Kickstarter Case Study: Subscription Service Feature


Expand Kickstarter’s current features to allow people to create projects that require recurring payments from backers.


Role: 2- Person Team

UX Design Lead- Daniel Boyce

Assistant UX Design Lead- Hannah Guild


  • Kickstarter overview

  • Our challenge from Kickstarter

  • Project Research

  • Scope of the project

  • Prototype testing

  • Iterations

  • Final prototype

  • Next Steps



Skills Utilized:

  • Teamwork

  • Survey writing & analysis

  • User interviews & testing

  • Competitive analysis 

  • Personas

  • Storyboarding 

  • Task analysis 

  • Paper and digital prototyping 

  • User testing

  • Interactive prototyping 

Kickstarter Overview

  • Allows people to create and support projects through crowd funding
  • Vibrant community of people working together to bring new ideas to life
  • Project creators offer physical reward compensation for donations by backers to the project.
  • Inspired strangers have pledged billions to fund projects from homemade postcards to Oscar winning documentaries.
  • Backers are only charged at the end of a project’s run on Kickstarter if the project is at least 100% funded.

The Challenge

  • Expand the types of projects that can be created on Kickstarter to include ones that require recurring payments.

Project Research

  • Due to the nature of the project, we chose to compare Kickstarter to sites offering subscription services rather than direct Kickstarter competitors

  • Doing so allowed us to focus on the market the Kickstarter was expanding into rather than one with no existing competitors

This diagram displays many services currently offering subscription services on a scale of Company-User Determined and Service-Product Subscription

As It Stands Today

Many Kickstarter projects are already offering "subscription" based rewards...

HOWEVER because Kickstarter currently can't process recurring payments even "subscription" rewards are submitted as a large one-time charge

Many more projects can benefit from a subscription reward option including the two projects above which include rewards that can be used up

Necessary Split Focus

  • We wanted to be sure both backers and creators would be aware of the addition of new subscription based rewards to Kickstarter.

  • Making the new rewards easy to locate and create was paramount in the design of the new feature.

  • We had to ensure that we did not disrupt the current user flow.

  • We used the best practices of other subscription based business to ensure the success of the new feature.

Project Creator:
Problem Statement
A project creator with a great idea needs to build a long lasting community of supporters to maintain a consistent backing past the initial funding period.
Solution Statement
An easy way to create subscription rewards that make sense for the Kickstarter project and maintain a strong consistent backer base.
Project Backer
Problem Statement
A potential project backer needs a way to invest in a project over a prolonged period of time, but expects a consistent return on their investment.
Solution Statement
Kickstarter subscription rewards that give backers a way to receive rewards multiple times and continue supporting Kickstarter campaigns for a longer period of time.

Sketching & Ideation:

Project Creator: Paper Prototype
Project Backer: Paper Prototype

User Testing:

Through user testing we learned:
  • Users need to be able to visually distinguish between regular and subscription rewards without the use of the filter
  • Users wanted to know the total value of the subscription rewards
  • Creators wanted a secondary navigation to separate out the creation of rugular and subscription rewards

Digital Prototype: Major Changes

  • Make the frequency scannable and easy to read

  • Add the total amount to the reward box to create transparency

  • Make the subscription reward color look different than the one-time rewards 

  • Create a 2nd tier navigation to separate out one-time rewards from subscription rewards

  • Rebuild the project creator screen to be more mobile friendly

  • Rebuild the subscription form to contain more accurate verbiage

Interactive Prototype: