Reimagining a new landing page experience to educate users about Kiva.
Role: product designer, user researcher
Timeline: June 2020 - August 2020
Deliverable: landing page designs, primary research, research insights
Kiva is a non-profit organization that allows people to lend money to low-income entrepreneurs and students in 77 countries. Kiva's mission is "to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive."
After working on a UX research project for Kiva in the spring of 2020, I had the opportunity to join Kiva as a product design intern on the onboarding product team. I worked a variety of projects, but my main focus was reimagining user onboarding through a redesigned landing page and onboarding flow.
In this case study, I worked on a product experiment to test whether displaying loan cards on the landing page (in addition to improving the homepage generally) would increase conversion rates.
Kiva's homepage was experiencing high traffic but low conversion rates (that is, a user funding a loan on kiva.org). Kiva hypothesized that showing loan categories on the front page would increase conversion rates.
Prior user research into Kiva's landing page also revealed a critical pain point for users: that users did not understand Kiva or its value proposition and did not feel incentivized to use the product on the landing page.
To solve the low conversion rate and the pain point (that users don't understand Kiva), I tackled a homepage redesign that would feature Kiva borrowers on the homepage, to educate and compel users to use Kiva.
How might we design a landing page experience that educates users about Kiva, both explicitly and implicitly?
I relied on existing user research to inform my design process I had conducted a few months ago due to time constraints and the fact that my design was an A/B test, and not a complete home redesign. Of course, I would've preferred to perform user research!
Some relevant sample insights from the ethnographic and usability testing research I conducted included:
The landing page does not communicate to new users what Kiva is, how it works, and why it’s special.
For many, it is very difficult to choose a loan because there are so many lending opportunities.
People don’t understand how organizations with financial intermediaries work; it’s ambiguous how the money is used.
I started the design process keeping in mind the business and user goals. I envisioned that a hero unit with easy to understand copy above the fold would help users better understand Kiva. To address users' concerns surrounding the credibility of Kiva, I sought to include a statistics section and some sort of social proof. It was also key to include a module detailing how Kiva works.
Iterating + Feedback
The overall information hierarchy here was intuitive, but the design overall needed more fidelity.
Modules here - like the loan card category row - were much more fleshed out, but had a lot of inconsistency in branding and visual design. For example, having a large photo in the hero unit felt inconsistent with the playful imagery below the fold.
High Fidelity Design
After iteration and feedback, I refined my design and simplified the visual design and branding. Instead of large photos that stretched the entire screen, I focused on a minimal color palette that would bring front and center the most important information for users.
A Deeper Dive into the UX
According to research, users did not understand Kiva's previous homepage. Above the fold, I designed a module to educate users explicitly (through copy). Yet users would also learn more about Kiva via the Instagram Stories-like loan cards that automatically play on the landing page.
Below the fold, I created a module where users can select causes they care about. This would not only allow users to interact with Kiva's borrowers, but educate them implicitly about the breadth of Kiva's borrowers and categories.
Because users were confused on what Kiva is and how it works, I created a callout unit that made Kiva's product loud and clear.
A common paint point for users was they weren't able to understand Kiva. To solve this, I utilized succinct content and casual language to describe how Kiva works.
According to my prior user research, users are hesitant about donating to large nonprofit organizations because of credibility concerns. By providing this module, I hoped to alleviate user hesitation and provide clarity about Kiva's operations.
I introduced a social proof section to continue to add credibility to the user's experience.
Validation + Research
I then sought to validate the homepage redesign to inform the next round of iterations. I conducted 30 minute usability tests with 10 new visitors to Kiva and synthesized the qualitative data into an affinity map. I presented these insights to stakeholders, as well as recommendations for future homepage explorations.
Tackling a homepage redesign was certainly a challenge, but it taught me a lot of about user interface and user experience design. It was super rewarding to apply some of the insights from my prior user research into a new landing page! In the future, I hope to be able to have the time to conduct user research before designing a product.