Ultimate Software: Visual Design

Ultimate Software

Creating a visual style guide to differentiate Ultipro with a look and feel that is “bravely human.”

Challenge

Ultimate Software wanted a new look and feel for the next release of their UltiPro product, one that would differentiate them from their competitors and reflect their unique culture. Our first challenge was to understand what Ultimate really wanted: what did “differentiate” mean? Who were their competitors? What were the shortcomings of the existing product?

The next challenge was to interpret their wants and needs into a visual design that would satisfy the adamant opinions of their wide variety of stakeholders.

Approach

Branding Workshops and Moodboard

We initiated our redesign effort by digging deeply into Ultimate’s vision for their the new “look and feel.” We held multiple workshops with Ultimate’s stakeholders to collect their insight and input regarding the redesign, which enabled us to transform their feedback into a cohesive and prioritized set of design goals.

To translate these design goals into visuals, we generated moodboards to articulate more general visual styles. This gave the stakeholders tangible artifacts that they could easily react to, further enabling us to refine the visual style and ensure that it encapsulated their vision.

Iterating and Refining the Designs: User Feedback

Our next step was to create user interface elements that represented the vision we pieced together. We purposely created several alternatives so that Ultimate could react and provide feedback. As the designs evolved, we were able to whittle down the alternatives and decide upon a single direction.

A key component of our approach was the incorporation of formal user evaluations to assess more qualitative goals of the design. We worked with Ultimate’s UX team to plan and run user feedback sessions on the visual concepts, the results of which were then used to refine the concepts into the final visual design.

Impact

We successfully created a visual design for Ultimate Software’s UltiPro product that satisfied the guiding principles that we collaboratively defined: Clean, Simple, Friendly, Human, Engaging, and Brave. This is captured in a detailed user interface design specification that defines the UI to the level of component descriptions, object pixel dimensions, color codes and font styling.

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