Patreon Shop & Tip Features

Allowing Creators and Patrons to connect not only via monthly donations, but also through creator stores and one time donations.

Role: Product Designer

Company: Patreon

Industry: Tech SaaS

Explore the Prototype

Content creators and their followers are limited to membership donations on the Patreon site.

How might we: Create shop & single time donation features that deepen the community building focus of Patreon and allow for multiple forms of payment?


24 Participants revealed their donation habits and their interest in direct sales from creators. Users wanted benefits for their donations & largely were drawn to a donation platform by the creators they follow.

Clearly Kickstarter was a primary platform for content creator donors. This reflected the majority of users surveyed donating for the benefits attached to their donation.

Users want something tangible for their donation. They want either a product or a thank you, or both. This indicates any payment feature should have some type of positive feedback built in.

Donors are largely drawn by the creators they follow. They largely complete donations for the perks

Using survey outcomes, I interviewed users about their content creator donation habits. Below are the takeaways:

Users donate when they have a long term connection to the creator

“I’ve been listening to this podcast for years, that’s what pushed me to finally donate.”

Users donate for charity

“I donate becuase he gives everything away and records himself doing it.”

Users donate when they want a more personal connection with the creator

“I wanted to be able to be more connected to her, have more give and take you know?”

A huge amount of money flows through applications for single time payments, far more than the revenue Patreon sees.

If Patreon can work in single time payments, they would likely gain access to at least a part of those one time payments, increasing their revenue. The same logic extends to such sites as Etsy and the shop feature.

$1.7 Billion




$450 Million


In light of the size and continued growth of ecommerce and single time payment platforms, Patreon stands to gain heavily if they are able to expand their suite of features to include one time donations and a store manager for its creators.


After watching users move through the Patreon application and discussing their donation and shopping habits, I created flows for the proposed features.

Donor User Flow

Creator User Flow

Intitial Sketches: The primary page for most donors is the creator profile page. It is also the entry point for most of their payment interactions. With the location set, I set to bringing the flows inspired by Etsy and Buy me a coffee onto Patreon’s pages.


To prepare for testing these features, I created mid-fidelity frames in Figma. For design inspiration, I deep dived into Etsy’s store design and checkout flow. I then tested these pages with three participants.

  • Tab slider looks out of place

  • User correctly found their way to the checkout flow

  • Even without item titles, users clicked on the cards to learn more

  • No confusion about selecting item options

  • Users were interested in exploring the page and learning more about the product - even without pictures of it!

  • Users confused about option of “send tip” vs. “add to cart”

  • Users understood how to fill out the donation card correctly

  • Users lost track of their items because they were below the order details

  • Users understood how to complete the transaction without confusion or friction


UI Kit: Based on the outcomes of testing the mid-fidelity mockups, I moved onto creating layouts. I used the Patreon design system to inform color, spacing, and interaction responses

The final frames focus on user reward and options.

Buying an item

  • Tab slider now in keeping with the rest of Patreon

  • Item titles more spaced out to increase readability

  • Payment method, shipping details, and billing address moved to card to allow for items to be shown at top of page

Tip Menus

    Managing Merch


      Products must find a balance between discovering a niche and breaking into existing markets.

      • Competitor products are often a source of useful, in demand features: Etsy and buy me a coffee acted as major inspiration in undertanding how to expand Patreon’s suite of features

      • Often small tweaks to an interaction can significantly increase how intuitive they are to users: The tip feature was greatly improved by simply changing the microcopy and button treatment.

      • There are often many sets of users interacting with any product: In my user research I talked to users that looked for different things from their creators, some more focused on perks and others on connection with the creator.

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