How Split.io Built a Release
Platform Developers Love

The old development joke about “testing in production” has been a reality for a long time now, and in response engineering teams at most companies have cobbled together their own tools to test in production and release code to segments of their user base. These approaches often have mixed results: gains in time-to-release can come at the expense of the stability of user experience.  The founders of Split were once those engineers themselves, building custom release tools internally at LinkedIn and RelateIQ (now: SalesforceIQ) before they decided to create a single service—a platform for controlled code rollout—that could deliver features for any company.

By the time they’d met Hero Digital, Split had built an initial version of their product, released it to beta customers, and received feedback. They knew they’d addressed the basics, but a quickly expanding feature roadmap would stretch the bounds of the existing UI. Enter Hero, and a multidisciplinary design team to help distill all of the newly requested and planned features into one product.

Research & Market Validation

Hero approached the project with intensive research, speaking to vice presidents of engineering at top enterprise startups and several engineering teams that had built their own code-release tools. We also met with the development, sales, executive, and marketing teams at Split to determine which user flows and features were critical to success. That exercise helped the team hone in on the key pain-points developers were experiencing, how they were addressing those problems internally, and what sort of UX approaches might help developers in the future.

With market validation, customer feedback, and user-persona research complete, the team set to work on design. Focusing first on the Split’s editor, they helped plan out what features it needed to have, how they would work, and how that functionality would be communicated to users. The team also talked through the brand and visual design of Split, deciding that it should be visually inviting and easy-to-use, but still harness the power of an enterprise-grade platform.

In just three months Hero delivered everything Split needed to build the next phase of its service. About 70% of that work was included in the company’s October 2016 release, and the rest will be incorporated into the product over the next several months. Even before those new features are added, the service goes well beyond any alternatives in its capabilities and ease-of-use. Split is now a controlled-rollout platform that goes beyond feature flags, enabling anyone to manage feature rollout for multiple languages, target users, monitor performance, and kill problem features.


  • 3 months start to finish

  • 15+ new features

  • 0 customer service calls

Implementing a digital asset management system that saves time and money.
Taking the Dreamforce experience global.
Building a tool that makes software releases seamless.
Redesigning to streamline eCommerce and boost revenue.
Connecting 25,000 Lean In Circles across the globe.
Cutting bounce rate in half.
Integrating an acquisition and site update in one effective re-brand.
Keeping conference-goers connected, around the world and through the year.
Building a web experience to support new products and an IPO.
Designing features and workflows to make an analytics tool useful to all business users.
Designing a more personalized B2B experience.
Re-envisioning the customer experience across product lines.
A customer community that supports the country's charter schools.
Broadening the user experience to reach more customers.