Disguised as a World-Class Intranet

UX Strategy & Design, Technology Strategy & Architecture, Rapid Prototyping
Rebuilding the HR touchpoint for one of the world’s largest NPOs and its 1,800 global employees.
case study hero gates 1

With almost 2,000 employees across the world and $69 billion in assets, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the second-largest charitable organization in the world. Stellar redesigned the charity’s intranet so that it could better manage its global workforce and achieve its mission to improve food and healthcare access in the developing world.


The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation needed a better way for its employees to communicate and share resources with each other. The company had an out-dated intranet for this purpose, and it was no longer effective and usage rates were dropping fast.

Redesigning the intranet would be a monumental task, bureaucratically and technically. The intranet was scattered across 10 different team websites, one for each department within the organization. The new ecosystem would have to unite them into a single comprehensive platform, and satisfy stakeholders from each of those teams.


Stellar started the redesign process with a two-day offsite at the Gates Foundation campus in Seattle, meeting with members of the 10 different internal teams at the organization and understanding their unique needs and roles within the organization. Stellar discovered there were over 200 different kinds of users who needed to use the platform and access its resources. Stellar then consulted with the foundation’s IT team to get a sense for the existing site’s infrastructure, and generate ideas on how to simplify it.

Because of the short timeline, Stellar had to iterate fast. It started with a rapid prototype, illustrating how the new HR portal would have a more effective UX and provide more utility for employees. After sign-off, Stellar spent the next several weeks developing a training plan to help internal stakeholders roll out the new intranet to each of their teams. This was followed by two on-site training seminars, led by Stellar team members with the intention of “training the trainers.” Stellar’s goal was to ensure that stakeholders from each of the 11 internal divisions would be able to on-board their teammates and get everyone in their group up and running on the new intranet.

case study slide gates

Because the portal is so user-friendly, foundation employees can now access HR resources themselves, on a self-serve, on-demand basis, instead of having to rely on HR staff to distribute them. This has generated significant operational efficiency for the Foundation and freed up employees to focus on what matters most: addressing inequity through healthcare, agriculture and educational development.

of people hours saved
fielding requests.
Operational efficiency went up and churn
rate was reduced.
  • Digital Strategy
  • Content Strategy
  • User Experience
  • Visual Design & Branding
  • Front-End Development
  • Back-End Development
  • Systems Integration