Paper Prototyping Redesigned

In 2010 I got promoted to the role of Head of Design at Grupa Nokaut. I felt a great sense of pride and commitment to the company. And yet, being as young as I were at that time, I had the endless energy to work long hours. I challenged myself to do more and more. I engaged in design work for a series of early–stage startups. Not a single one ended up successful. In the summer of 2010, I've decided to reflect on the failures of all the projects and engage in a fun little project that answered the problem that I felt myself. Little did I know that this small side project will affect the next 10 years of my life and without planning to do so, I'll start one of the most prominent startups in the history of the tech industry in Poland.

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Grupa Nokaut was a highly engineering–driven organization. After successful experiments, the value of design was understood and appreciated, but collaboration remained to be a problem. Design and engineering existed in two silos, and it caused many inefficiencies in the product development process.

To overcome this challenge in 2010, I've started to organize paper prototyping workshops. I invited the entire engineering team, and together with members of my team, we would present results of most recent research and hold an open discussion about their outcome.

After reviewing the results of the research, the entire group was being divided into small interdisciplinary teams and asked to sketch a solution to problems uncovered by the research.

The first iteration of this workshop was only somewhat successful. The team was engaged, but many people struggled with sketching and felt concerned about their ability to express themselves visually.

On a subsequent edition of the workshop instead of blank pieces of paper and pencils team received sticky notes with printed, essential components from our style guide. Instead of sketching the solution, the team was asked to design the interface with sticky notes.

This playful approach turned out to be successful.

Soon after, together with two friends, I decided to turn this positive experience into a product. The problem felt real, and it seemed that we might have a solution. Without any hopes to turn it into a big business we've designed and produced the very first UXPin product – UXPin Paper Prototyping notepad for web design.

UXPin Paper Prototyping Notepad
The very first picture of the UXPin Paper Prototyping Notepad


To kick off the process, together with my co–founders, we've started to work on defining a small set of user interface elements (today, we would say–atoms) that were sufficient and universal enough to build any website. For hours we would cut out elements from sticky notes and try to recreate popular websites–eBay, Facebook, MySpace, among others.

Once we had a set that worked for us, we've started to run tests with our designers-friends. After dozens of iterations, we finally felt that we had a design that works for a majority of cases. Excited, we've started to look for a manufacturer (printing house). We quickly learned that producing sticky notes in different shapes and a sufficiently strong glue was quite a challenge. After 2 months of intense negotiations, we found a printing house able to produce the first series of UXPin notepads–400 pieces.

UXPin Paper Prototyping Notepad
UXPin was always all about the quality. We checked every single notepad, making sure that everything is just right.


In early November the printing house completed our order of 400 UXPin Notepads–in theory, we were ready to launch. In practice things have been more complicated. We had to find time to build the UXPin website and store.

To motivate ourselves, we set a fixed launch deadline – November 11th 2010. November 11th is simultaneously celebrated as the World Usability Day and Poland Independence Day (public holiday). Seemed like a great day to launch UXPin!

Unfortunately, we were busy with other commitments until the very launch day, and we didn't manage to finish nearly anything.

Instead of rescheduling the launch we've worked for 24 hours non-stop. The entire website was designed and build in one day. We had to accept some significant compromises (e.g., WordPress served us as the eCommerce platform). A price worth paying for keeping our word and delivering UXPin on time!

In the late evening of November 11th we were ready to launch. The first order came a couple of minutes after the launch. We were completely sold out within 48 hours.

UXPin adventure has started!

UXPin Paper Prototyping Notepad
The first batch of UXPin notepads sold out in 48 hours.


  • UXPin quickly became extremely popular. Just in the first month we've started to serve IBM, Apple, Google, MySpace, Sony and other great companies all over the world.
  • This very simple notepad, within 12 months, led us to starting a real company, which attracted multiple awards, VC funding (first Polish company that raised capital in Silicon Valley) and today serves tens of thousands companies all over the world.
Great design requires superb discipline. Only with discipline a designer can achieve her goals.

Lessons Learned

  1. Problem based product development can lead to amazing success.
  2. Discipline is necessary in any design and product work.
  3. One decision can lead to years of unexpected consequences.


  • Axure (prototyping)
  • Photoshop (visual design)
  • Google Analytics

More Projects?

Ready for more of stories? Choose the next project below.

Conversion Optimization

In 2009 I was trusted with the optimization of critical elements of the Nokaut.pl product page. Together with the engineering team, we've worked out a series of hypotheses based on factors affecting human attention (contrast, color, movement, pattern...) and we've performed a series of multivariable split tests. The result? 24% increase in the conversion rate.

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Homepage for 2.5M People

In 2011 I led the process of the redesign of Nokaut.pl Homepage. At that time, Nokaut.pl was attracting 2.5 million users a month and the owner of Nokaut.pl – Grupa Nokaut was preparing their IPO. An intense project!


Mobile App for 3 Platforms

Web products of Grupa Nokaut had been dominant (2.5 million unique visitors per month in 2011), but the company didn't have much success on the mobile market. Our mobile offering, at the time, was limited to a dated mobile version of the core service built for old cell phones. This service was highly popular couple of years earlier, but with the growing popularity of smart phones users expected "richer" experiences.

In 2010 Grupa Nokaut asked me to lead the process of designing and building a mobile app for 3 platforms: iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.

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eCommerce Video Portal

I worked in the Grupa Nokaut R&D Group for over two years. We were tasked with coming up with new product ideas that addressed the most critical strategic problems of the business. One of the projects that we realized in 2011 was Nokaut.tv – an eCommerce Video Portal that quickly attracted over 100,000 viewers. I had the pleasure to lead design and product development process.

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The New Design Editor

In 2015 UXPin was an established design tool serving over two thousand companies. We've just raised our Series A (led by True Ventures and Jeff Veen – former VP of Design at Adobe).

We knew that this is not enough. We knew that we have to do even more to realize our mission and help the design tools industry move forward. Soon, we've started a design process that changed the entire industry.


The Open Source Adventure

Since 2012 I'm operating as a full–time CEO of a growing startup – UXPin (over 50 employees, profitable). Despite that, I've never stopped being a designer, coder, and a product person. To relax and contribute to UXPin and the overall design and engineering community, I tend to take on side projects.

In 2017, after talking to a bunch of friends working on design systems, I decided to devote my weekends to the creation of an open source repository of analyzed design systems.

For two subsequent weekends in January 2018, I designed and coded (React.js and Node.js) the repository. The popularity of this project exceeded my most optimistic expectations.

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Designing for yourself is tough

I've spent way over a decade designing all sorts of products, but hardly ever – brand identities. Nevertheless, I have a deep affection for the very special connection between art and storytelling always present in great brand design.

When I decided to build my personal website, I knew that this is a great opportunity to define my brand – my story, aesthetics and message with a holistic design process.

I quickly became my own most demanding client and yet... I thoroughly enjoyed the process of designing Treder Design brand.

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