Canva's delightful upgrade flow

By Ramy Khuffash

Canva is a graphic design tool that's popular with designers & non-designers who want a quick way to create logos, social media images, and more.

While exploring their user flows, I was expecting a great onboarding experience, but I wasn't expecting to be impressed by the account upgrade flow.

With other SaaS sites, I generally see plenty of selling and encouragement right up until the upgrade is done, then I'm dumped back on a billing page or the dashboard ready to continue as normal.

With Canva, the upgrade itself was just the start of the flow.

What followed was essentially a new onboarding flow that led me through all of the features that were just unlocked by the upgrade.

It's a clever way for Canva to demonstrate the value of the upgrade and is likely to increase trial to paid conversions and reduce churn.

Let's take a look at how it went down:

The upgrade

A GIF of upgrading an account on Canva

We're off to a great start:

  • The modal clearly explains what we get if we upgrade
  • The payment modal explains clearly how the trial will work and how easy it is to cancel
  • Testimonials next to the payment modal from popular brands add social proof and put us at ease

New features

This image shows the new features we get after we upgraded our Canva account

Now that our account has been upgraded, we're reminded of the new features we've unlocked and we're prompted to start a tour of said new features.

What followed was a guide through the process of creating our brand kit with tooltips.

Collect the stars

Collecting stars on Canva

Here's where the fun starts. We're challenged with "collecting the start."

I enjoyed this much more than regular tooltip based guides because I felt it allowed me to explore more freely while finding the new features. The stars weren't super easy to find which gave me the chance to look around the UI.

The progress bar of stars is also quite motivating. It's a great way to make sure I was at least somewhat aware of the important features.

Once I collected all the stars, the upgrade process was over.

It could be argued that the star finding is a simple box ticking exercise that people will complete for the sake of getting rid of the prompt, but I'm going to assume that most will get something out of the process.

Overall, what impressed me most was that the experience after the upgrade was considered with as much importance as the flow new users experience.

This is something I imagine many teams would benefit from implementing in some form.

If you want to see the full, annotated recording of this user flow and hundreds more, you should sign up to Page Flows.