Iterative design and usability testing support success of online loan application
Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union. They offer the Fair & Fast LoanTM, as a kinder, more financially responsible alternative to a traditional payday loan. When the loan product was introduced members needed to visit a branch to apply, and Vancity wanted to offer the loan application on the website and app. To truly live up to the Fair & Fast name, the product team embarked on a mission to:
- bake financial guidance into the application experience and,
- improve the convenience and speed to apply and gain approval.
Aalto Interactive was engaged to provide UX (user experience) design and usability leadership to work towards these goals with an internal Agile development team. In addition to the product team’s goals, Vancity’s Manager for User Experience and Digital Banking wanted tools and processes put in place that would provide a foundation for Vancity’s UX Community of Practice.
The product team had already completed a mobile prototype based on market research. An initial usability review with the product team’s business analyst identified opportunities to improve the user experience. Review findings were used to identify usability testing KPIs to track continuous improvement in:
- the success, speed & efficiency to complete the application, and
- customer comprehension of the loan benefits, requirements and financial concepts
Iterative usability testing cycles were planned to align with development sprints.
Through inviting collaboration with Vancity team members, our UX Director aimed to:
- Foster a better understanding of UX and how it fits within the Agile development process. Product team members were encouraged to take turns observing in-branch usability testing sessions to gain hands-on experience. Branch loan specialists participated in testing and provided their suggestions.
- Develop a user interface design system that merged standards developed for the brand, website and Vancity app. Representatives from marketing, UX leadership and the product team were consulted.
Iterative usability testing and design
Usability testing and design iterations were embedded within the sprint schedule:
- Test scripts and observation worksheet templates were updated for each test cycle with input from the product owner and business analyst.
- Testing results and recommendations were reviewed and prioritized with the team.
- Aalto Interactive’s UX Director provided branded responsive screen designs with desktop, tablet and mobile views. Design updates optimized the user interface for touch devices and accessibility.
The user interface design system tied standards together and supported agile development with:
- detailed documentation of user interface components with CSS styles
- usability best practices
- branded style guidelines including a suite of icons for the application
A successful launch
Vancity saw an increase of successfully funded Fair & Fast loan applications of just over 1500% within the first week after the launch of the online application on the website and Vancity app. Since then, Vancity has received positive feedback from branch staff and members on how easy and simple the application process is.
Tools and processes for the UX Community of Practice
- The UI design system improved productivity for the product team by providing guidelines and tools for a consistent user interface without the need to provide illustrations for every screen.
- The design system and usability testing tools and templates provided a foundation for the UX Community of Practice for future internal projects.
- In our project review & recommendations delivered to the UX manager, we were pleased to report that:
- The development team members expressed that they found usability testing to be a valuable tool to identify issues early and make improvements as part of the Agile process.
- Usability testing results provided the product team with satisfying proof of improvement in users’ comprehension of content and the efficiency and speed to complete the loan application.
- Overall, testing participants confirmed that the product lived up to the Fair & Fast name.