top of page


GC Tools Reboot


GC Tools wanted to update it's suite of user-led platforms to better reflect the current needs of public servants and their partners, and to better meet their expectations for digital collaboration platforms.

Role - UX & Strategy Manager

I led a team of 6 people in creating a strategy for the research, design and build of the GC Tools platforms. This involved creating strategic alignment at the management and executive level, gathering business requirements, briefing senior management, as well as leading the UX research and UI design of new platforms, while working alongside development to bring these designs to life.


Me + 3 UX designers/researchers, and 3 strategic analysts.

Project findings were reported the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Chief Information Office for the Government of Canada, as well as the Chief Technology Officer. We also shared research and findings with Apolitical in the UK.

Context & Approach


The GC Tools are a suite of platforms that were created by the Government of Canada in 2017. These tools were intended to support public servants in collaborating better with each other across agencies and departments, and with external stakeholders. The tools include messaging functions, social platforms, career platforms and a wiki.


In 2020, during the Covid pandemic, the tools saw explosive use as public servants endeavoured to continue working online. The pandemic, however, also elevated user expectations for collaboration tool. The Government of Canada saw a need for improving these tools to meet those higher user expectations and to support the growing demand of a hybrid workforce. Our team used generative UX research to not only improve the tools, but to reimagine online collaboration in the public sector. 

Creative Working


  • Generative UX

  • Visioning Workshops and Strategic Planning

  • Cardsorting & Tree testing

  • Usability Testing

  • Surveys

  • Heuristic Evaluation

  • Personas

  • Content Audit

  • Site mapping and user flows

  • Focus Groups

  • User Interviews

  • High fidelity prototyping

We started work by aligning management through several workshops. We began by rethinking the value proposition of the platforms, identifying their pain points and visioning their potential. From that point, we were able to agree on tangible goals for the products and prioritize these along a timeline. This gave us a clear idea of what needed to be done when in order to deliver on business requirements and our user stories. We also developed design standards which we would use to evaluate our products. My team designed and led these sessions. We continuously briefed senior management on progress based on these goals.

We then began the process of UX research. First, we reviewed all legacy research and updated personas to better reflect DE&I groups and the realities of hybrid working. Next, we began a heuristic evaluation of the pages of the main social platform, GCCollab. We analysed every major page of the site based on 10 heuristics and found nearly 70 violations. We also reviewed dozens of pages of site content and identified several areas in which content was out of date, duplicated or did not meet the standards of engagement that we had identified in our design principles. This early research gave us a clear understanding of the need to update the platform as a whole.

Generative UX research was key to our process moving forward. We didn't just want to give the site an aesthetic polish, we wanted it to connect with users of all walks of life; from public sector, to students, to private sector, to NGO partners. We used surveys, moderated card sorting workshops, and user interviews to better understands the issues our users faced. This gave us a better sense the need for searchability, findability, accessibility, and modern collaboration features (whiteboards, group messaging, video). We also engaged with thought leaders in the field of public sector collaboration to inspire our work; groups like Apolitical and New_public.

A desktop computer displays the old homepage of GCCollab

Generative UX was crucial to going beyond aesthetic polish and reimagining the potential of collaborative tools across the government and beyond. 

We used these findings to design clear site maps and user flows for the whole platform and tested these at every step with our user based. Finally, we moved to Figma to design interactive high fidelity prototypes that we could stress test with developers and users. We designed several iterations based on barriers developers identified and user reactions. For example, more substantive functionality additions could not be made until a new engine had been build to run the platform, so we made aesthetic changes in the interim to help the user better navigate the site. We added labels and descriptors where these were missing and tags to aid searching until a better search function could be developed.

Our team knew that users were the heart and soul of these platforms, so we did not want them to feel left behind in the changes. To prevent this from happening, we shared communications with users through emails and banners, so that they were always informed of an impending change before, during and after it happened.

A modern laptop displays the new login page of GCCollab
Designs for the new home page of GCCollab

GC Collab redesigned



The output from our UX and strategy work culminated in a new, reimagined site for GC Collab. The social platform was redesigned to have clearer and more intuitive information architecture, a more modern look and feel, added collaboration functionality (like videos and group chat), as well as a mobile friendly design.

These designs are currently in development and we hope to see them live by 2025. Research and design for the other GC Tools is in progress. There are some obstacles to this work, however, primarily related to the bulk of legacy content. The wiki poses the greatest challenge as it requires a thorough ROT analysis. Users have responded really well to the designs for GC Collab and we hope to bring this vision of collaboration to all the GC Tools as this work continues.

Anchor 1
bottom of page