We worked with Instrument to upgrade their peer review process - improving usability, promoting genuine feedback, and seamlessly integrating it with their Human Development program.


Portland, OR
Fall 2018




John Pascarella
Erika Kallio

How can we innovate the peer review process to empower employees?

Disclaimer: The reviews and other depictions of Instrument employees are completely random and have no connection to the actual person. :)

Our values

We started with three foundations to inspire the changes we would make.


We will streamline and organize the formal peer review process.


We will utilize creative design to encourage authentic responses.


We will introduce casual and playful ways to give kudos to coworkers.

Some early UI sketches for the web experience

A personal guide

We focused heavily on making the process feel very guided. Peer reviews can be intimidating for newcomers or seen as a chore for seasoned employees, and we wanted to address both concerns. We started with an extremely simple homepage, and moved forward with a very minimal, step-by-step experience for the actual review. At any point, we wanted users to have zero doubt on what to do next.

Users begin the review with a recap.

If the user took notes on their coworker, the notes are accessible throughout the process.

A few warmup questions connect to the peer's personal goals.

Sliders present easy-to-answer questions that provide easily visualized growth data.

Open response questions employ a highly minimized interface with zero distractions.

After a review, users can easily move on to the next one without disrupting their flow.


Visual Language

What do employees need from peer review? Our visual design process had one major goal in mind: reducing cognitive load. We weren't changing the actual review questions in any major way, but we did have the freedom to change how they're presented. For us, this meant finding ways to make the information as easily digestible as possible. Additionally, at a design agency such as Instrument with a high standard for aesthetics, it had to look good.

Spread the word

Since this app, and therefore any advertising for the app, is seen by Instrument only, we weren't worried too much about staying strictly on-brand for the posters. Instead, we took inspiration from the fun and creative style often used in posters around the Instrument office, and focused on designs that felt eye-catching and visually interesting.


By identifying ways to innovate the peer review process, Instrument will have the opportunity to better foster the success and growth of its employees. With our product, employees can be easily guided through every step of the peer review process, armed with more insightful information and a fuller understanding of their responsibilities.

But wait, there's more...

While the peer review process allows for formal feedback, we wanted to include a more casual way for coworkers to appreciate each other. We created Fistbump, a lighthearted way to recognize a peer's good work and give kudos.

A job well done

Fistbump is a broad concept that can easily be molded to fit Instrument's culture and needs. We took inspiration from multiple different companies that have kudos systems, such as Google (who even includes monetary rewards.)

Fistbump can integrate with slack and post a public congratulation message

Visual language

Fistbump's design style is decidedly more unique and experimental than the regular peer review. Instrument is a company full of creative people, and a lighthearted tool is a great way to include some fun design that would be appreciated by the people using it. We put more emphasis on colors in Fistbump, as well as unique typographic style.

Visual style guide, provided by Instrument in the project brief. We felt that the playful, artsy, and experimental side of the style could be put to use much more effectively in Fistbump than in the primary peer evaluation.


By including a fun and carefree way to congratulate and appreciate coworkers, Fistbump can help separate a social style of feedback with professional performance reviews. Additionally, Fistbump provides an easy and satisfying way to make the office even more encouraging and friendly, with endless room for customization.



John Pascarella

Erika Kallio


John Pascarella

Erika Kallio

Experience Design

Erika Kallio

Peer review visual design

John Pascarella

Fistbump visual design

John Pascarella

Erika Kallio

Peer review prototype

John Pascarella

Fistbump prototype

Erika Kallio

Poster designs

John Pascarella

Erika Kallio

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