Reducing Users’ Drop-off Rate — A KYC User Flow Overhaul & Redesign Case Study

Varun Sharda
11 min readJun 22, 2023

Overview

  • Company: AiPrise (YC S22)
  • Industry: KYC & KYB Verification
  • About the company: AiPrise is essentially the one-stop shop for identity verification and fraud protection. They offer a platform that allows businesses to onboard users and other businesses globally. Their services are particularly geared towards ensuring compliance, reducing fraud, and making the onboarding process as smooth as possible.

Key value props of AiPrise:

  • Global KYB & KYC
  • Risk-Based Decisioning
  • Customizable Onboarding
  • Case Management Tool

Problem statement

  • High user drop-off rates during the KYC process are negatively impacting customer satisfaction and hindering business growth.

Roles and Responsibilities

My role: Product Re-Design

Team: Founders(2), Designer(1, Myself) and Front-end Developer(1)

Scope and Constraints

  1. No Access to End-Users for Qualitative Research
    This restricted my ability to conduct user interviews, focus groups, or in-person usability tests for in-depth user-centric research.
  2. Compliance and Regulatory Requirements
    Strict guidelines for KYC processes must be adhered to, affecting design freedom.
  3. Branding Customization
    The need for customers to tailor the KYC flow according to their brand guidelines adds an extra layer of complexity to the redesign.
  4. Time Constraints
    A one-month deadline necessitated quick, impactful solutions to reduce drop-off rates.
  5. Absence of quantitative data to justify the reasons for drop-offs.

This is how customers would use the product

  1. Once onboarded on AiPrise platform, you will receive an email from welcome@aiprise.com with a link to setup password. (Check you spam folder in case you don’t see it.)
  2. Sign in to dashboard.aiprise.com with your email and the password you set above.
  3. You can find your API Keys under the “Settings” tab on the left.

4. There are 2 ways to integrate our solution — SDK or API.

5. If you prefer using SDK and have it enabled by AiPrise Admin, head to the SDK Playground tab and select a template to run our SDK. You can read more about integrating our SDK here.

6. To run our API, you can either use Postman or our Testbench. If you have not received a postman from us, please ask for one.

7. You can run verifications in SANDBOX mode or PRODUCTION mode by simply toggling the environment toggle at the top right.

Understanding the problem in depth

Understanding the problem is the cornerstone of any solution-oriented strategy. Without a deep understanding of why users are dropping off during the KYC process, any changes made would be akin to shooting in the dark. By identifying the root causes, AiPrise can develop targeted solutions that address the specific issues at hand, thereby increasing the likelihood of improving user retention and satisfaction. This is crucial not only for enhancing the user experience but also for achieving long-term business growth and sustainability.

Given AiPrise’s unique constraints — namely, a lack of user data, a small team, and limited resources — the traditional avenues of extensive user research and data analytics were not feasible. Therefore, a more agile and resource-efficient approach was imperative. The chosen methodology, which combined heuristic analysis, proxy user testing, internal brainstorming, and industry research, provided a balanced and pragmatic way to gain insights into the user drop-off problem without requiring extensive resources.

1. Self-evaluation and Heuristic Analysis on AiPrise’s existing KYC user flow

I meticulously navigated through AiPrise’s existing KYC process, applying a set of established UX heuristics to evaluate each interaction point.

Why It Mattered: This deep dive will allow me to experience firsthand the journey that users undertake. By identifying potential bottlenecks and pain points, I aim to uncover factors contributing to user drop-off, thereby laying the groundwork for our subsequent research.

Here are some selected screenshots from the existing user flow, mentioning the design flaws and probable consequences:

✅ Outcomes →

The heuristic evaluation served as a foundational layer that informed my subsequent research steps as it:

  1. It provided a structured set of issues that I could explore further in these interviews, helping me to ask more targeted questions.
  2. It created a more focused and efficient research process, ensuring that I’m not just shooting in the dark but investigating specific, identified pain points.

