When I joined WebEx, it was at the beginning of a transformation for online collaboration. The flagship products were far too robust and the majority of the customers were overserved. Additionally, inefficiencies occured due to multiple code bases and the aesthetic, per one memorable review, was remeniscent of "Soviet Era" design (being made entirely of Active X controls).
The first step was a complete ground up visual redesign. In collaboration with a brand designer, we gave the products a new more modern look.
But that was only the first step, to truly meet the needs our users, we redesigned them using a compent architecture. This allowed us to break the products up into a suite of less complicated, more goal-oriented applications:
and Sales Center
We divided the work of defining the components within the app among the 4 designers. Each was responsible for one or more of the products (As an SME) as well as several of the components.
As the designer responsible for the "Getting Started Guide" (above), palette management and the participant list (right) and the visual design system, I worked closely with other designers, product managers and customers to make sure each framework or component could be configured to meet the individual product needs, while maintaining a consistent look-and-feel across the suite of product.
An example of a feature made solely for an individual product was the "Breakout Session" feature used in Training Center.
As the designer responsible for the participant list component (but not Training Center itself), I worked closely with the PMs and designers from the product to make sure it addressed their particular needs, while also fitting into the participant list's architecture.
The release was huge success both in terms of ease-of-use and brand, resulting in PC Magazine's 2004 Editors' Choice Award - WebEx Meeting Center
We also improved our ability to quickly deliver solutions by leveraging the component architecture. Those features not slated for product differentiation would be immediately available to all products, if they chose to flag the feature on. This, in turn, allowed us to move from waterfall to a more agile means of developing product.
An example of this cross-product feature adoption was the "Attention Indicator". This was a feature I originally designed for Sales Center that informed the meeting host when the WebEx client was not in focus on the participants computer (implying their attention was diverted).
When the PMs for Training Center realized how valuable this feature could be in the context of their product, it was able to be integrated in one release with almost no additional work.