Revamping & iterating an existing product for a new user audience

High Alpha x Pillar

High Alpha (HA) is a venture capital company that provides product leadership and other needs to start up companies to speed up scalability. HA partners with a company — Usually 3-6 months — providing thought leadership and design around product.

Pillar is a start up focused on improving the interviewing process with unbiased decision making. Mainly based in Indianapolis — CEO on the east coast and other employees all over the United States — with under 50 employees. On this project we worked with the CEO and about 10 other employees on a consistent basis.

The challenge

UX/UI overhaul including rebrand

Our goal for this project was to enhance the Luma product offering as a whole for the new user personas, while working through a rebrand. However, not constraining new ideas or innovations from being suggested or implemented. Our ambitions were to create a more user friendly product with a strong foundation that embraced a rapidly evolving business.

High level goals:

  • 1. Update the platform to better reflect the new brand and user personas
  • Create a platform that is easy to use & understand to encourage engagement
  • 3. Make improvements & innovations to existing ui and ux flows

My role

My Position
Product Designer
Ethan Grove, JP Pritzel, & Pillar team
Figma & Figjam
~ 3 months
On this project I was paired with another senior designer. We worked together on this project splitting responsibilities primarily by flows and or pages. Having regular check-ins and critiques with each other before presenting solutions for further feedback.

Once final designs were critiqued by the CEO, Head of engineering and various other stakeholders — Files were prepared for handoff. During handoff I would be available for questions and possible revisions if needed.

I stopped working on the project after a visual and functional QA was conducted.


Starting with the user personas

Before designing we needed to gain more insights about our new user personas. To learn more about the user personas we paired with our CEO, and occasionally head of customer service, to get a better picture of what each customer segment needed.

Defining what is first to work on

With a fully fleshed out platform there were a lot of options of what to work on first. So we decided to organize the product offerings in a way that would group them together in a logical way. Exposing gaps in the information architecture that needed to be filled or anticipated to be needed soon.

Early insights

Design system needed updating

The design system in place was limited, but core functionality was in place. Also each component needed revamped due to the new brand. Experimenting with more intuitive ui components and flows while mixing in various brand elements to see what worked.

Functionality mostly there, but flows were not

Core functions of recording interviews and leaving basic highlights were available, but flows to bring that information forward to the user afterwards was difficult to say the least. There were also gaps within the Information Architecture that were skipped due to GTM reasons.

Most used vs most important pages

In the current platform users spent most of their time on the interview page watching highlights, but finding specific interviews or highlights was a chore. Not to mention if you wanted to compare candidates or interviews you had to have multiple tabs open. In the platform there were lots of opportunities to replace workarounds currently in place.

Defining most needed tools

The main tools needed were the highlight tools within the zoom integration and the ability to share feedback, but that was only one side of the interview process. The missing piece was the other side of the process which included finding specific highlights or interviews, analyzing results in hindsight to the role and comparing them to other candidates.


What is most important to the new user personas

With there being a new user personas we needed re-evaluate what were the most important actions needed to help the user in their journey. Even though the end goal was essentially the same, make the best hire, the old user persona had a different mindset of what they were trying to accomplish along the way.

Most used vs most important actions

With a new user personas in mind it was important to think through the key actions to get the user to their aha moment. Letting the user naturally find value in the platform to create a helpful and sticky product.

What can a user do  —  vs  —  What can a user see

Early on it was identified that there were three different customer personas that needed to be accounted for — Hiring managers, interviewers and recruiters. Within each of these respective roles there are different goals that each one is trying to achieve. So we worked with the CEO and other stakeholders to identify high level flows for each.

Reframing the problem

After the launch of Luma, it was discovered that the ‘user’ the product was built for was incorrect.

The intended user was assumed to be the hiring manager, since they were in charge of making the final decision. In reality the hiring manager has a handful of other duties and delegates their responsibilities a majority of the time if they have the resources. This resulted in low platform usage and mental perception of the product.

“ might we help interviewers and recruiters provide unbiased opinions to assist hiring managers in making better decisions?”

This begged the question, how might we help the hiring manager’s resources provide unbiased data to help them make a better decision? This resulted in a redesign of current functionality and user flows that were tailored for interviewers and recruiters to provide perspective for the decision maker.

Design Strategy

Updating to the new brand

Updating the style guide and creating new components while also finding the best ways to implement brand voice and tone into the UX copy and UI elements.

Simplifying flows

The software needed to be intuitive, but also simple for the user. Eliminating unnecessary actions so the user could focus on the important tasks at hand.

Designing with empathy

All information on each screen had to be thoughtfully designed to the user persona that would be using it. Thinking through all edge cases that could happen.

The Redesign

Highlighting key moments with ease

Being one of the most important tools, it was essential that gathering feedback during the interview process should be as easy as possible. Utilizing the existing zoom integration that was built we redesigned the user interactions of creating highlights, grading questions and taking notes mid interview.

Providing top candidates front and center

Within the roles page redesign included a candidate list and at the top of the list surfaced the top two candidates based on the scoring system applied during the interviews. This would hopefully eliminate option paralysis for the hiring manager considering they might only want to choose between the top two or three candidates.

Reducing friction on creating & sharing highlights

First implementation of the creating & sharing highlights post interview were possible, but they needed a slight upgrade. Allowing the user to easily grab certain parts of transcription or even just applying simple timestamped feedback while rewatching.

Innovating solutions around existing problems

After the core parts of the platform were redesigned and updated with the new brand we had some time to innovate within the interview decision space. Working with analytics, dashboards and any and all information that we considered useful to making better hires.

The launch

Piece by piece for less disruption

Moving in a rapid iterative process we pushed what we could in the smallest chunks possible. Page by page, Feature by feature or flow by flow depending on the complexity and use of what was being redesigned. Polishing the visual design, as well as improving the functional details as the it was being developed. This process allowed for users to notice updates in an iterative way which decreased chances of being overwhelmed.

The impact

Positive results, but products are never finished

The redesign of the pillar platform had a positive impact on purchasers and the interview experience as a whole. Unfortunately working in an agency-like environment we were not able to stick around long enough to see or compare data after a reasonable amount of time, but here are some of the metric I would have tracked if provided the proper resources and time:

Increase in
Time from first
contact to hire
New hire

Even though data was not able to be collected Pillar’s updates have caused customers to leave amazing reviews about the improvements and the simplification of a very mundane and biased process. Pillar continues to climb in popularity and win more and more tech awards by the day.

👈 back home

case study 4/4 👉