Case Study: Telstra’s partner platform uplift

How I redesigned their entire partner experience.

Written by
Joshua Holmes
Published on
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Telstra's Partner program is a high priority for Telstra Enterprise as they look at new ways to serve their customers and accelerate the growth of their Enterprise business. Channel partners allow Telstra to meet customer's business challenges by combining their world class networks and expertise with partner business expertise, solutions and managed services. Telstra Partner Central is an online tool built using Salesforce Partner Communities. The creation of Telstra Partner Central is a new way of collaborating between partners and Telstra’s direct sales force. It is the first time Telstra has had a platform allowing the two sales forces to collaborate in real time.


Due to the speed Telstra Partner Central had been created and launched to MVP, a gap in the ideal user experience had been formed. We were brought in to discover the gaps and present the ideal design back with recommendations on improvements.

My role

I lead the experience portion of the project, liaising between our additional visual designer, project lead, experience manager and product owner.

The Telstra Enterprise transformation journey

Due to disruption in the telecommunications industry Telstra needs to radically simplify its products, eliminate customer pain points and create all-digital experiences.

The Approach

Build. Measure. Learn.

I used my startup knowledge to apply lean UX principles to this project. It was imperative to keep the users needs at the heart of every phase of the process.

  • Formulate a valid hypothesis based on a previous project.
  • Conduct early and frequent user testing with initial and revised wireframes to unveil unexpected pain points and new learnings.
  • Define our MVP.
  • Focus on research and testing results to refine features that users really need.
  • Develop a custom toolkit that includes Sketch libraries.
  • Present the work to our stakeholders using research results, wireframes and a shareable final pack.

The Design Process

I rapidly iterated the wireframes after every round of testing
I rapidly iterated the wireframes after every round of testing

Interviews and rapid testing

A previous project allowed me to form an early hypothesis and build initial wireframes, which meant I could move quickly into testing and interviews.

Testing with these wireframes allowed me to not only gain insights into the most important features to users, but it also meant I could very quickly iterate for the next round. We tested with a mix of in-person interviews and remote interviews over video conference.

I tested a range of designs with our partners and started to narrow down the ideal layout and architecture. I was curious to discover what data made sense to the Partner when, what an average day is like, how they found help and what they found most frustrating.

The feedback from these sessions allowed me to iterate on things like data visualisations, support ticketing, knowledge and information articles, workflow and new features.

Card testing was run in-person and online
Card testing was run in-person and online

Card Sorting

Alongside interviews and testing, I also carried out a hybrid card sorting exercise. This allowed our partners to categories pages based on existing information architecture research and also gave them the opportunity to expand categories if necessary.

The challenge faced by our site is that there is a mixture of contexts in which a Partner may use it. For example a Partner-customer view, a Partner-Partner view or a Partner-Telstra view. I wanted to discover if it made sense to split these views up or if partners expected them to be bundled together.

The results showed that most categories made sense, with a couple of additions or changes, and that partners thought it should be together for the most part.

A later iteration of the initial wireframe
A later iteration of the initial wireframe


Before our interviews commenced, I had already constructed the first iteration of our wireframes. This enabled us to jump straight into testing from the first interview.

This made understanding Partner pain-points much easier, and enabled me to iterate much faster, showing new, more succinct version with each round.

I started with a lower fidelity version, which had been constructed from previous research and low fidelity wireframes. Very quickly, I was able to confidently move to a high fidelity version for testing before our UI designer was on-boarded.

I used a mixture of tools, including Balsamiq, Photoshop and Sketch, to get an ideal, rapidly iterated wireframe.

The first iteration of the visual design
The first iteration of the visual design

Visual design

A key outcome for this project was to completely refresh the user interface for Partner Central.

Early on I determined the best approach would be to adopt the new Telstra Design System, for a number of reasons. This included matching branding across external applications, simplified mobile and accessible design, existing knowledge in our team and existing Sketch libraries, dramatically cutting down design time.

Prior to our UI designer being on-boarded, I was able to create a first round UI design through Sketch, which I could take to testing.

One of the most interesting facets was expanding this design to include limitations presented by Salesforce Communities and to be able to include unique elements such as data visualisations and complete sales management flows.

The Outcome


The final product has been built and deployed after a 12+ month process.

We will now continue to iterate and improve the experience based on feedback, and update those pages which haven't yet had a new coat of paint.

Final Thoughts

What I learned

  • Keep stakeholders engaged- A variation of stakeholder engagement meant that some were less involved than others. This caused some problems with getting decisions made.
  • Working with design systems- It was my first time working with a design system and I was required to change it to enable its use with Salesforce.
  • Keeping to interview time limits- Interviews can be difficult sometimes. You want your users to share what's important to them, but if not monitored carefully, this can come at the detriment of getting feedback on the important items you need.

Headshot of Josh in black and white

Joshua Holmes

Josh is a product design leader based in Melbourne, Australia.
He has been working in the design space for 7 years across various industries.