Robert Woods Johnson Foundation

Extending the Robert Woods Johnson experience

Client: Desantis Briendel
Date: August 29, 2016
Services: User Experience, UI Design
Credit: Clinton, C. - Desantis CD

MyRWJF - Robert Woods Johnson Foundation


MyRWJF is a responsive portal that is only accessible to applicants or grantee’s, administrators and reviewers of the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation application, administrative and review process. The purpose of the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation is to provide grants that support a wide array of research and programs which work towards improving the national Culture of Health.

Roles and responsibilities

  • UX audit and recommendations
  • Client presentations and reviews
  • UI design
  • Invision Prototypes (internal + client facing)
  • DB Zeplin learning session + team handoff

UX Process


I started by better understanding and listening to the client’s needs, then auditing the existing experience and work that Desantis had already completed in phase 1. From this initial audit and research, I was able to gather insights and dive into written recommendations and low fidelity sketches. I was able to validate 99% of the client’s user journey details so a push for user interviews and more research wasn’t recommended initially.

Develop Recommendations

The recommendations for The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation project were largely based on solutions for an improved user experience in how the redesigned experience behaved and made shorter work of larger tasks. Improved UI elements and addressing User Flows for specific use cases was high on our list. The client was onboard with our auto-save recommendation, something I had recognized solved two problems in the experience and pushed for. Interestingly enough, the client’s development team and stakeholders had seen the need for auto-save before but there were technological challenges at that time and it fell off their radar.

A system of notifications and alerts was recommended and implemented based on the new user types and their Jobs To Be Done. While this is a responsive experience, we omitted extremely complex tables and some features from the mobile experience based on my recommendations that:

  • Mobile content is digested differently that desktop content
  • The analytics we asked the clients team for showed very low usage in support of removing them
  • Not all desktop UI patterns translate smoothly to a mobile experience
  • It was recommended to later A – B test features if and when better mobile solutions exited

It was recommended internally by Desantis to extend the HTML Style Guide with the newly created patterns and solutions which I thought was a wonderful idea as the start to a future design system for elements found across all Robert Woods Johnson Foundations use cases.

The Work

Design System

Since the components and design recommendations were now expanding across more user types and interfaces it was an important time to start thinking about a design system or at the very least extending the current HTML style guide into a repository or framework.


This was a great project that extended the initial efforts into a possible future framework and created new user flows for 3 new teams. It was also great in the sense that Desantis Briendel is a smaller but nimble shop, mainly traditional marketing, and early-stage digital asset and content development so there is plenty of room to manage other parts of a projects efforts without it becoming a political dance between teams.