Capital One Support Portal

Project Summary

The Design Problem & My Role

For many Capital One customers, there is no easy way to find answers to the questions they have about their card. This leads them to call the call centre, where they wait upwards of an hour to talk to an agent. I was part of a team that wanted to make it easier for customers to self-solve any inquiries they had about their card. The design challenge: design an online self-serve experience that enabled customers to easily solve their inquiries online without having to seek any further help.

In my role as an UX design intern, I did the following: 

  • Created discussion and note-taking guides for user research sessions
  • Facilitated user research sessions, involving both card sorting and usability testing
  • Introduced new evaluative research methods to the design team (content testing and tree testing)
  • Created web prototypes using Sketch, HTML and CSS
  • Created visual job aids for customer support staff

The Solution

After going through user research, as well as creating a new IA and user flows, I was able to take all the learnings to create an initial prototype of a self-serve support portal. You can view it here (click to enlarge):

The Outcome

After the prototype was built, my co-op term had ended. The design team afterwards did more evaluative testing with the prototype and the self-serve portal was launched in 2021.
You can view the support portal here.

For a more in-depth look at the design process, please read the case study below.

Design Process

Here is an overview of the key stages of the design process. I was present for the first three stages, and the project is currently in the fourth stage.

Understand Users and the Organization


Synthsize & Create Sitemap


Re-design Prototype


Pilot & Full Implementation

  • Semi-structured interviews with clients
  • Card sorting sessions with frontline staff
  • Secondary research relevant to subject matter
  • Synthesized findings into a new IA (information architecture)/sitemap
  • Determined key design principles for solution
  • Conducted evaluative research to validate changes
  • Redesigned initial prototype
  • Socialize and publicize launch of new portal
  • Test and refine with a pilot before full implementation

1. Understand Users and the Organizational Context

To understand if the portal had the right content for inquiring customers, my team and I conducted interviews with call centre agents and clients.

5 Interviews with staff

  • Participants

    Call centre agents who interacted frequently with customers that had issues with their credit cards

  • Duration

    1 hour per interview

  • Description

    Two-part semi-structured interview involving: 1) a card sorting activity 2) an interview

8 usability testing sessions with Clients

  • Participants

    Capital One customers who had prior issues with their cards

  • Duration

    1 hour per interview

  • Description

    Task-based testing, with a focus on whether customers could understand the content



Key topics were omitted, such as the rewards offered with each credit card.


There was a need for plainer and clearer language.

2. Synthesize New Sitemap and Design Principles

Coming up with a new sitemap using post-it notes.

Creating a New Sitemap/Information Architecture

From talking to agents, it became clear that we lacked content specific to the perks programs offered by various Capital One credit cards. In particular, agents highlighted that they received many inquiries about the Costco and travel reward cards, and even created new cards about those topics.

This led to the design team coming together and synthesizing an improved information architecture (sitemap) that included those topics in particular.

From the post-it notes, we came up with the finalized sitemap of all the topics that the portal should have. This is the sitemap below: 

3. Validate Sitemap and Re-Design Prototype

To understand whether customers could easily find articles based on how we had organized them into various categories, I lobbied my team to conduct a tree test using Optimal Workshop.

Alongside preparing the tree test, I also created a high-fidelity prototype of the portal. Here is a finalized user flow for the prototype.

Key Lessons Learned

To wrap up the project, I finalized the prototype and handed it off to the development team. The tree test was recently launched to positive results, and Capital One Canada launched the portal in 2021.

In terms of reflecting on what I learned, I have two particular lessons:


Launching a new product involves more than just technology hand-off and deployment.
In this instance, the prototype that I created existed within a system of larger change that needed to be implemented across the organization. This meant that it was important for my team to socialize the product across the bank. In the future, I aim to prioritize stakeholder engagement early and get needed buy-in from key executives.


There are other ways to obtain the user-centred perspective when users are not available.
Due to resource and space constraints, it was difficult to interview customers for all phases of this project. To overcome this, we conducted research with call centre agents, which was incredibly insightful and directly informed the portal's content and design. In the future, if I'm faced with similar difficulties, I aim to be creative and find valuable proxies in order to obtain the user's perspective.