Removing the Roadblocks to Dynamic Collaborations

Designing a multi-departmental intranet portal.

McAfee, Inc. is an American global computer security software company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, and the world's largest dedicated security technology company. www.mcafee.com

As organizations grow, they struggle with effective ways to promote collaboration between people and departments. McAfee was entering into a new era for the company, and bringing together teams from across the company to work collaboratively, some for the first time ever. We needed to help McAfee to create a system that removed barriers, allowed for clear communication and status updates and opened communication channels across the company. Our work was focused on one critical team particularly, the legal team.

An incredible amount of information has to flow back and forth between the legal team and various other departments. While there were multiple existing team portals, McAfee was still seeing a significant amount of time and resources being spent on communication. We conducted extensive interviews with the legal team and were able to surface this insight:

When users are not able to to find the information they need quickly, they consult with multiple people which uses more company time and resources than is necessary.

While the existing solution did make some information available and some communication possible, the experience was confusing to most users, many of whom would simply give up and start contacting people directly. In addition to not using the system, users would contact several people to try and get the needed information which distracted people and locked up resourced. One user said it was not unusual to receive 200 or more emails in a single day related to this.

It became clear to us that we needed to focus on designing a system that did a better job of connecting people with the information they needed as quickly and easily as possible. It had to be very easy to use and friendly, yet direct users to only the the necessary people and resources. The portal would also need to serve as a communication hub between not just employees, but the company management and employees. In order to ensure the communication felt like a two way street, it needed to build trust between all in involved. Lastly, it needed to make the complex processes of the legal team feel easy and effortless.


We chose to go with a light, clean and modern design, but were careful it did not become stark. The McAfee red brand color when overused can feel alarming, so we used it sparingly to pull users through each page. Friendly, conversational. language was used for all of the copy used in the portal starting with the “Good Morning” that greets users every day. We even created a new, warm icon set to represent users and make the experience feel more human.



With so many departments being impacted by the new portal, a lot of time was put into understanding each persona and what tasks could be completed. We helped McAfee visualize workflows that were easier to understand and increased self-guided help for the departments outside of legal, reducing the use of email and other forms of ineffective communication as well cutting down on the amount of personnel needed to handle each request. We even created a new mascot, “Owlbert” to serve as a guide for users and point them to helpful links and assets.



By successfully identifying where design could help reduce wasted time and resources as well as speed up the collaboration between teams with our Design Insights, we were able to help McAfee both improve their collaboration as an organization while freeing up company resources and removing roadblocks.


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