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Karolina Szczur

Summary #

Help Scout is an all-in-one platform for providing support and cultivating relationships with your customers. As a Design Engineer on the Design Team, I was responsible for technical ownership of Help Scout’s marketing site and design system, bridging the gap between design and marketing departments.

Building the rebrand #

In 2018, it became apparent that the current Help Scout brand didn’t reflect the company values and was no longer best at portraying the value the product brings. It was time for a change. The primary goal of the project was to freshen up the brand through new colours, typography, grids and distinct illustration style. The marketing page hasn’t been entirely rewritten since the inception of the business!

I’ve built the new marketing site with a focus on boosting web performance, increasing accessibility and maintainability of the project that’s crucial to achieving business objectives. All of these goals were met with modern technologies and tools.

A closeup of screen printer showing a black women's cut t-shirt having 'Computed Style' printed on the chest area.

New Help Scout site was full of little user experience delights—mostly performant transitions and animations; a realm where a skilled designer with front-end skills can really shine:

This highly collaborative project was a successful exercise in consistent, value-driven branding.

Published on Help Scout by Linda Eliasen
Making (and Breaking) the Help Scout Brand
Published on Help Scout by Karolina
The technical debt myth

Improving UX through auditing #

Housekeeping is as important as building new features. I kicked off and delivered several initiatives to improve the maintainability and UX of Help Scout’s marketing. I took time to significantly increase web performance and meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Amongst my responsibilities was also managing the marketing design system. Because I’ve created and managed several design systems previously, I knew how systems can grow uncontrollably, which then impacts brand perception and the ability to contribute. That’s why focused specifically on reducing the variability in colour and text size:

Document listing typographic scales, including headings and body copy, with sizes, color, letter spacing and weights for mobile and desktop.

Creating an audit of the design tokens was helpful for marketing designers to guide new type scales and a colour palette in the upcoming redesign:

“Karolina is an extremely thoughtful and passionate designer. She always strives to do what’s right for the user. Her advocacy and care for principles like accessibility, experience, performance, and documentation improved how teams approached design, product, and engineering.”

Portrait of Jon Quach

Jon Quach

Design Engineer @ Help Scout

Exploring a better way to contribute #

I’m a big supporter of enabling everyone to contribute, no matter their role. While working closely with the Marketing Team, it became evident that publishing content and making changes to Help Scout’s website was unnecessarily difficult. Relying on developers to make the simplest copy changes while maintaining a robust blog and executing on a variety of marketing initiatives is far from ideal for business goals.

I collaborated with multiple stakeholders to establish a way that would allow anyone to contribute changes without developer-level expertise. This strategic, R&D project involved interviewing stakeholders to identify the scope (the biggest obstacles and would-love-to-see features) and substantial research to propose implementation solutions. The result was an actionable strategy documentation that could be then executed. In the words of my colleague:

“While we worked together at Help Scout, Karolina took on a pie-in-the-sky project (a complicated exploration of the marketing + design team's transition to a CMS) that had previously been dismissed as too daunting by everyone else faced with the prospect in the previous several years.

She broke it down into manageable pieces that she chipped away at systematically until the project moved from exploratory to an inevitability—all while balancing and making meaningful progress on a number of other high-priority projects.”

Portrait of Emily Triplett Lentz

Emily Triplett Lentz

Content Strategy Lead @ Help Scout