UX design | UI design | Visual design

Designing a marketplace for the government acquisition experience


Over the course of three months, I led a team of EchoUser designers and researchers to design ByteCubed’s marketplace, a place where government program managers go to find and fund technological innovators. My role included leading the visual design effort, and coordinating final UX/UI deliverables.

Phase 1: Discovery

The first phase consisted of unpacking the problem, establishing a design direction, defining the path to a minimal viable product, and laying out the product framework. Our initial analysis uncovered key pain-points:

  • Existing government funding options are complicated, and use government jargon, which is not meaningful to most innovators.
  • Innovators have a perception that working with the government is excessively time consuming.
  • There are many legal barriers both program managers and innovators have to overcome in order to have a successful funding experience.

Using user-centered design, the stakeholders were led through several workshops to define a mission statement and guiding principles. Next, we identified the target personas and high-level requirements. After the initial discovery, we developed user flows, conceptual models, and information architecture. The phase was culminated after reaching consensus with the client on high-level product functionality.

Phase 2: Explore & Refine

Using the artifacts generated in phase 1 as our foundation, EchoUser began turning those ideas into wireframes. Low fidelity screens for all sections of the product were created first, communicating primary interactions and page relationships. During this phase, I was responsible for defining the visual look and feel for the screens, as well as overseeing the other UX designers while they created wireframes.

Through multiple rounds of stakeholder feedback, the designs were iteratively updated and the level of wireframe detail increased to include all content, interactions, and specific UI elements.

Evaluation & Delivery

After completing the first rounds of wireframes, I collaborated with researchers to generate a user-testing plan to validate the design direction and gather user feedback. Once the final flows were defined, annotations including interaction details and functions were added to all screens. The final step was skinning the wireframes with an established visual style to be used as reference screens for the developers.


The final Marketplace design simplified the acquisition process for program managers. Our user testing indicated that our design:

  • Made finding an innovator less time-consuming for program managers.
  • Allowed innovators and program managers greater control over search criteria to deliver more relevant results.
  • Offered a much less painful experience for innovators when applying for government funding.

ByteCube launched the product in the fall of 2016.