Responsive Pulse

Creating a better workplace with Undercurrent

Undercurrent specializes in helping large companies adapt to the changing culture of work by emphasizing the importance of transparency, experimentation, and autonomy.

Strategists at Undercurrent needed to demonstrate to clients 1) the distinguishing traits of successful modern companies and 2) the degree to which the client’s company did or didn’t exhibit those traits.

Their solution was to design a short survey for employees. Initially, the survey was a Google form, connected to a spreadsheet that could be manually turned into a set of charts and graphs. This process was time-consuming, and made it difficult to share insights in a consistent and timely manner.

Project Goals

  • Create a single tool to provide analytics to external advertisers as well as internal sales and marketing teams.
  • Generate automatic real-time reports for advertisers
  • Bring all analytics into a single dashboard
  • Make the dashboard accessible to all types of users, regardless of disabilities


  • Responsive UI design
  • User testing
  • Branding
  • Accessibility optimization


  • MongoDB back-end
  • React front-end
  • API creation & integration

What We Did

We turned Undercurrent’s spreadsheets into a custom survey tool that instantly illustrated the data in a meaningful way.

Filtering the data

To better understand the survey data, we made it possible to filter survey respondents’ answers based on tenure, rank, and department. This allowed the Undercurrent team to understand differences in opinion across the organization.

We used a combination of languages and libraries to provide instant feedback when applying filters, without requesting new data from the server. This sped up the discovery process, saving time in the most crucial stage of the research process.

Dashboard Design

We wanted the data visualizations to provide a lot of data, without sacrificing control or precision. In early iterations, we explored using “spider” or “radar” charts for the Pulse because they can be good for displaying multi-modal data in a small space. However, users found them hard to read. Data that started off with a high degree of accuracy became difficult to read when presented in a radar chart, making it difficult to find patterns or correlations.

By eschewing the radar charts for clearer 1-and-2-dimensional visualizations, we made it much easier for users to comprehend the complex data returned by the surveys.

When Undercurrent was purchased by Quirky, we decided to open-source the Pulse project. You can find the source code here. Josh Gross, lead developer


Planetary helps us design, counsel, and build products for our and our clients’ future. Their brilliance and range are rare; we trust them on backend and the boardroom. They are a critical partner for us in making ambitious organizations more responsive.
Jordan Husney, Director at Undercurrent


A custom survey tool is only as good as its visualization and reporting dashboard. Likewise, a great dashboard can’t succeed without accurate data. With the Pulse, we worked hard to make both aspects work together in harmony.