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Employee Engagement Product Design

Client: Sparck | Via:


Product Design • UX • UI • Research • SaaS


Employee Engagement Platform • HR Tech • B2B


Design Consultant, Contract

The Brief

A web platform to facilitate employee appreciation.

Sparck, a Sacramento-based startup, is developing a web platform to allow managers connect with and show appreciation for their employees so they feel valued in a personal way.

Sparck compiles data from an in-house questionnaire and an engagement survey created by an organizational psychologist. The questionnaire helps employers customize how employees are recognized and rewarded. This information is collected and stored in Sparck’s web platform, where managers can keep track of performance and receive alerts.

The Problem

Design was the missing piece.

The team at Sparck came to me to help them develop the UI for the second  version of their MVP.

One of the biggest roadblocks in developing the Sparck platform was getting the design right. When the CEO,  Anna Straus showed an early iteration to an expert, the feedback wasn’t stellar. He said, ‘Anna, you are all about human connection and there’s nothing human about this technology’. The Sparck team scrapped the initial build, then aimed to redesign, and rebuild the whole platform. They gave me a call and we discussed their needs from a product design standpoint. They engaged me as the product design lead, to help navigate the project through the design process and establish a design direction for the company to reference moving forward.

Working closely with the CTO to understand as many aspects of the functionality as possible, my directive was to establish an overall visual design that would connect every aspect of the app consistently.


The client’s original design iterations were partially based on embedded Typeform modules. They were definitely rough, but mainly, they didn’t showcase the idea behind the product effectively.


Competitive Analysis.

Sparck was building a pretty unique product, so there weren’t any direct competitors to look to evaluate, so I decided to look at other products in the employee engagement space.

As this product was aimed at encouraging use multiple times a week, if not daily, the interface needed to be inviting, clear and easy to navigate.

I wanted to gather insight on what other products were doing with their designs to reinforce engaging users, creating an inviting platform and facilitating a usable interface for daily use. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Color is an integral aspect of these types of sites, tending to lean toward colorful and expressive. Softer colors to keep the UI inviting, brighter colors to draw attention. 
  2. Open space for areas of the app that require heavy data entry
  3. Graphic elements and images are used heavily to guide emotions and lend cues to users to help them select the reponses that best communicate their feedback. 

Designing the Product.

The requirements of the product had changed only slightly from the original MVP. We started with updating the wireframes, looking at where the userflows could be improved compared to the original MVP.

We started discussing the initial elements we would focus on to establish a design direction that the development team would use to extend to the rest of the product. After work for the first section we wanted to address was mostly complete, the Sparck team wanted to keep the momentum and the scope of the project quickly expanded to a full product design effort.

Over the course of the project, I designed about 80 screens across 13 sections of the product.


Opening the door to funding.

Many of the decisions made for this platform were been based on the insights gathered through feedback and user testing with functional prototypes the development team built out as designs were delivered. Given more time and resources, the next step would have been testing assumptions and validating the user experience choices that we made throughout the project.

I worked on the design and UX for Spark over the course of 6 months. It took nine months overall to complete rebuild. Three beta clients are testing out the platform. v1 of the full platform is expected to be ready in early 2020. With a much more prime time ready design, Sparck started gaining traction. After unveiling the updated design & build, Sparck was able to raise seed capital through venture capitalists and an angel investor, and the startup is currently looking to raise an additional $500,000 while receiving significant recognition for their innovative platform.