Design Intern


Summer 2019 (12 weeks)


User research, competitive analysis, iterative design, prototyping, motion design & microinteractions


Sketch, Invision, Principle, Illustrator, whiteboard, marker, sticky notes, sticky notes, sticky notes


Confluence is a content collaboration tool used to help teams collaborate and share knowledge efficiently. You can read more about the product’s specific capabilities and features here.

I was asked to focus on Confluence's mobile experience, a part of the product which had not yet received much design attention. I was given a lot of freedom to define my project's problem space more specifically. My process is delineated below.

Process Overview

My process began with a comprehensive evaluation of the app’s functionality across platforms and devices. I then dug into research/metrics in order to develop personas, map their most common journeys, identify pain points, and ideate solutions. I worked with mobile developers to weigh anticipated impacts of each solution against the cost to implement it, and prioritized my list of problems/solutions.

Upon identifying the problem I would be designing for, I conducted a competitive analysis of how other products handle similar user needs. I began ideating, sketching, mocking up, prototyping, and iterating. Along the way, I worked to prioritize accessibility best practices, I restructured information, collaborated with copywriters, altered visuals, designed new icons when necessary, and checked in regularly with the Atlassian Design Guidelines Team to be sure my work was ADG compliant.

Audit & Preliminary Research

I first needed to familiarize myself with the product -- learn its capabilities and use cases, understand its structure, etc. So, I began my process with a comprehensive audit of the current mobile app: documenting all screens, functionality, bugs, and taking particular note of where microinteractions and animations could be added in order to inject user delight at a low cost. I repeated the audit across platforms and devices, then compiled my findings and shared them with the Confluence team.

I also sat down with user researchers and dug into metrics and qualitative findings on the ways in which users interact with the mobile app vs. the desktop product.


With a list of users’ top tasks and motivations on Confluence mobile, I developed three personas (theoretical users meant to represent the needs, actions, and reactions of a larger group of users):


Alana is great at motivating a team along when times get tough. She constantly drives for outcomes and feels that details get in the way when she’s busy, (which, if you’ve had a meeting with her, you’d realize is almost always). She abhors admin work or things that get in her way. In her workplace, she prefers direct communication from her colleagues and managers.


To get her team to work more efficiently, with less administration waste.


Recognition – wants superiors to see her as doing a great job.

Completion – wants to see all issues resolved and all boxes ticked. Incompleteness makes her anxious.

Efficiency – wants to make sure she and her team aren't spending too much time and energy on the wrong things.

Alana is a Ringleader.

Ringleaders motivate others, turn ideas into action, attract the right attention and the right people to a team to get the job done.

They organize the spaces that people need to do their work, including projects, tickets and so on.

Questions Ringleaders ask:


Jose is diligent, collaborative, trusting, a good listener and a good friend. Jose gains great satisfaction from helping his team and/ or customers. He doesn’t mind putting in the hours, and he tends to put people in touch with each other if he thinks they’ll both benefit. He tries to make everyone happy, even if he doesn’t get what he wants, and he’s comfortable with following an endorsed process.

Jose can be a bit hesitant, and if he thinks something can be done better, he’d rather check with everyone first before diving in himself to change it. Not many people know this, but he plays guitar in a cover band, and loves Moroccan food.


To make sure everyone’s getting along, and getting what they need.


Appreciation – his own self-esteem is propped up by others appreciating him.

Understanding and acceptance – he's strongly motivated to empathize with and understand others, and appreciates it when people want to understand him.

Jose is a Connector.

Connectors tend to see relationships and patterns before others do. They’re broad consumers of information and stay up to date on what everyone is doing. The Connector enjoys helping like-minded people and projects get in touch.

Questions Connectors ask:


Mia is definitely a proponent of ‘just enough’ when it comes to work. It’s not that she does a bad job (she’s good at what she does), she just doesn’t see the need to go the extra mile. She’d much rather put her energies into her life outside of work.

Mia uses existing pages, templates and frameworks, and relies on existing ways of doing things. If she has to take on responsibility, she’d much prefer it to be more operational than strategic.

