Central 1 Extranet Project

Project Details

Client: Central 1 Credit Union
My Role: Manager - Interactive Design, Art Director
Budget: N / A
Design Time: 6+ months
Tools: Photoshop, PowerPoint, Word & Visio
www: central1.com

Services Provided

  • Concept and Ideation
  • Analytics, Contextual Inquiry, Testing
  • Usability Testing and User Surveys
  • Creative and Art Direction
  • Wireframes, Mock-ups & Prototypes
  • Design Guidelines & Best Practices
  • User-centered Design & Testing Methodologies
  • Planning, Scheduling and Budgeting

Project Take-Aways

Designing and coordinating a robust, flexible solution for over 300 partner credit unions was a big, but rewarding challenge.- Dale Cody

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Central 1 Extranet

The challenge

Create an Extranet for over 300 partner credit unions.

The solution had to accommodate a complex ecosystem of technical, security, privacy, regulatory, finance and other considerations. There had to be mechanisms built in for a large and variable range of permissions and access to ensure data privacy and protection while also facilitating its free exchange between authorized entities. It had to scale well and IA requirements were extremely complicated.

In many respects, Central 1 Credit Union functions much like a central bank or reserve except that it is owned by its partner credit unions and provides many other services such as online and mobile banking, check processing and imaging, foreign funds exchange transactions etc. Every member credit union are simultaneously business partners and competitors so the dynamics can be complex and confusing. They need to communicate and work together, but still respect their individual brands, business models and customers.


The first steps we took were a complete audit and analysis of current systems and services being used within the credit union ecosphere. We conducted contextual inquiries, user testing, surveys, heuristics, focus groups and other methodologies to build a more complete picture of how this all currently functioned and how it could be improved.

We also conducted a lot of user testing and analysis at all points along the process to ensure we stayed on the right track. The consensus decision was to deploy Microsoft's SharePoint 2010 platform as the base and then customize it for our needs. This saved time and development costs and allowed us to leverage a large pool of resources available out in the world. We didn't want our solution to necessarily look like a Sharepoint product so we had to design around its strengths and limitations effectively

We designed the information architecture (IA), navigation and workflows to meet the needs of our users as identified in the research and testing process. Even so, each step in the process revealed new opportunities and potential pitfalls so our iterative approach to design worked well. My team worked well with other internal stakeholders was well as the handful of representative credit unions on-board to act as direct development partners for this project.


This was a massive project with many moving parts, but a strong approach to collaboration and communication yielded great results.

Despite resource constraints and other variables beyond our control, we stayed on target and kept to the project schedule and budget. I was fortunate that my team had some very strong and motivated performers participating in the project. Overall the resulting Extranet application met all business objectives and requirements, functioned well and was easy to use as well as brandable and visually attractive.

Image Examples

Central 1 Extranet Project Screen-shot

Central 1 Extranet Project Screen-shot