Five To Nine

Five to Nine is a B2B HR tool that develops company culture by helping employees build relationships in the workplace. It uses data from feedback to help companies create and improve work place culture. How do we increase workplace engagement by empowering employees to define company culture and to praise each other's good work?

*screenshot of the new on-boarding process I designed

The Problem

Five To Nine is in the process of pivoting their business strategy. Originally they were providing a platform for people to create after work social events to increase workplace community. After testing they determined there was a need for their service to be brought in to the workplace.

Initially, their service solely consisted of an events calendar, and messaging service similar to that of many other social services.

Five To Nine was not generating meaningful engagement within the workplace so they assembled the team I worked on to expand their feature set. The goal being to provide more user-centered solutions to increase engagement in ways not available from other companies.


Our target users as defined by Five To Nine were employees at companies between 300 - 1000 employees. Specifically targeting 'gung-ho' employees and HR managers.

My Role

I led the team as the User Advocate making sure that every step of our design process remained focused on our users' interests. I was heavily involved ​with every step of the product development lifecycle from research to design to prototyping and testing.

This included the information architecture, creation of user flows, interaction design, and prototyping. I also designed and conducted user research using methods including interviews, surveys, contextual inquiries, and focus groups to address user behavior, obstacles, and psychology.


To determine our design choices we took two approaches:

1. We gathered a group of current Five To Nine users to discuss their pain points and what features brought them joy.

2. We reached out to HR managers at larger companies to talk about how they maintain and grow company culture.

Surveys and Interviews

with users at companies of over 300 employees.

For both user groups we designed a survey and interview questions to get to the core of user needs. We wanted to understand answers to questions like:

What is workplace culture to you?

What drives you interact or engage with one another within the workplace?

Why does your company want to build interaction and community?

Who drives interaction in your workplace?

In what ways does your company culture not meet your needs.

In addition to current Five To Nine users we spoke to employees and HR managers at the below companies to get a detailed idea of how workplace engagement is built, how it lives, and how it grows.

Research Results

We compiled the results of our various research methods and mapped out

  • Why and how people engage with each other at work

  • Who leads it

  • What incentivizes them.​

Research Results

Our research showed us that people interact at work more when they feel driven to the same purpose. Users engage more when they feel empowered. Workers are incentivized through outreach. Workers engage more when they feel rewarded or acknowledged. 

These findings were supported by further market research.

30% of respondents who reported having a friend at work were 7x more likely to be engaged at their jobs - Gallup

79%  of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving - O.C. Tanner

Recognition is the #1 factor employees say inspires them to produce great work. Nothing else comes close— higher pay, promotion, autonomy or training - Forbes

Design Principles

Before designing, it is important to use our research and the profile of our users to form a set of Design Principles that will guide our design and serve as a criteria for success. A successful MVP will:

  • Drive participation by empowering any employee to contribute and participate in company culture.

  • Bridge levels of leadership in channels that foster open lines of communication and connection.

  • Build trust by enhancing transparency with feedback, acknowledgements, and purpose in order to (conceptually and literally).

  • Drive motivation through rewards and acknowledgements for all levels of employees to holistically create validation and engagement.

  • Align and energize employees by incorporating mission and value driven qualities throughout. 


Affinity Mapping


The next step was to take these ​design principles and brainstorm ideas that meet the user needs.

Main Card

Our team decided that a suite of solutions would be needed for our MVP. The centerpiece being a standard card presented in a feed-​style format.

  • The card provides information about events, work announcements, acknowledgements, and more​

  • It highlights the user who posted it as well as their role to create conversation across teams and departments

  • It provides an option for feedback, affirmation, and sharing

  • It gives the employee the ability to join a group or event

Wireframes & Iterations

Prototypes went through several rounds of A/B Testing and user feedback, using our design principles and research as criteria for success.

Final Card Design

The final card design meets many of the core needs of our users as defined by our research. 

Solutions & Features:

Tool Tip Card

Because of the added complexity of the platform, we knew it would be important to improve the on-boarding process. This will not only explain how the site works but the value of each section as it relates to a user.

A tool tip card was designed, tested, and iterated for this purpose.

Solutions & Features:

Nav Bar

Lastly, we redesigned the nav bar to incorporate our new features and separate feeds to improve interaction and navigation, as well as reinforce the possibilities the platform provides.

User Testing and Iteration

Iteration and user testing are invaluable ways to confirm if the design choices you are making are serving the user needs as laid out from research. ​

As the different features developed and improved in fidelity, our team conducted user testing by utilizing clickable prototypes in InVision and Marvel to accomplish this.

Below is an example of the redesigned on-boarding process used for testing which also served as the combination of the lower tier MVP's

*Click the tip cards on this embedded prototype to see the new on-boarding


In addition to these features we implemented ideas such as the company newsletter (Culture Corner) and people directory to further allow employees to engage with each other.

The team succeeded in putting forth several new features, conducting research, redesigning the on-boarding, and creating a platform that overall creates deeper engagement in the workplace.