Skill Assessments

Help employees develop the skills they need for career development and growth.

hero image of a colorful learning experience/there are two screens 1. desktop version of a program. 2. responsive mobile screen.


In late 2016 Josh Coates our CEO at Instructure came to the Bridge team and said that he wanted to expand Bridges reach from being just an LMS into a talent management product.

We were given white paper from Gartner a leading consultancy company and told to do some research that first week.

As a design and product team we had just validated our product and needed to move on to developing an alpha version.

Instructure was expanding it's Bridge platform from a sleek learning management system to a new product that would later be called “Bridge Perform” which is an innovative employee performance management solution designed to revolutionize HR software. We built the product from scratch and brought it to the market within 1 year.

I was fortunate to work with a scrappy little team of 4 designers. With in that year we
The new Bridge perform app. Receiving constant feedback was one of our main goals. Instead of just having a 360 review yearly.

After we had validated our product. I was asked to lead out design for all design associated with the Skill assessment tool.

Product Validation Tour

As a product team we took our prototype to various companies. We showed them our new product and tested it with them. We gathered feedback from them and asked them if it was a real product would they pay money for it? We got a lot of companies who said that they would pay for the product right now. We often had to explain again to them that this was just a prototype and no code was actually written.

Of course there were some companies who said that they would not pay for it at the moment and that they would be very interested in it when the product was ready for users.

Problem to solve

Allow Admin to configure assessments according to skills in that apply to their company jobs and roles. View data related to employees skills to learn where to hire, train and strengthen.

Allow managers to request skill assessments for self and members of their teams. View data and Insights to know where to hire, train and strengthen.

Allow employees to self assess, request skill assessments from co-workers and their managers. Compare assessments, see where you think you and other's think you are. Learn where to grow and improve upon.

User & Audience

There were multiple roles and users to consider while designing this feature. We needed HR Admins to be able to take a peek into what was going on from a very high level. We also needed Managers to request assessments for their direct reports and self. we also needed Employees to be able to request assessments for themselves. All employees needed to be able to take an assessment and view their own results.

Team & Role

I coordinated and lead all facets of design including information architecture, user task flows, interaction, visual, product, and prototyping. I also conducted user research using the directed discovery method. We gathered data as we conducted voice of the customer - interviews, Customer preference testing through prototyping,  Customer confirmation testing with a number of iterations before delivering the final feature.

Develop an assessment tool that would empower companies, teams, managers and individual employees to gain insights into where training, growth and hiring need to happen.

The Process

I knew that in order for us to be successful, we would need to follow a design process that would enable us to deeply understand the user’s needs, validate, and iterate. Here are the steps we took in this project.

A picture of the design process. Empathize, define, Ideation, prototype and testing.

Product Team

I collaborated closely with a product manager over the program authoring feature in Bridge. Together we brainstormed and whiteboard through several different possible solutions to this problem.


Instructure has a highly collaborative culture along with an amazing team of smart and talented people.

Once a week all product managers and product designers get into a room and collaborate and provide feedback on one another’s work.

Assumptions and Initial Designs

From our initial interviews and brainstorms we had developed our assumptions around who we were designing for.

Admin Experience

Admin need a way to configure skills and the way employees are assessed.
They all so needs to see data, analytics and insights in order to strengthen employees through training or hire employees to fill gaps.

Employee Experience

An employee needs to be able to self assess, request an assessment from peers in order to see where they are, what they can improve on and how to grow.

Managers Experience

A manager needs the ability to assess and request assessments from the team about individual members on the team. View the insights and data and see how they can strengthen their team through training or where to hire.

Wireframing concepts

Wireframing out some ideas to get some feedback quickly always helps me with figuring out the direction that I need to go. I like to share my concepts with other design team and Dalin.

Here are some early concepts around team dashboard and requesting an assessment.
There needed to be a dashboard where managers can easily see their direct reports and a way to invite team members to assess their teammates and then a way to take the assessment. Things evolved and changed over a period of time.

picture of 3 screens that were initial wireframes
picture of an early iteration of a program workflow in card view
picture of an early iteration of a program workflow in list view

Getting feedback early and often

Bridge was highly collaborative and we held weekly design reviews with both the design and product team helped us with outside perspective. Sometime being on a project long enough starts to introduce bias.

Meeting with customers really helped us simplify what we were creating.

After getting feedback that things could be simplified. I moved on to creating more iterative designs.

Prototyping & Testing

I created a robust prototype using sketch and invision to test out our designs with the users. Weekly design critiques and meetings with customers helped us gain the feedback and insights that we needed.

Iterations and product evolution

I am a firm believer in iterating to evolve. We were able to get the feedback we needed. Most of the time assumptions that we had were close however we would always learn something while user-testing.

Final Design and the birth of Bridge Perform

After going over designs for each part of the application we finally arrived on a direction we wanted to go. It took a total of a year from concept to alpha and beta releases for the talent management platform that we called Bridge Perform. It was a great feat and something to be happy and relieved about.


Admin can easily set up Job titles and Skills associated to them. They can easily view all insights related to skills within the company based upon assessment results.


Management can assess team members and view where people strengths are and where to train or hire.

picture of three screens for the learners experience. 1. list of learning modules. 2. completion page 3. mobile screen shotpicture of three screens for the learners experience. 1. list of learning modules. 2. completion page 3. mobile screen shot


Self assess and team assessments allows an individual employee autonomy into how they can grow and fit their team better.

Create an assessment invitation that can be tailored to your current position or a position you hope to get.

See all the assessments that you are asked to take and see past assessments and the results.

See how people on your team or company see you.

Get feedback anonymously.


I believe that a smooth handoff and tight collaboration with development is crucial to the success of every product. Knowing that this was a very large feature, I wanted to be as prepared as possible. Once we had further validated our design solution I went to work fleshing out every detail of the experience I could think of. I met with our development team to review the designs and get input on technical considerations, and then put together a comprehensive set of specifications to accompany the mockups and clickable prototype. This is an approach I regularly take, and has helped me time and time again streamline development and ensure a higher level of visual and interactive quality.

document showing 3 screens of the authoring tool. 1. shows content flow. 2. How to add a module and where the add button appears above the fold. 3. hover examples. When a user hovers they see a plus icon.

Final Design Solution

Our final design was an immersive dual-path experience, leading the author to create simple yet powerful learning paths which allowed the learner to see exactly what they needed to learn and a path that would help them accomplish their goals.

Easy navigation at any level.

Creating a comprehensive org chart that is actionable. Leadership wanted a way to see the org and direct reports at a glance.

Gif animation of adding learning modules
Manager Skill Assessment team view

Link skill feedback to development

Get skill feedback from managers and peers to quickly identify training gaps and growth opportunities on an individual and team level.

Manager Skill Assessment team view

Tailor skill assessments to job role

Keep assessments tied to the employee’s specific role and related competencies to get more accurate insight into performance.

Access skill mastery data in one click

Get a high-level view of what skill mastery looks like as a company, or by team. Using these insights, you’ll be empowered to tailor your learning and performance efforts in order to more effectively achieve business goals.

responsive screens for the learners view of a program
two screens showing how a program would flow from one module to another.

Admin Configuration

Easy to manage role, job titles and skill set up with intuitive adhoc or bulk creation through CSV upload. This allows admin to create jobs and roles specifics to your company.

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