Transparency Creates Growth @ Expel



Senior Product Designer




Product Design

Transparency is crucial to a great relationship. What happens when you have a lack of transparency? In this case, it leads to a misrepresentation of value. 

Expel was missing a depiction of their value to the customer.

This project will go over how I fixed that, and increased expansion revenue 124%.

The Usage Metrics Dashboard today.


Background: Expel is a cybersecurity startup MDR that tracks its service through usage

Problem: Users had no way to view usage metrics within the platform

Solution: Usage Metrics Dashboard depicting an accurate view of an organization's data usage

Result: The dashboard increased expansion revenue 124% and the team began exploring more avenues for growth as a formal Growth team

What's Metering? 

The concept was so vague, but it was my job to make sense of it. So before I could start the project, I dove into the subject matter: I read everything I could find, looked up the company's history on the subject, I met people throughout the organization, and I asked all the questions(what good designer doesn’t?) to figure out metering. I defined it as the measurement of units being used and the value that is attributed to that number, and the problem was that the lack of transparency did not showcase the value Expel provided for our customers.

Feeling Inspired

Being in the cybersecurity space made it difficult to find things on our competitors due to, well, security. So I had to pivot and find similar concepts from other companies. Because of my extensive research, I was able to make connections to billing, storage, and usage.

Even though they were different industries, I was able to form ideas from their examples and do a competitive analysis. I felt like Tinker Hatfield, getting inspiration from a museum to design a shoe. 

From there I was able to do a competitive analysis from the major inspirations I found. After creating a good base of knowledge, I was ready to work. Or so I thought…


About 3 months into my tenure, I went on leave for this little free loader. So my work was paused. Not really a problem, but worth mentioning because I disconnected for 3 months to enjoy fatherhood.

Before paternity leave, I wrote good documentation to pick up as if I never left. I utilized my initial research to sketch early concept work and used that in user interviews to gather feedback on what should be included in the product.

It’s Not a Phase, Mom

Alright, it is a phase. Multiple phases.

Using the data from the interviews, I was able to compartmentalize how the product should evolve over time. Starting small with a “drawer” that I was able to utilize from the existing design system.

That agile cycle of discover, design, ship, learn, and repeat. I used this iteration to show something tangible in the next round of research and that data fed into the product roadmap and the drawer evolved from there.

Sample of the user research data that fed into the roadmap.

An updated iteration of the drawer.

More Hiccups

Alright this isn't baby related, but let's just call all problems in this story hiccups. After multiple iterative cycles, I started gearing towards the launch of the biggest iteration, I came across a couple of problems: a product focused problem and a service design problem.

Product Problem

The reason that this was the biggest launch was because I was finally ready to iterate on the dashboard, but I almost made the drawer redundant by trying to mutate it into the dashboard.

What I didn't realize was that the drawer was crucial to the user flow and the dashboard should feed into that. Not replace it.

Everything was deconstructed to simplify the dashboard as a high level overview of usage metrics that would feed into the drawer's in-depth view.


Service Design Problem

The other problem was discovered during beta testing. An issue arose that made the dashboard look sales-hungry. So even though the tool solved the original problem, it created potential for a new problem. The customer could view our intentions as negatively sales-driven rather than the transparency we were trying to portray.

Launch was delayed and I worked with the product team, marketing, and revenue org to help prepare the right materials for enablement. Then I conducted behavioral interviews to make sure the training worked.



Everything went smoothly after that.

The Usage Metrics Dashboard continues to provide transparency into how much value Expel is bringing to the customer. Ever since launch, the dashboard has:

- Increased expansion revenue 124%

- Increased the expansion target by 37%

- Supported 15% of ARR

- Increased opportunities to experiment by transforming the Metering team into the Growth team