She has no intention of being a power user, or even pretending to look like one.


To not screw up. To tick the boxes of what she’s required to do, so that she can focus attention elsewhere.


Recognition – wants superiors to see her as doing a great job.

Completion – wants to see all issues resolved and all boxes ticked. Incompleteness makes her anxious.

Efficiency – wants to make sure she and her team aren't spending too much time and energy on the wrong things.

Mia is a Passenger

Passengers follow the herd. They aren’t necessarily lazy, they just aren’t motivated to break new ground or spend time exploring when they can get stuff accomplished and clock out at 5. Passengers abhor change and disruption.

Questions Passengers ask:

Journey Mapping

Based on the personas developed above, and the top task findings from the research team, I mapped out probable user journeys. This was far more an exercise in user empathy than in analytics.

I used blue stickies to represent each step of the current journey, pink stickies to record sentiments along the way and to identify pain points, and yellow stickies for potential solutions and alterations to the interface. Underneath the sticky note mappings, I roughly charted the personas sentiments over the course of the journey.

Images of sticky notes on whiteboard, showing journey mapping process

This exercise really helped me to accelerate the process of identifying major user pain points within the mobile experience, and to better understand the needs and motivations of users.

Ongoing research & Competitive Analysis

As I entered the solution-ideation phase of my process, I spent some time reviewing the parameters I would have to account for, like design guidelines (Material Design, Human Interface Guidelines, and Atlassian’s own design language -- ADG) and accessibility best practices (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). I also began to pay closer attention to the apps I use the most, why I use them, and at which moments I find myself the most ‘delighted’ by them.

Solution Ideation & Prioritization

I built a table like the one below to use for solution ideation and impact evaluation (columns 1-4). I then handed it off to an Android and an iOS engineer to fill out the last two columns with their predictions of how much effort each proposed solution would require on the development side.

With the table all filled out, I sat down with my team triad (product manager, designer, and head engineer) to discuss which of my target problems/ potential solutions struck the best balance between maximizing impact while minimizing effort and cost.

Target Problem

"The create button on Confluence Mobile is restrictive. It has only one mode, which gives way to a blank document. This fails to take advantage of mobile features and capabilities."

This problem statement can be broken down into two simpler parts:

  1. Phones are not desktop computers...

    so we shouldn't pretend that they are. There's a reason authors use computers instead of cell phones to write their books. Computers are great for putting a lot of words on a page. Phones, on the other hand, are perfect for taking a photo of a whiteboard at the end of a meeting, taking videos of product demos, or recording audio from a user study.

  2. Pages created on mobile are likely imperfect.

    Mobile interfaces don't lend themselves to complex formatting, and the primary mobile use case (on-the-go) isn't conducive to thorough proofreading. So we should make it easier for our users to make their pages private when they create on mobile. Users' brainstorming notes and quick ideas don't need to be broadcast to their entire company.

Iterative Design

With a clearly defined problem space and a boatload of ideas for how to address it, I jumped into sketching possible new user flows, interfaces, shortcuts, etc. Based on these early sketches, I crafted rough mockups and ‘sparred’ them with the design team to get feedback.

This kicked off the process of designing, soliciting feedback via testing and critiques, redesigning, and so on and so forth until I landed on my finalized concept and design.

Round 1: Sketching

Round 2: Layout Option Mockups

Round 3:

Chose to use the drawer layout because it was the extensible and user feedback indicated that it felt the most intuitive.

Round 4:

Restructured the menu options to offer users maximum control and flexibility; Designed new set of icons to make menu functionality clearer.

Round 5:

Simplified "private/public" toggle in order to comply with Atlassian Design Guidelines, Apple Human Interface Guidelins, and WCAG.

Round 6:

Designing the menu interface to extend across platforms, devices, and orientations.


I ended up creating a feature that I’m super excited to see roll out in the coming months. It capitalizes on mobile capabilities in order to reduce user anxiety related to on-the-go page creation. It challenges desktop-first mental models and truly takes mobile users’ needs into account.

I would be happy to speak further about this project privately. Please reach out via my ‘Contact’ page above.