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Spark Business Concept Design by Robert Jarrell

Capital One Spark Business

Changing Small Business Banking

In 2016 I was a principal design consultant that developed and launched Capital One’s Spark Business product that helped small businesses manage their finances and banking needs. The main objectives I had an impact on were the following:

  • Designing the onboarding experience for first time user
  • Designing core product features including invoicing and payments
  • Reviewing research insights and sharing with the team
  • Defining customer personas based on qualitative research
  • Creating blue sky concepts for web app and marketing site
  • Defining and maintaining product design system and style guide
  • Establishing better design processes and efficiencies for cross-functional teams

The goals were myriad, but as a design consultant, I was flexible and met these challenges with passion and dedication, and successfully elevated the product team to achieve a successful launch.

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

Design Thinking & Collaboration

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

I utilized various methods from my design thinking toolbox — 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 the user experience were made tangible 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 zoom out and glimpse high-level views of the product 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

The Impact

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