structure and flows were smoothly adopted by existing users from day one. At the same time, we had achieved our main goal: a shorter learning curve for new users (fewer support tickets) and a more coherent UI geared towards the needs of casual users.

Tutorial video of the new app view: