3 week project in a team of 4 UX Designers:
Maya Retterer, Eric Kimberlin, Maggie Tarwater and Leticia Jones
UX Research, UI Design, Branding and Marketing Strategy
Pay App Solutions is a small, experienced, woman-owned, accounting and bookkeeping business that specializes in construction finances.
They were experiencing high traffic through their website, but no one wanted to book their first quote... why?
After listening to our client's problem and getting to understand them better, we found that they have been advertising the business mainly through social media, and that their existing clients were acquired through word of mouth. They also wanted to expand the service to the entire US, because everything could be easily done online.
Our Research Plan x Our Challenges
Survey and getting to know the target audience... by getting only 1 response?
We started out with a survey geared for people who work in construction. We all sent the surveys through multiple sources online, we also directly reached out to people who might know someone in construction. We were faced with this same response, over and over again:
"I can try to reach out, but they barely know how to use their phone... I'm not sure about a survey."
We got a single response. That's when we realized we should try to broaden our target, so we started over, trying to target small businesses in general.
Survey #2: from construction workers to small businesses.
That's when I proposed that we do the best we can to reach out to construction workers and small business owners who would be willing to hop on a call for interviews and get as much as we can out of that instead.
We wanted that quantitative data so badly! But somehow, even after broadening our target and reaching hundreds if not thousands of people online, we still only got an extra 3 responses. Our team was frustrated and knew something was off with our approach. We never experienced getting so few responses on a quick survey before.
User Interviews... at last!
We were able to get in contact with 5 people for the interviews, and they all actually worked in construction! Of course, we didn't totally ignore our survey findings either, every bit of data counts. Here are the key things we learned from our research:
"I don't need the internet for my business, it's all about word of mouth."
"I am not tech-savvy, but will go online if I have to."
"I am most available in person or on the phone."
"I would expect a bookkeeper to be experienced, trustworthy, fast in response and cost-effective."
"I have trouble understanding the value of hiring a professional, and I often deal with finances on my own"
Tools/services commonly used for small business bookkeeping: Quickbooks, Sage, Zoho, H&R Block, Accountants, Pen and Paper.
To further guide our work and to help our client get a better understanding of their target audience, we created Ron. All of his information is based on our research findings.
We led an ideation session with a total of 20 participants, including our client who was excited about being a part of the process, to brainstorm ideas that would help Pay App Solutions to stand out and better meet their client's needs.
How can we help someone like Ron to see the value in hiring a professional bookkeeper?
How can we help him feel financially empowered, organized, and supported?
How can we boost Pay App Solutions' interaction with customers who may not be tech-savvy?
How can we help them convert website visits into new clients?
Top Ideas: Business Side
Shortly after the Ideation Session, we met directly with our client to discuss the results. We synthesized the responses into their own categories and had our client help us identify what were the ideas that could generate the highest amount of impact, with the least amount of effort from the business' end.
Proof of Savings
Ron needs to know how Pay App Solutions help him save money.
Pay App Solutions needs to shift its efforts to more personal approaches.
Ron needs to feel more confident about his decision.
Top Ideas: UX Team
During the ideation session, our client noticed something very worrying. The name of the company didn’t clearly communicate what her business was really about and neither did the logo, even after our group did our best explaining it to the participants. Many people still assumed it was an app.
We wanted to give our client the best we can. As the UX team, our digital expertise and the remaining week on our timeline, we offered what we considered to cause the highest impact with the lowest effort from our end:
We can reach Ron through more personal methods, but what if he visited the website?
Pay App Solutions needs to provide a clear image of who they are.
Pay App Solutions needs a better way to communicate with clients in the whole US.
At this point, I proposed to our team that it could be a good idea to try an in-depth usability test of Pay App Solutions' current website, with the goal of understanding a visitor's first impressions, what is currently working and what can be improved.
Usability Test of the Current Website
The number of popups started feeling a little overwhelming and decreased trust.
The home page didn't convey the true value of the business right away. We learned from our research that construction workers value experience and cost.
Many buttons were mislabeled. The chat button opened up a contact form, taking away the expectation of an instant response. "Learn More" took you to "Contact us", when participants expected to be taken to more information about the service. Meanwhile, "Get my free Estimate" opened up your e-mail application, taking you away from the website completely.
Despite the bookeeper being a certified Quickbooks ProAdvisor, participants felt that this page was an advertisement for a completely different company. The reason behind the certification and how it had to do with Pay App Solutions was unclear.
There was no indication on the website of where the service is from, or that they were opening to servicing the entire US. This made it difficult to know what are the actual hours of operation as well.
The logo above was the original logo our client started with. I made multiple hand sketches of logos and the team picked their favorite. After digitizing it, I provided multiple color variations so we could pick a favorite again. The winner was the larger version, on the right.
Brighter colors, more powerful shapes to draw more attention, a little nod to the previous logo while adding a little more context to what the business is about, the arrow pointing up is not only a way to indicate finances but also gives a sense of action.
We worked towards making the service look fresh and more professional. Our client liked the green and blue so we brightened them up a tad. We also picked a combination of fonts to make the website look more updated while still keeping it contrasty and readable to everyone.
We started out with multiple sketches of what the pages should look like, especially the client dashboard, our client's brand new feature.
We continued with multiple usability tests, in between every single step of the design, to make sure we were delivering the most intuitive possible design while also trying to convey the benefit of hiring Pay App Solutions. We tested people from multiple age groups, and with multiple levels of tech knowledge. Watch how the new design works:
Working with our first, real client, has taught us so much about bringing the best we can to help a business thrive while still keeping their own clients' needs in mind. Involving our clients in the UX process has also proven to be very rewarding, and one of the best ways that we can advocate to the user's needs.
We learned how UX can help not only create effective designs but also give the business the best strategy moving forward. We really look forward to seeing how much our work will impact this small business.
If we had more time, I would personally do even more usability tests, especially as the features get implemented, and I believe that getting feedback from actual clients would have been extremely helpful. It feels like there is never enough testing, and admittedly, together with user interviews, it is one of my favorite UX research methods so far.