Erika Varga

Orient Me

Help business users focus on what matters most and take control of their work




Lead UX Designer



IBM Connections on-premise, March 2017 and to IBM Connections Cloud, January 2018

The new, smart homepage for IBM Connections helps people focus on what matters to them most and take control of their work. The new homepage analyzes a user’s behavior and network of colleagues to promote updates above less important updates.

Our mission is to give business users the clarity, control, and insights they need to make informed decisions.

User Needs

Our primary persona was the multi-tasking business user who uses IBM Connections.

Business users are faced with too much noise, things going on, places to check and focus on, and too much work to figure out what's important while working in IBM Connections.


We learned about the business user persona from another team conducting generative user research. With a better understanding of the business user in hand, we worked through the user needs and use cases we needed to support.

After we aligned on the user needs, we went through several months of design iterations. Through out the iteration process we got feedback from users by talking with our clients through more than a dozen research initiatives, including interviews on the phone, in-person workshops, and surveys. I worked closely with another colleague who ran the user sessions and setup the surveys.

I collaborated with my team of two other designers to brainstorm design ideas.

I created a spec for every user flow.

Further on in the process, I created several, highly interactive prototypes in Axure to gather feedback from users during usability tests and to gather feedback at conferences.

I created interactive prototypes for gathering feedback from users.

Prototype setup at the IBM Connect 2016 conference where I gathered client feedback

I collected and organized feedback in

I worked closely with the Development team to implement the code according to the design spec. There was a lot of back-and-forth discussion with Development to continually tweak the code.


Our team delivered a brand new version of the IBM Connections home page, along with a new version of the “Action Center”.

New version of the home page with a user’s favorite communities at their fingertips and an intelligently ordered news stream.

“Action Center” slides out from right side of the page to help users stay on top of meetings, email, tasks, and notifications.

Connections users also saw the same improvements to their mobile news stream