B2B SecurE Work Platform

Project Background:

The project was named Horizon. It was VMWare's first foray into the business to consumer market. The platform was a cloud-based and on-premise collection of products and services designed to help information technology administrators deliver desktops, applications, and secure data on a variety of endpoint devices. It provides end users access to all of their virtual desktops, applications, and online services through a single digital workspace.

Project Challenge:

How did we design a consistent, coherent platform that was easy to understand for the end-user and powerful enough for it to be useful to an IT admin?

Project Goals:
  • ​​Useful​

  • Easy to use

  • Easy to learn and understand

Role & Team:​​
  • Lead UX Designer: Myself

  • UX Engineer: 1

  • Engineers: 40

  • Product Managers: 8

The Beginning

When I started the project, my boss at the time was a visual designer and had started designing screens, with no research to back anything up. We worked in a very fast agile environment, but I knew we needed to take a step back and learn who we were designing for.


I was lucky. System admins were one of the primary audience targets and VMWare had tons of them around campus. I sent out messages on our internal social network to meet with coworkers across the company. From these interviews, I created a survey to back up my qualitative data and sent it out to a large group.


While getting admins to talk to was fairly easy, getting end-users to talk to proved really difficult. I sent the word out to various teams asking for help in this area. I found a Business Analyst doing research on the same target audience and was able to share his work.


From these interviews and surveys, I was able to create personas. We had 4 admin personas and 2 end-user personas. I created a summary poster of these personas and printed them out to hand up around our work area. I also created cards that people could keep at their desk of the various personas.

In order to keep the content relative and fresh, I kept wiki pages for each persona. At any time, someone could go to the wiki and see the latest information about that persona.


I was dealing with a very complicated product. It delt with storage, remote applications, remote desktops, a myriad of permissions for various devices and roles. How do I communicate all that to someone who is not very technically savvy? I did a lot of research on related products and how they messaged themselves. I had to look at both the end-user and the admin user for all of the platform options. When I started this project, the Product Managers said this was the first product of its kind. After doing thorough research, I had to burst their bubble and let them know that wasn't true.


Over the course of the project, up until shipping, I probably created over 500 wireframes. There were so many states and views and modes that I had to show for different use cases.


I used Tomer Sharon's rainbow spreadsheet analysis to organize tasks and scenarios.

For the wireframes, I started out using Balsamiq since that what the PMs used. However, I quickly switched to UXPin for ease of use and the ability to quickly prototype and test. An online tool allowed me to always have an up to date link available on the wiki for anyone to view at any time. At the time, I put all of the wireframes in one project. I learned the hard way that this was a mistake as the project became very unwieldy. I wanted just one link, but I should have broke it into sections. 

Usability Testing

Working in 2-week sprints and supporting 40 developers means I had very little time to do anything besides work and breathe. However,  I put together a regular cadence of usability testing in order to validate as much of my designs as I could. 

Visual Design

The visual design obviously needed to be familiar as VMWare, but the team wanted a fresh and clean look instead of a corporate enterprise look. I upped the saturation and used some of the patterns in the logo to freshen up the branding.


San Francisco, CA

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