William Coombes

People-First Leader. Passionate Creator. Strategic Design Practitioner.

The intersection of people and products has always fascinated me.
In my 20-year career as a Designer, Engineering Manager and Design Executive, I’ve channeled that curiosity into aligning product, technical and creative teams in execution of a larger vision. Currently focusing on this challenge statement: How might we set the leader in payments (Visa) on a course to becoming a true design-led organization?
I’m proud of what progress has looked like thus far – for myself and our team. I’ve had the opportunity to drive design and dev efforts for Visa’s first foray into the direct-to-consumer space, Rightcliq, and facilitated the first commercial implementation of the WCAG 2.0 standard. I’ve spearheaded UX and visual design for Visa’s developer platform, and built out the company’s first-ever, in-house UX lab, complete with 1,500 square feet of human-testing capabilities and goodness. Most importantly, I’ve strived to create an environment where the best visual designers, UX engineers and usability analysts can create transformative new experiences, usher older interfaces into a digital world and have a meaningful career with people they actually like. We’ve succeeded in growing a true UX team with roots in San Francisco, Austin, New York, Bellevue and across the globe. But we’re just getting started.

Design @ Visa

Visual Design, Research, Design Operations, Design Engineering –   one dynamic team.

I led a multi-year effort to create a single, unified design team within the company. Previously, design was scattered across multiple silos with a lack of standardization across hiring, design methodology, design advocacy and performance management. By successfully influencing senior executive management to consolidate functions, we’ve put Visa on the path to becoming a truly “design-first” enterprise.

Whether focusing on user research, financial inclusion through accessibility, supporting an Open Visa or leading client co-creation sessions, Design at Visa strives to raise the bar for all Visa applications and services. Anchored by our network of Global Innovation Centers and our UX Research Center in Austin, Global Design excels in creating lasting partnerships with Product and Development organizations across the enterprise.

Design System

**DELAYED ROLLOUT DUE TO SXSW CANCELATION** In partnership with Product and Technology, my team and I have built a comprehensive design language, pattern library and technology stack. “Ready to roll” components for development teams – supported by well-researched and -tested modules – reduce development time and ensure consistency across all Visa channels (consumer, B2B and Merchant). The result is elegant, usable experiences no matter the device.


In 2013, Visa proactively identified a barrier to WCAG 2.0 adoption (and, therefore, progress toward widespread web accessibility) due to the complexity and volume of information in the standard. Under my direction, our team embarked upon the task of distilling WCAG 2.0 into concrete requirements, tests, code snippets, tools, how-to videos and online training. We made these available, first, internally and then released them to the public in March 2019 for anyone who wants to implement accessibility.

Visa’s Accessibility team updates and maintains these requirements, as well as provides support and consulting to teams enterprise-wide with the goal of making Visa products fully accessible globally.

VGAR logo

"We have the opportunity to rise as a Design organization that isn’t thought of as a Product afterthought, but rather a solid foundational pillar that stands alongside of Product and Technology."
– Key Note - Global Design Summit 2019

Product + Design Wins

At my core I’m a design practitioner. In my years at Visa, I’ve had the opportunity to direct the visual design, dev and UX efforts for a number of key products whose continued evolution has prominently shaped Visa’s offerings today.

Rightcliq by Visa logo

Visa’s first direct-to-consumer online application, Rightcliq allowed a user to create a virtual wallet to expedite the checkout experience.

Visa Checkout logo

Took learnings from V.Me and Checkout combined with user-centered design and user testing to promote Visa's perspective in the Secure Remote Commerce specs.

Visa Developer logo

Initial growing pains but long term relationship building with product and tech has transformed the offering over time.

Partner Portal logo

Used previous learnings to problem solve quickly, build an immediate collaborative and productive relationship with product & tech. shortened time to market

Visa Austin

As site leader for Visa’s second largest U.S. location, I’m responsible for creating an environment that empowers 2,000+ employees in Austin to bring the best of themselves to work each day. Visa Austin comprises staff in Finance, Human Resources, Product, Risk, Client Support and Technology. Through this role I’ve been not only heavily involved in space planning, building design, security and operations, but have served as an executive sponsor for Diversity & Inclusion programs and a liaison to the City of Austin and State of Texas.

Will leading a meeting in a Visa Austin conference room.
Pictures of Visa Austin employees Pictures of Visa Austin employees


As a dedicated Austinite and business leader, I’m committed to making sure corporations in Austin get involved in improving the community, as well as elevating Visa’s profile and championing design within our city.

SAFE logo Austin Design Week logo
ZACH logo San Francisco Design Week logo
AIGA logo Creative JAM logo