Pioneering an onboarding experience to help users find and support causes they care about.
Role: product designer, user researcher, content designer
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 designed Kiva's first onboarding flow as a product experiment.
This experiment tackled the same business problem as the landing page redesign I headed, so there's some similarity in the context/business problem of the case study and user research.
Kiva's homepage was experiencing high traffic but low conversion rates (that is, a user funding a loan on kiva.org).
More importantly, the landing page was a pain point for many users. Last semester, I conducted user research into Kiva's landing page, and concluded (among other insights) that users did not understand Kiva or its value proposition and did not feel incentivized to use the product on the landing page. Users also faced decision paralysis when choosing who to loan to.
To solve the low conversion rate and the various pain points, I led the design of a user onboarding flow experiment. Users would go through a step-by-step form that simultaneously collects their lending preferences and implicitly teaches them about Kiva along the way. After selecting their preferences, they’ll then see a curated list of loans with options to explore further.
How might we design a personalized, informative onboarding experience for new Kiva users?
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 this was an experimental design exploration. However, I naturally would have preferred to do research before hand.
Here are relevant insights from previous ethnographic and usability research.
People want to support causes that resonate with their personal experiences and values.
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.
I considered these insights when designing the personalized onboarding flow.
After I was assigned the project, I brainstormed with a team of product managers, data scientists, and product designers. The vision behind the onboarding flow interaction was that users would learn about Kiva explicitly and implicitly — through copy during the flow (explicitly) and through their interactions (implicitly). For example, by allowing users to select causes they care about, they'd implicitly learn that Kiva supports a variety of categories. I adopted this strategic vision for the design into my wireframes and iterations.
Iterating + Feedback
I ended up simplifying the onboarding flow to encompass what matters most to users — an easy, personalized experience, free of unnecessary confusing jargon. For that reason, I eliminated the introductory onboarding and loan repayment screens from the wireframe.
I began several rounds of iteration and received feedback — here are a few.
Validation + Research
To ensure my design solved a user need, I conducted 5 usability tests to quickly validate my design direction via UserTesting.com. After sharing these insights with stakeholders, I then took into consideration these insights in order to finalize the high fidelity design.
High Fidelity Design
After receiving feedback from users and stakeholders, I converged on a onboarding flow design best described as simple — simple copy, simple graphics, and simple interactions — in order to deliver the best user experience without unnecessary confusion.
During my user research consulting project, my team recommended that Kiva develop some sort of onboarding flow. Being able to create design concepts for a future onboarding flow was extremely rewarding and insightful. Through the rounds of iteration, I learned to consider every design element in a human-centered and intentional manner.