Investigating organizational recognition for Habanero Consulting Group's GO Intranet product.
Interaction Designer
QA Analyst
and me!
1 Month
Figma, Miro, LookBack
The low-down

Habanero Consulting Group is a digital workplace consultancy that helps humanize the world of work through the creation of modern workplaces and the cultural, communication, collaboration, and content experiences that power them. Their main product offering, GO Intranet, helps organizations to create amazing Office 365 and Microsoft SharePoint intranet experiences.

My contributions

During my term, I worked with designers, content specialists, employee experience specialists, and developers, leading the work on...
impactful web-page layouts for high-profile clients
a new product's onboarding, home page, and a new key feature end-to-end
cross-functional presentations, marketing materials, and illustrations for their library
and a public-facing research article I co-wrote based on some workshopping work I co-facilitated, which I'll be talking about right now!

Unfortunately, my design work from this internship is protected under an NDA. To learn more, say hello!
Joining the GO Product team

In my 3rd month, the GO product team was looking to build a workplace recognition product feature to bolster their intranet offering. It was the most-requested addition to their product, and they were looking for someone to help gather qualitative and quantitative data around the effects of organizational recognition to inform the design of this new feature.

setting the table

Looking over our research, we made a plan for things that we needed to address.

the most-used tool to find food places was a smartphone, so a mobile application would be the best platform for our product

we needed to prioritize convenience and familiarity - two key words that came up a lot in our interviews

we had to look for a way to simplify the choices would also help to address choice paralysis

the intrinsic fun in trying new food places and exploring your current location should be weaved into our product

finding a way to both expedite and simplify the food-with-friends planning process would increase the use cases and marketability of our product

Drafting our blueprint

Wanting to hear directly from workers, I collaborated with an interaction designer to draft a workshop plan. Using prioritization exercises and journey maps to uncover deeper insights into workplace recognition from our participants, we aimed to gather data around...

motivators for giving/receiving recognition
how recognition can be more meaningful in the workplace
and what people were thinking at each stage of giving/receiving/seeing recognition in their workplace.

🗺️ Why journey maps?

Recognition is made up of 3 critical points: the instigating moment, the actual giving of recognition, and a post-recognition period of reflection. Journey maps capture insightful data at each stage.

⚖️ Why prioritization exercises?

They helped us uncover the most/least common motivators behind giving, receiving, and seeing recognition among our participants. This helped the product team prioritize certain aspects of the feature.

Writing the script

To gather additional qualitative and quantitative data, we created 4 initial questions to ask participants prior to the workshop activities.

Do you give out praise / recognition? Why (not)?

What type of recognition do you give?

When you do give recognition, who are you usually praising?

What is an example of meaningful recognition to you?

Budgeting time

Because we only had an hour with each participant, we created a general workshop plan complete with timers to make sure we correctly budgeted our time in each session.

Recruiting personnel

To expedite our process, we recruited both external and internal personnel for our study. To avoid internal bias, I suggested we have more external participants. Finally, I also wanted to ensure a wide range of experiences were captured, so I suggested we try to recruit people at different stages in their careers.

Getting to work

With an interaction designer and QA Analyst, we conducted 10 workshops over the span of 2 weeks. I provided note-taking support, functional support, and led the final 3 workshops.

After our first external workshop, we noticed that people were heavily influenced by their organization's culture around giving recognition. We adjusted our first 2 questions for external participants to glean insights around this point.

co-chefs in the kitchen

I crafted all the design work from sketches to the final product. I was also responsible for all the HTML, CSS, and implementing Hammer.js into our project.

My partner was a strong developer, and she was responsible for all of the complex API JavaScript work that made up the core function of our product. Without her, the product certainly would be a lot rougher than it turned out.

the secret spices

We started to source APIs that would help us achieve the features we needed. My partner was instrumental in figuring out how we could meld together multiple APIs to achieve our vision.

Mapbox →
Mapbox gives us an interactive, styleable map to use as the base of our application.

TravelTime →
TravelTime provides isochrones that filter out unreachable locations (customizable by transportation method).

MapQuest →
MapQuest gives us a location database, and codifies them by their type (e.g. cafe, restaurant, etc.).

Hammer.js →
Hammer.js allows us to incorporate common touch and swipe gestures into our app.

Digesting our data

As time was running out, we had to start synthesizing data with a QA analyst while we were still conducting workshops. It took a lot of teamwork to delegate tasks effectively to meet our tight deadline!

I collaborated with both members of the team to generate insights around giving/receiving/seeing recognition from our gathered qualitative and quantitative data.

Insights gleaned

I condensed our data into a quick handout for members of the GO Product team, summarizing our findings from our workshops. This would help prime the team for our more detailed presentation later in the week, and would add transparency around our process and findings.

Pointed & effective findings

Delving deeper into our research results, we presented our findings to the GO product team. Being a team with such tight timelines, this presentation expedited the creative foundation. of the recognition tool by surfacing important considerations while building their recognition product feature.

Putting pen to paper

Being the type to push my contributions further, I collaborated with a content specialist on a public-facing insights article that detailed our findings from our workshops. The article required a lot of thinking around the best way to frame our findings, and further establishes Habanero as a thought-leader in the employee experience sphere. It's available to read here!


facing the heat

When we were coding the project, we found that we had to cull back or adjust some features to make sure we met our project deadline.

A strong, research-based foundation

Though I got moved to support another initiative before any design work happened, I learned a lot from this project. I gained so much wonderful experience from this project in workshop facilitation, synthesizing findings, scripting, and presenting. Finally, I got to flex my writing skills - a beautiful end to a really fun project and an amazing team. Ultimately, I was able to leave this team with a strong, research-backed direction to take this project.

Kudos from the GO product team lead for me and my partner!

"He was a great thinking partner who took a lot of initiative to participate and help out in any way he could. I found him to be very reliable, proactive and thoughtful when it came to his work. Whenever a challenge was thrown his way, I watched as he tackled it with confidence and ease which was particularly impressive for a co-op. He’s a great asset to have on any team and I know wherever he goes next, they’ll be lucky to have him! "
Hanah Lim
Interaction Designer @ Habanero (and my thinking partner on this project)
"I had the opportunity to work with Vonne on a number of projects and initiatives during his time at Habanero. Vonne is a proficient designer, with the energy, curiosity and creativity needed to drive great user experiences. He brought strong conceptual and visual design skills to the work that we did together. He was also great at conducting research and communicating his vision compellingly to stakeholders.It was a pleasure having Vonne on the team and I’m sure he will be an asset to any organization he works with!"
Chrissy Cowen
Senior Interaction Designer @ Hopper (prev. @ Habanero)
"He articulately expresses his vision and rationale clearly and in a compelling manner. He is very driven to deeply understanding the audience and the problem space he’s designing for. He brings his problem solving sensibility, ability to conceptualize ambiguous ideas and creativity to every project he works on. His passion for UX comes through in many ways, making him a pleasure to work with."
Kurtis Beard
Creative Director @ Habanero (my direct manager)
Want to work together? Don't hesitate to say hello!