The evolution of ExpertZone: developing the learning management platform for Microsoft's global retail network

ExpertZone is Microsoft’s retail learning management portal run by the global team based in Seattle. It is used by sales and tech support professionals who work for retail partners like Game, Best Buy and Walmart. The portal provides training, rewards and accreditation, and helps retail staff sell products from Office 365 to Xbox and Surface PCs.

Bolser has been Microsoft’s lead design partner for ExpertZone since 2016, when we were selected to redesign the platform after a competitive pitch process that included some of the world’s biggest names in digital.

Two years later Microsoft decided to replatform ExpertZone onto Adobe Captivate Prime, and appointed Bolser to lead this complex project.





“One of the best pure digital agencies I’ve worked with. Bolser has been a remarkable partner in the redesign of our worldwide online retail community. They bring cutting-edge thinking, fresh ideas and a relentless spirit of innovation”
Bill Bush, Chief Evangelism Officer, Microsoft
The challenge

Personalisation, internationalisation, accessibility, platform migration

We were challenged to increase engagement and utilisation via a series of step-changes in usability and relevance for users with varying levels of technical expertise, product knowledge, and different learning style preferences.

We were also challenged to streamline ongoing development and maintenance of the platform by migrating from a legacy, bespoke platform onto Adobe Captivate Prime.

At all times we have utilised the latest Microsoft technologies, including Microsoft Design Systems, to deliver a fast, resilient, and highly scalable solution that meets the latest accessibility standards.

What we did

UX-led design, agile project management, close collaboration with Microsoft and Adobe developers

Our ongoing relationship with the ExpertZone team has drawn on our digital strategy and project management skills, UI and UX expertise from our design team, and the agile skills of our web development team.

Activities have included:

  • Using advanced psychology techniques to gain complete insight into the various learning styles of users
  • Journey mapping for multiple user profiles
  • Ongoing design and build of user interfaces
  • Personalised content for every user
  • Using the latest gamification techniques to improve course conversion and platform participation
  • Driving the project using agile methodologies in order to refine and develop features of the new site, from design right through to QA and delivery
  • Working collaboratively with software developers and Adobe’s Captivate Prime team to ensure the new platform meets the needs of multiple countries and some of the world’s largest retailers
  • Leading the project, taking user research, Microsoft requirements and our expertise in UI/UX to deliver an engaging experience to all users on time and to brief.
The results

Ongoing improvements in user numbers and engagement

Our UX-led redesigned learning platform is now live in over 3000 retailers across the world. Positive feedback has been received from hundreds of thousands of users on the new features that include rewards, community forums, and personal goals, with clear learning paths for missions and accreditations.

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