About this project
As a product designer, I collaborated with multiple stakeholders including product owners, developers, business analysts, program managers, and project managers to define requirements for, and create an interactive prototype to test with current and prospective clients.
I also managed the development efforts of our external technology partners whose application we were integrating with our application while coordinating with internal engineering teams. My role was to ensure quality development and implementation of integrated technologies, migrating current clients and on-boarding new clients onto the platform, and working with engineering to implement new product features.
This application allows a bank’s customers to redeem rewards points they receive from spending to receive cashback, merchandise, travel, and gift cards.
• Primary audience: Bank Rewards Customers
• Secondary audience: Customer Service Representatives
• Tertiary audience: Bank product and program managers
The company’s clients, who are banks, want to offer rewards programs to their customers. Their goals are to reward customers who engage with them and encourage them to engage more deeply.
My company has built such sites for other customers and wants to leverage that work to efficiently offer sites to other customers in ways that also satisfy their brand and business needs.
As a client bank with customers, we can offer a rewards program to our customers, so that they are encouraged to use our credit card to make more purchases because of the offers and other benefits they receive.
As a client bank, we can have a site that reflects our brand and can be built and maintained at the lowest possible cost, so that the cost of offering the program is low enough for us to make a profit.
As a financial services institution, we want to offer rewards programs to as many of our clients as possible, so that we make more money on our rewards program offerings than it costs to build and maintain the rewards sites for all client banks.
How I gathered user insights
I gathered insights from the first application (from user interviews and surveys), understanding the personas to understand what users need and motivations, and data (metrics) from support calls.
I performed a heuristic review on the application designed and implemented for the first client to evaluate any user flaws. I reviewed the existing application to determine what works well and what may not work well for the assumed persona.
To help understand who we are building solutions for, I create a persona. This also helps the team gain empathy for the user and their needs. Based on the surveys and data analysis from the first client application, I created an archetype of a real user. I would often refer back to that persona throughout the process as a guide to help make user assumptions.
To better understand how the existing system works, I created a user journey to evaluate what about the current flow creates friction and what needs to change.
I like to think of site maps as the road map of your application. It helps to better understand how users will look for information and navigate through the application. I shared the sitemap with the internal stakeholders so they could have a visual representation of the can use the direction the site is heading and ensure all of the functionality from the project requirements document is accounted for.
User Flows (refinements)
As part of the brainstorming session, I may lead an ideation session with the team, or perform the work myself (if necessary) to improve the user’s journey. It’s important to collaborate with product and engineering in this process because the optimal user experience may have to be adjusted to accommodate engineering constraints or other business objectives.
On this project, many of the reward redemption transactions would be handled by a new third-party technology vendor (not the one used for the original application). Our application acted as an “outer layer” to the module they were creating. It was important for me to create user flows for all of the redemption flows and then confirm the accuracy with the vendor’s product and design teams.
User wants to redeem points for cashback.
Ideation: how I came up with a solution
I explored possible solutions with paper sketches to quickly iterate through design options and immediate feedback. It’s also a faster way to communicate and validate design changes throughout the design process. I use these sketches for concept testing and to gain feedback from stakeholders.
After gaining feedback from stakeholders, I narrowed down the options, then created a hypothesis by explicitly stating what the outcome of the interactions will be. My hypothesis was it would be easier for users to perform redemption transactions if the redemption types were organized into categories on the home page, and when selected, would take the user to the landing page for each category to perform the redemption. In the old client platform, all redemptions were performed inline on the homepage and users had to scroll down to find the redemption category they were looking for.
How I proved my hypothesis
Next, I designed a solution to support my hypotheses with low-fidelity wireframes to help work on a layout and the application’s hierarchy. I didn’t get too much into the details of the pages, focusing mostly on 4 major components: navigation, page structure, content layout, and user flows
I created low-fidelity wireframes to help work on a layout and the application’s hierarchy. I don’t get too much into the details of the pages, focusing mostly on 4 major components:
Without access to current users, I used feedback from internal stakeholders, such as product owners, sales representatives, and program managers to help refine my design.
In my final design, I made sure to address some of our initial problems: responsiveness, accessibility, and customizable components for banks to customize the platform with their branding, messaging, and allow them to easily remove the program modules they do not want for their customers.
Homepage for Rewards Redemption App
The homepage allows for our banking clients to easily customize their branding, marketing messages, promotions, images, and display the rewards programs available to their customers. If banks want to change their programs, a redemption card can easily be removed or added.
For customers, they can easily see their available redeemable points and select the rewards programs to perform redemptions.
Landing page for Cashback Rewards
Users can select a program available to begin the redemption process.
Statement Credit redemption
When users begin the redemption process, they can see how the number of steps in the process with a progress tracker,
Users can see their redeemable points available and have the option to choose to redeem all points, enter the points to redeem which auto-populates the dollar amount to redeem, or enter the dollar amount to redeem which auto-populates the number of points to redeem.
How I validated the outcome
Usability testing is a great way to get feedback from real users about the ease and functionality of your application, and to determine if the design meets expectations.
Ask 5 users to redeem points for a Statement Credit
Ask 5 users to review their transactions for the last 60 days
There wasn’t enough of a visual difference between the homepage and the cashback landing page. Users weren’t sure they had successfully navigated to a new page.
Users weren’t sure which fields they could edit during the statement credit transactions.
The internal stakeholders were very happy with the final design.
My team won a company award for our work on this project.
I am running demos in sales pitches for current and prospective clients. The feedback has been positive and multiple clients have entered the implementation pipeline.
There was friction between the best user experience for the customer representative portal and administrative tool and current limitations of the current back-end software design. Additionally, many of the back-end software is owned by multiple teams and created in “silos” so the functionality for similar tasks is quite different. It is going to take quite a bit more time and effort to implement this functionality and may require design changes to make the application work around current engineering constraints.