Domains Redux

Design Lead UX/UI Design html SASS/SCSS Tailwind CSS React Vue JS jQuery Perl MySQL


As the dedicated designer for the domains product group, I was tasked with owning and leading the design for all domains-related project initiatives. It was our aim to help revitalize a flagging domain business in hopes of transforming the product from a mere afterthought and commodity into a mainstay top performer capable of delivering results on a regular basis.

Project Goals

  • Build a first-class search tool to provide fast and accurate search results while also passing availability verification checks
  • Design new opportunities for accommodating domain partner agreements
  • Build a scalable solution for handling domains-related interactions across all product interfaces
  • Shore up end-to-end experience for the domains customer journey with quality-of-life improvements across existing applications

Key Highlights

I. Search and Suggestions Tool

As the first and primary interaction point for the domains business and also many other products as well, rebuilding our dated search and suggestions tool was the team's first priority.

The goal was to provide fast and accurate results along with a variety of alternative suggestions to give users a number of registration options. This required integrating three separate APIs — two for suggestions and one for availability verification — and then finding the right balance between accuracy and search speed for the user experience.

II. The Partners We Made Along the Way

Turns out there were a whole lot of companies out there with Top-Level Domain (TLD) portfolios looking for help to get their TLDs on the map. So being a decently well-known domain registrar with a user-friendly value proposition (and a newly cleaned up and refined domain search experience), it made sense to kick off a few partnerships and get some TLD placement agreements in place. For me this meant designing and building public-facing content on marketing side and also developing a ranking and categorization system within our search tool allowing us finer control over how results are displayed and in what order.

III. Proven and Time-Tested Product Design

Despite the fact the domains product team has consisted of only a few team members and has rarely been prioritized as a product of focus, it has managed to thrive and grow thanks to its scalable development and design architectures. The core search and suggestions product was first implemented six years ago. Since that time, minor tweaks and adjustments have changed it but slightly, and only minimal upkeep has been required.

Furthermore, the designed modularity of the APIs, search behavior, and product experience have been forked and re-implemented across numerous new applications and contexts, allowing new applications to launch with little to no blockers, and resulting in a tremendous amount of new revenue thanks in part to an easy-to-implement domains product.

Domains Product Applications

Front Website Search

Pricing Lookup Tool

Standalone Signup App

Multi-Domain Registration

Domain Transfer Flow

Project Summary

The domains business for DreamHost has grown to account for roughly 15% of total annual revenue, which is comprised mostly of 12-15 recurring domain partner agreements and payments from domain renewals – so not only are users registering domains at discounted prices, but renewing at the standard price. Since working on the project the performance of domains has steadily increased and easily met its targets YOY, and for the next year we're shooting for a goal of registering over 1 million domains in a single year.