UX Principle @ Slalom Consulting
Client: Visa, Inc.


Using the iPad to quickly create digital sketches and facilitate ideation sessions.



As my team wrapped up the design for Release 1 of the new intranet for Visa, I engaged with the business stakeholders to explore features and requirements for Release 2. The primary goal of Release 1 was to increase Employee Engagement, whereas Release 2 focused on the business goals of Employee Productivity and Employee Recognition. In order to lock the scope we needed to better understand the requirements as well as the effort required for designing and building each feature. In the past, Visa’s business teams would create high-level text-based requirements documents for the purpose of budgeting and scoping. These documents lacked visuals, context and clarity and were difficult to decode. This process typically takes Visa close to a month or more of back and forth meetings – my goal was to complete the process in one week.


Collaborative ideation sessions
I facilitated a series of ideation sessions to kickstart the requirements and scoping phase. In order to maintain a high level of collaboration and transparency between the business and technical teams, I invited both teams to work together in the same room and used informal sketches created on my iPad to quickly align teams on ideas and concepts.

Ideation session meeting agenda sketched using iPad and projected during meetings

Seven features were under consideration for Release 2. I ranked each of the seven features by difficulty level to design and implement, based on my experience in this area. The goal was to set up a framework to reflect the level of effort that would be required to implement each feature.

Using this as our starting point, we continued to refine and hone the scope as we discussed each feature in more detail. Working together in the same physical space allowed us to work efficiently, and we were able to provide more accurate estimates including the time and resources needed to build each feature in the next release.

Release 2 goals and features listed with high level effort estimates.

Feature #1: Notification center
The first feature that I addressed was the notification center feature for Visa employees. We knew from user research that employees struggled with the large amount of email communications used at Visa. We found that email was appropriate for peer-to-peer communication, however certain communications such as training notifications and company alerts were frequently lost in employee inboxes. Visa's Corporate Communication Stakeholders were also looking for ways to reduce the dependency on e-mail and position the intranet as a more useful and productive tool, as well as the primary communication channel for its employees.

Key questions explored during ideation sessions of the Notification Center feature.


Digital storyboarding
After exploring answers to questions asked during the ideation sessions, I quickly sketched, then and shared functionality and interface ideas to help the teams estimate the effort required to build the feature and define the scope for the next release.


Team alignment and accurate estimates
Within one week, I brought both business and technical stakeholders together to make decisions on each of the proposed features. By the end of the week we were able to quickly:

  1. Understand and align on the business and user needs.

  2. Explore high level solution and interface ideas.

  3. Get enough details to provide accurate estimates for scoping.

  4. Prioritize features and define the scope of the next release.