Anything that you can put online, you can test. So get creative!

Everyone loves a story! And when they get a chance to be a hero in it, they love it even more! Story feeds the human brain. Story, and its underlying architecture, powers the ability to understand what happened in the past, what happens in the moment, or what will happen in the future. It’s a framework and a lens with which humans comprehend everything. And that brings me to my story

I’m a UX Designer at finder.com.au. A big part of my work involves research and usertesting across multiple teams in my company. Every project has its successes and challenges. And when we talk of a challenge, nothing beats a project involving money.

Money Transfer Awards 2017

A couple of months ago I was involved in a huge project in my company- finder’s Money Transfer Awards 2017. The project needed comprehensive review and study of many money transfer providers.

My role: To help determine which International Money Transfer services have the best User Experience

Unbox therapy

How was I going to help my team in the US from the other side of the world? The time difference did not help. Like the online show Unbox Therapy, I thought I would unbox and uncover one challenge at a time to ensure I was able to deliver successfully.

I was given a hard deadline and I worked backwards from that.

To begin with, my project lead Olivia was amazing- the ungodly hours she kept to ensure that I didn’t have to, I really appreciated that. Then came the challenge of the methodology. How was I going to test the user experience of sixteen money transfer providers? And how many users would suffice? A project like this includes at the very least- real money, bank accounts and valid credentials. And that means security measures. While it was fine to do all the review of the providers in-house, it’s not technically User Experience without real users giving their insights and feedback.

Ideally a project like this would benefit from in-house user testing where I could observe users interact with the different providers and dig deeper into their experience. Also I could ensure proper security measures to ensure that money did not disappear. But with me not being on ground and the deadline looming, I had to get creatively aggressive. I decided to do remote testing using usertesting.com.

Test plan

My checklist looked something like this:

● 15 International money transfer service providers were picked for this exercise

● 3 users performed a set of tasks using one service

● Total number of participants: 45

● Each participant rated their experience on on a scale of 1–5

● Tasks were evaluated on the following criteria and average rating given out of 5 ○ Ease of use ( account setup, input details) ○ Understand information on the site ○ Is the site easy to use? ○ Credibility ( security, information, ease of use ) ○ Attractiveness ( UI, page layout, colours ) ○ Time (in mins) to complete task ( account setup, input details ) ○ Likelihood of returning to the service

● Every participant was given the same task to maintain consistency

● The ratings were then totalled to see which provider ranked the best for UX

● Also part of the study was general observations from UX point of view

I had the test plan reviewed by my team and the research team at usertesting.com. I’m not joking when I say the test plan went through it’s UX iteration cycle. I user tested every test plan with users to ensure it’s effectiveness.

Seven test plan iterations in total before launch. Process: test→ analyse→ review→ rate

Legal constraints

The team toyed with the idea of having a ‘user fund’ where any user that came onboard to test would be given a certain amount of money to transfer real-time. But that went to hell soon when we realised the issue of user personal details such as bank account, SSN etc. No amount of money would get the users to input their real details for testing.

It’s an industry that’s often restricted by strict regulations and privacy concerns. Test credentials may not work on a live site. Any site worth it’s salt will reject fake data. What a legal landmine!

So using a few online tools to generate user credentials, I launched the test. The user was still asked to create an account using his/ her valid email but I ensured that they knew about it at the start of the test and that they could pause the video if they wished to.

Award for Best User Experience

Each provider was evaluated on the same criteria. I took the average per provider to determine the best in each category. It was done and boy what a ride.

I learnt so much during my three-week involvement in this project and if I were to pick my top three learnings, these would be it

Negotiate time for the project

No matter how progressive and experimental a company can be, we cannot out run the financial industry that have a lot of regulatory considerations that can’t be avoided. Also trials tests will save your work, and that requires to be factored in your project plan. So patience and planning ahead of time is required.

Getting creative

I am a one woman UX team here at finder. So at times I had to get creative with my methodology, like test plan iterations and test credentials for users to test with. So don’t be afraid to try an initiative. While the mantra ‘Fail fast, fail often’ sounds stupid at times, it also works at times.

Humanise the project- do user testing

When a project has a hard deadline and requires UX Designer’s time, you can rummage through your UX toolkit but go for user testing. There is an incredible value in usability testing not just your product or app but also your competitor’s. In the case of this project, 15 competitors. It’s so satisfying to see and hear users give feedback on your product or online experience. It almost makes it super easy to get development or business buy-in without having to actually say it.