Sauce Labs
Client: Sauce Labs
Deliverables: Product application MVP
Time: May 2023 - present
Team: Product manager, Tech Lead, 4 engineers
My role: Product Design, Research


Sauce Labs is a software testing company that enables businesses to confidently ship their software. Customers can test their projects using a vast number of desktop and mobile devices, as well as types of tests. The company has made a series of acquisitions in recent years, with one of them focusing on visual testing.*

This kind of solution primarily targets software engineers and QA testers, but can also include less technical users (such as us designers!) as reviewers. The job that these users want to get done is simple:

Whenever a new version of software gets developed, I want to make sure that it does not break the existing UI layout or styles.


The acquisition had trouble getting integrated into the broader Sauce Labs device ecosystem:

These issues caused gradual churn and downgrades over the years, so the business made a decision to invest in rethinking the visual testing solution.

I joined a newly formed team in May 2023 to define and build the new visual testing solution from scratch. Our objective was to find a way to prevent churn and drive an uptick in ARR with visual testing.

Opportunity sizing

The initial hypothesis was based on the existing customer feedback collected during the presales process and through support, and it was clear: many customers reported wanting the acquisition to support testing on mobile devices.

Or so it seemed.

We used internal business dashboards to assess the potential impact of such a proposition. In a broader Sauce ecosystem, the customers who used the acquisition for visual testing comprised only a small percentage of ARR. Upon looking at a broader Sauce Labs customer base and the reasons for not converting into the acquisition in the first place, two things became apparent to us:

  1. We can create more impact if we focus on visual testing for the existing Sauce Labs customer base which predominantly performs website tests. Our assumption here was that approaching customers with a well-integrated visual testing solution would enable for better customer conversions, as it would allow users to run visual and end-to-end tests for a website at the same time and from one place.
  2. While mobile app visual testing was still important, other needs such as web component testing looked like they would be more beneficial to the broader set of customers. We assumed that for a customer base that is predominantly running web tests, the component testing would be more important and close to their projects. We know that mobile native apps would usually be developed by completely different teams, so instead of a simple license upsell to the existing team, there would be additional procurement and security processes to onboard completely new teams to new products (slowing down time to value and impeding conversions).

With that knowledge, we decided that our MVP would be focusing on the web. We would have to de-risk the assumptions that better integration and support for web testing is a good enough value proposition for:


The team met for a project kick-off in June where we discussed the problem space in depth and outlined user stories. We pulled up our well-known Sauce Labs personas and pieced together the knowledge and assumptions around their potential use of Visual testing. This helped everyone to get a shared understanding of the problem space, user needs, and pain points.

User stories

The outcome was a set of user stories, prioritized based on the current knowledge of the business needs, development journeys, and the issues previously identified by the acquisition. During the process, we uncovered many detailed assumptions, risks, and open questions, which I used to craft a research plan for us.

We defined our primary target users as QA Engineers and Software Engineers, with a focus on the following stories:

We decided that secondary and adjacent target users can be prioritized later (these are QA Leads, Engineering Managers, Non-technical Reviewers, License Owners). This is because usually visual testing would be championed by primary target users, so we could reduce our scope by first focusing on their workflow.

Research and validation

After these exercises, I assembled the nuggets from our foundational research and prepared an opportunity tree, which we used as a place to map and prioritize the problems we discovered. This was used in the early days of crafting our MVP, and as the product matured, we moved to a more widely used convention of collecting customer feedback through ProductBoard.

Opportunity tree

With all this knowledge collected, our next step was to ideate on and validate the potential flows and use cases that our MVP should contain. For that, I facilitated a couple of in-person sessions with the team where we ideated on potential solutions using a whiteboard. We also looked closely at a couple of our competitors such as Percy or Aplitools to see how we could differentiate. After that, I would switch to Figma to design user flows using our design system so that we could validate them in user interviews with customers (this is where the research plan came in handy).

We needed feedback on the initial user flows that we imagined, to confirm if they are enough for engineers to use the tool with success. At that time our product lead decided to assemble a dedicated communication channel for a Beta group of users, which helped us immensely to get quality feedback and iterate quickly.

Opportunity tree

You must be wondering by now what the MVP solution looked like.

The MVP was open for Beta at the start of September, and relied on a simple image-based comparison engine to take snapshots. It was run through the CLI, and the end result would be displayed in the UI. The UI allowed for a simple user flow of finding the result, and reviewing it by accepting or rejecting changes. It consisted of:


Toolbar actions

The Beta release helped us to catch many inconsistencies and bugs in the snapshot engine. Our main findings up to this point were:

Another iteration

Because the users were not willing to use the product in full during Beta, we did not collect enough usage data to confirm whether the tool would scale well. The (lack of) such feedback was a push to internally explore scalability behaviors, and along with that, we dove deeper into the component testing.

The resulting change introduced the component testing option for the web and an in-between page that showed Build details. On that page, users could search, filter, and group snapshots as needed. The end result is here - also available as a Figma prototype.

Build details with filters Snapshot review with updated navigation and toolbar


We shipped the product to production in November 2023 with component testing for the web included, which was beyond the planned MVP scope. A couple of things happened:

The acquisition tool is in the process of getting sunsetted, while the new visual testing tool is showing promising results in retaining and expanding our user base. Moving forward, we would look into the topics of managing and reviewing results (this time taking into account the less technical target users), improving the engine to include more details on the changes found, and introducing mobile native testing.

A word on our processes

Our team was distributed across Europe and North America, which meant we had to find a good way to work remotely and exchange ideas fast. I wanted to make sure that we keep the alignment we achieved during our project kick-off, so as our ways of working we adopted:

Ways of working

The team was very dedicated, collaborative, and open for feedback. We were able to achieve a high level of UX maturity in our work. Team members would regularly be included in customer calls, and I could trust the FE engineers to independently make great interaction improvements.


All of this is a bit of a nerdy topic, so here are some terms for better understanding:

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