Time keeps on slipping into the future ...
Spark Business Concept Design by Robert Jarrell

Capital One Spark Business

Changing Small Business Banking

For nearly a year I worked with Capital One to design Spark Business, a responsive web app that helps small businesses better manage their finances and banking needs. The projects I worked on varied, but some of the main goals I was tasked with were the following:

  • Improve first time user onboarding experience
  • Create better design process and efficiencies
  • Review research and capture insights and key takeaways
  • Define customer personas based on qualitative research
  • Create blue sky concepts for web app and marketing site
  • Design various product features
  • Establish, define, and maintain product style guide

The goals were myriad, but as a design consultant I was flexible and ready to meet these challenges.

We threw a lot of complicated stuff at you and you were able to turn it around quickly.
— Erika Garcia, Product Manager, Spark Business


Design Thinking & Collaboration
  • Methods Used
  • Heuristic Evaluation
  • Competitive & Comparative Analysis
  • Graphic Organizer
  • Behavioral Mapping
  • Persona Definition
  • MVP Hypotheses
  • Flow Charts
  • Concept Development
  • Prototypes
  • Wireframes
  • Visual Design Mockups
  • Style Guide

Throughout the project I collaborated with a team of designers and stakeholders and provided direction in UX, visual design, strategy, research, planning, and process.

I utilized various methods from my design thinking toolbox including heuristic evaluation, competitive and comparative analysis, persona definition, MVP hypotheses, flow charts, concept exploration, prototypes, wireframes, and visual design mockups. I also created marketing site concepts, responsive designs, and a detailed style guide.

I led various workshops that encouraged collaboration between cross functional teams. Insights about target customers and user experience were captured using a graphic organizer, behavioral mapping, and heuristic analysis of screen flows.

Workshop Artifacts: Graphic Organizer, Behavioral Mapping & Heuristic Analysis
Workshop Artifacts: Graphic Organizer, Behavioral Mapping & Heuristic Analysis

High Level Views

At various moments in the project — depending on the task I was working on — I created flow charts and mind maps to understand high level views of the product in order to provide context and solve workflow problems.

Flow Charts & Mind Map
Flow Charts & Mind Map

Insights to Innovate

I produced several competitive and comparative analysis that provided insights about dashboard design, wayfinding, messaging, marketing sites, and application flow. I discovered common practices, innovation areas, and how to differentiate and position Spark Business.

Some Pages from the Comparative Wayfinding Analysis
Comparative Analysis

Fast & Loose

Sketching allowed me to iterate on ideas and solutions quickly and share with teams sooner. These were later referenced when creating wireframes.

Documenting UI, UX, and IxD

I created wireframe prototypes to document the user interface, experience, and interaction. These were presented and reviewed with the team to gather feedback and iterate on, if necessary. Once approved the prototyped wireframes were referenced to create high fidelity visual designs and prototypes used by developers to start implementation.

Various Sketches & Wireframe Examples
Various Sketches & Wireframe Examples

Documenting the Product Style

I designed and maintained a robust style guide during the project. This was referenced by designers and developers and helped keep their work consistent with approved styles. The guide included detailed specifications for typography, buttons, color, form inputs, account cards, icons, modals, date pickers, headers, and other UI components.

Various Pages from the Style Guide
Various Pages from the Style Guide

Concept Development

There was no brand guide or design principles established for the Spark Business product, but the team was interested in a contemporary design that were different than big banks. I had an opportunity to create blue sky concept designs for the marketing site and product app. For the marketing site I explored art direction, UI, and visual design. For the product I focussed on navigation concepts as that was one of the problem areas of the app.

Blue Sky Marketing Site Concepts
Blue Sky Marketing Site Concepts
Blue Sky Product Navigation Concepts
Blue Sky Product Navigation Concepts


Clean, Modern UI/UX Design

Consistent interaction patterns and visual design were applied across the entire app. I designed several main features including Online Application Flow, Accounts, Transfers, Payments, and Invoices. By conducting research the team and I were able to make informed design decisions about UI patterns and what the target user needs were.

At the conclusion of my time working on the product design a beta MVP was released and usability testing was being conducted. Testing results for the features I designed proved successful and required little or no additional design iterations. Since then the product has been released nationwide and acquired a substantial market share of small business owner customers.

Final Spark Business Designs
Final Spark Business Designs

Robert delivered great designs and concepts working individually and as part of a team.
— Jenny Knauss, Design Manager, Spark Business