Case Study

How Visa customized their Lithium Community to boost engagement

The Visa Developer Platform is designed to empower developers to transform great ideas into new digital commerce experiences using Visa’s proprietary APIs. Over the last several years, Visa has fundamentally evolved both its platforms and how it works with partners and clients, to encourage a broadening of the commerce ecosystem. From geo-location to real-time alerts and tokenization, the Visa Developer Platform offers direct access to a growing number of APIs, tools, and support materials so developers can start building easier, faster, and more secure ways to power digital commerce. The Visa Developer community is an integral part of the program that provides peer-to-peer support, discussions, and fosters shared knowledge.

  • Goal

    Upon opening its network in 2016 with the launch of Visa Developer Platform, Visa needed a way for external developers to connect to the Visa Developer team, interact, become inspired, and access educational and support articles.

  • Solution

    A Lithium-powered community that is easy to use, delivers relevant content, and encourages developers to engage with each other and the Visa team.

Visa had an existing community page when you launched the platform. What drove the decision to re-design the page?

Our goal is to be a credible resource for developers. However, the first version of the community page was too blog-heavy and not easy to navigate to the developer forum. Despite the blog-focused design, the forum was still getting high traffic because the Visa team was answering their questions. After a few months, we started asking ourselves: How can we better approach developers so they know we are here to support them?

We looked at best practices from other online communities and liked how Lithium’s community homepage is structured and designed. The thought was to put the forum front and center so that developers could get there easily and realize that they can find support and connect with our team.

What did the redesign process look like?

Our very talented UX team led the redesign. We sent them the Lithium Community page as inspiration and we partnered with the Lithium team to customize the design specifically to Visa’s brand. Our engineers studied the Lithium docs and were able to use Lithium’s features to create an experience personalized to our company and our users. Major kudos to them.

What made this experience seamless was that the services Lithium provided were flexible enough to allow this type of customization. We were able to keep the community features that Lithium delivers for Community engagement like gamification and forums. This growth has allowed us to staff up with more team members to help manage the inquiries. We now have a much better sense of what our community wants and how to engage with members. Next, we’re looking at retention, so users keep coming back.

“As of May 2018, the Visa Developer community page is the most visited page on the Visa Developer Center. We have increased users by more than 124% with more engagement than ever before.”

— Ricardo Navarro | Director of Community, Visa Developer




Your community is unique within Visa. Tell us more about that.

As a global business, we work with more than 16,000 financial institutions and major partners, which had not necessitated the need for an open, online community quite like this. Launching Visa Developer gave us an opportunity to create a more open dialogue that all of our clients, partners, merchants and developers could benefit from. We are an example within the company that shows the positive benefits of engaging more openly and collaboratively.

The other great thing about our site is we included a soft launch of gamification during the redesign. There is still much more to come in this space, but we are really pushing the limits of what we can do so that we can help our developers get what they need to do their job. For example, we’re starting to weave in some of gamification and recognition features so that developers want to come, stay, and participate with us; and be rewarded for it, too.

“The community built on the Lithium platform allows the engineering team to push recent feature updates without waiting for the monthly product release cycle. This allows the engineering team to experiment more and provide a better experience to the developers/users.”

— Ved Prakash Agarwal | Engineer Manager, Visa Developer

What did you learn through the process?

When it comes to building an engaging community online, let the data drive your decisions. Since our forums were getting the most traffic, we knew we had to amp that up. And through our user testing we saw developers using forums on other brand’s communities. The data can also help dictate the content you share on the community as well. We saw our technical articles were the most engaging content in clicks and shares—which is why these articles are featured at the top of our Community homepage. We continue to let data drive our community relations and roadmap today.

What’s next for you?

A big area of focus is increasing peer-to-peer support to make this as vibrant of a community as possible. Right now, we are performing really well in visits and new posts compared to when we first launched, but we want this to be a platform for developers to support and inspire each other, too. Crowdsourcing helps our developers learn from each other and we want it to lead to a channel for inspiration so they can see how our partners are leveraging Visa’s APIs. We can already see super-users popping up, so we may use Lithium gamification features to encourage them to continue to help others.

The team is also making sure this community is global, both externally and online. The Visa Developer Platform touches every region so we need to mirror that in our Community as well. Right now, we are working with our regional marketing teams to find a means to build regional-specific content and make sure those developers find a home in our strong, growing community.