MarkLogic Pharma R&D Data Hub

MarkLogic was nearing the public launch of a rather ambitious and complex product for the Pharma R&D market and needed to align its brand and product styles, as well as have a killer visual design.

Problem statement

The engineering team at MarkLogic was nearing the public launch of their new Pharma R&D Data Hub project and wanted to have a better experiential design. I was engaged to help them do this in about 5 weeks’ time—in order for them to announce it at their annual user conference.

Roles and responsibilities

  • Worked with 2-3 engineers and a product owner to identify and review the work that needed to be done for the product launch.
  • I needed to create a workable and cohesive visual design that helped researchers see their search efforts at a glance while keeping things flexible for them.
  • Integrate MarkLogic brand guidelines and some disparate UI guidelines from other projects into a workable design system for this product.

Scope and constraints

  • Not ideal timing for bringing in UX, which was acknowledged.
  • Time was a major factor. We had 5 weeks for me to gather, review, synthesize, and design a unified experience and for the team to implement. We had to move fast!
  • The core research UI wasn’t in scope. Only the search and project view to organize and view the data (abstracts, categorizations, authors, etc.) that were available to the researchers.
  • The engineering team provided some rough wireframes with concepts that they had used during their development effort.


  • Gathered, reviewed, and processed all related documentation for brand guidelines, product functionality, and content needs.
  • I quickly created a working component-based design system in Figma for the product and used that to guide the design of the essential screens and flows.
  • Collaborated with the engineering team to review and modify the designs as needed to deliver in time for launch.

Outcomes and lessons learned

  • Was able to deliver a working design system with an interactive prototype to guide the engineering team through their implementation enabling them to successfully launch their Pharma R&D Data Hub project.
  • Feedback from the team indicated that this was one of MarkLogic’s most successful product launches and it was largely due to the work done in the weeks leading up to the product release.