Sara Clayton — Product Designer based in Seattle

MSW - Employee Portal - Microsoft Internal Project

Alongside our senior designer, our design studio partnered with Microsoft’s internal communications team to deliver a new redesign for Microsoft’s internal portal, which receives approximately hundreds of thousands of visits per month. I delivered wireframes and high-fidelity mock-ups for this project.

RoleUX Designer DateOctober 2016 to January 2017 (3 months)
ForRedesigning MSW, the internal portal used by Microsoft employees worldwide.


MSW is the employee portal for Microsoft, visited by approximately one million Microsoft employees and contractors per month. This site acts as a tool for people to find all things Microsoft-related, including events around campus, daily Microsoft news, and more.

Design explorations

For this project, we worked with the internal communications team. Based on analytics from ClickTale, we found that over 50% of first-page traffic goes to the search bar. While it’s great that employees know where to go to search for something, the team wanted to change visitors' behavior and have them explore the site more, instead of going directly to the search bar.

Employees are not taking full advantage of all of the content that the employee portal has to offer because employees currently use the portal more as a search engine instead of a holistic resource to read news and learn about events and happenings at Microsoft.

SharePoint as a CMS has a lot of technical limitations, so introducing new widgets to the platform was difficult. The team also wanted us to use the content that was already available instead of starting from scratch.

Final design

Working alongside the senior designer, the two of us worked at a quick and productive pace, delivering to the dev team early. The new design of the employee portal went live to all Microsoft employees worldwide in January 2017.

There was also extensive publicity to promote the launch of this redesign throughout the headquarters in Redmond.


Two months after the project’s completion, we were able to reduce traffic from the search bar by 10% and increase overall page engagement, including clicks below the fold.

Learnings and next steps

This was a great team to work with – both our execution and communication with stakeholders went smoothly. If we had a more flexible content management system (CMS) instead of SharePoint, we would have been able to do more with emerging technologies like AI or ML. With a more flexible CMS, we would have also been able to get better analytics results from ClickTale. But based on these constraints, we did as good of a job as we could. If we had more time and resources, it would have been great to get more user testing done several weeks before hand-off.