Thumbtack | Payments


Platform(s):  Responsive Web with native mobile support 

Where:,  App Store, Google Play

Tools: Sketch, Invision, Zeplin


Thumbtack is a marketplace and platform for helping professionals and customers in need to get things done. A goal since the earliest parts of the company’s near decade long history has been payment — a system for customers to pay pros as well as resulting infrastructure and associated features.

I was lucky that when I joined one of my first major projects was to lead product design for Thumbtack’s first ever payment experience. Starting from scratch, I designed an entire peer to peer payments system with features and contexts across our product for various use cases for customers and pros.



Chris Grant - Product Design, User Research

Alex Walker - Customer Experience PM

Chaitanya Laxminarayan - Marketplace integrity PM

Lingduo Kong, Ford Filer -  Front-end

Tejal Chakeres, Wenbiao Peng - backend 

Vic Liu - engineering lead

Steven Siger - legal counsel

Nick Krieger - content strategy

Sally Cho, Rebecca Hu - category management

Sohan Kota - analytics



Just before I joined Thumbtack, the company was in a new place, where having grown and developed a more mature product team, we were positioning ourselves to develop a more mature product. In doing so, a variety of initiatives were taking route, many of which impact our core business, user experiences, and system logic. One such initiative, which had been on the thoughts of leadership from the very early days of the company, was payments. Payments on Thumbtack offers the potential for driving adoption and retention between pros and customers, improving the project experience, mitigating fraud, market liquidity, varied revenue models, and improved signaling of project completion.  After some initial market research on existing habits and mindsets amongst customers and professionals around payments and the creation of a dedicated engineering team for this project, I was brought on as the first designer for Thumbtack Payments. Designing for this initiative required close collaboration between myself and our cross-functional team, coordination between this project and overlapping initiatives, as well as being mindful of trust, security, customer needs, professional mindsets, category specific patterns, identity, legal requirements, and systems level requirements, such as requisites from Stripe.      



Prior Research


Before I had joined, the team conducted research that was limited to market assessments and interviews to understand payment methods, tracking, issues, and concerns while also focusing on customers and pros in single, non-recurring, payment categories on our platform, such as tv mounting, massage therapy, and portrait photography. These findings provided early insights for the product team into some pain points for customers and pros, as well as base requirements of a payment feature. For customers, the idea of having an additional option of payment methods (whether cash, check, or online payments) was appealing so long as at the core of the experience was trust, ease of use, and security. For pros, there was a heavy preference towards cash or check payments, but a willingness to use cards and electronic payments if need be, as well as concerns of fees (particularly vs. Paypal/Venmo), security, and timeliness of payout.

This research formed the basis of the mvp decisions and areas that I would later explore through design and further research, which included:

  • Messaging of fees
  • Messaging of how Thumbtack Payments works
  • Trustworthiness
  • Payout accounts and payout dates
  • Identity & fraud prevention
  • Job dates
  • Ease of use



Evolution (Process + Iterative Design)


As a newcomer to both the project and company, I had to absorb a lot of context to understand the directions and decisions made by the early team, the problems we were aiming to solve, systems level logic being proposed, and how payments could work in concert with other initiatives on like our messenger, scheduling, reviews, and project completion experiences.     


Pro-initiated Payments Experience (mvp)

Early Decisions

User Research & Testing