Summary of Identified Design Issues

  • Ambiguous Title
  • Lack of Context
  • Non-Informative Illustration
  • Lack of Error Guidance
  • Unclear Requirements
  • Persistent Animation
  • Missing Page Title
  • Ambiguous Confirmation Message
  • Error-prone user flow

2. Founder Interviews

I sat down with the founders for an in-depth interview, probing for their insights and perspectives on the KYC process.

Why It Mattered: Founders often have a bird’s-eye view of the product and can offer insights that are not immediately obvious. Their input will add a strategic layer to my understanding, helping me to see not just the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’ behind user behavior and expectations.

✅ Outcomes →

  1. No quantitative data: There is no numerical data available to justify or quantify the user drop-off rates.
  2. Customization of the UI: The need for customizable UI components was highlighted, allowing clients to adapt the interface to match their own branding.

3. Testing with friends and family (potential users)

I reached out to friends and family, which involved my wife(32), mother(67), friends (35,30), father (73) ), asking them to go through the KYC process and provide candid feedback.

Why It Mattered: Engaging friends and family in testing the KYC process will provide fresh perspectives that are invaluable for uncovering user experience issues. Their feedback will highlight specific areas of friction and confusion, offering a candid look at the user journey from a novice’s point of view.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that these individuals are potential users who could very well find themselves using a similar product to verify their identities in a Fintech context. Their feedback, therefore, will not just be informative but also indicative of the experience of our target user base.

✅ Outcomes →

  1. User Behavior Insights: Observations on how novice users interact with the KYC process, potentially validating or challenging the findings from the heuristic evaluation.
  2. Initial User Feedback: Qualitative data on user expectations, frustrations, and suggestions for improvement.

Now is the time to judge our competitors

4. Competitive Analysis

With a comprehensive understanding of the existing challenges, informed by the above methods, I was now well-equipped to move into the solution-oriented phases.

Next, we’ll broaden our lens to include a Competitive Analysis, allowing us to position our improvements within the larger market landscape.

Why It Mattered: Understanding the challenges of our own product is crucial, but to fully grasp the landscape, a competitive analysis is essential. This step will enables me to see how other platforms address similar challenges, uncover opportunities for differentiation, and identify best practices within the industry.

By examining the strengths and weaknesses of our competitors, I can validate our internal findings and gain new insights that directly inform and enhance our design decisions.

The founders, keenly aware of the competitive landscape, provided me with a curated list of key competitors which included the following platforms:

  1. Onfido
  2. Persona
  3. Veriff

and as I scoured through our competitors’ KYC processes, I uncovered several gems of design excellence. Each feature not only stood out for its ingenuity but also sparked ideas for our redesign.

✅ Outcomes →

  1. Intuitive Camera Interface: Assisted users in capturing documents correctly on the first try.
  2. Contextual Animations: Kept users informed during processing, improving the wait experience.
  3. Checklist Verification: Provided users with a clear confirmation of completed steps, reducing anxiety.

Although user drop-off was a known issue, the process helped uncover the underlying reasons behind it.

Integrated Insights to Action:

  • By linking these phases together, we see a clear line from the identification of issues to understanding their impact on both users and business objectives, to confirming these issues through real-world feedback, and finally, to seeing how competitors successfully address these problems.
  • Each phase contributed uniquely: heuristic evaluation spotlighted the problem areas, founder insights aligned redesign with business goals, user testing provided real-world impact evidence, and competitive analysis showed the art of the possible.

Outcome:

  • This comprehensive approach ensured that the redesign was not only grounded in real user experiences but also aligned with business strategies and industry standards.
  • The final redesign proposals aim to address all identified issues effectively while leveraging industry best practices to enhance the overall user experience and meet business objectives.

✅ Outcomes →

  1. This comprehensive approach ensured that the redesign was not only grounded in real user experiences but also aligned with business strategies and industry standards.
  2. The final redesign proposals aim to address all identified issues effectively while leveraging industry best practices to enhance the overall user experience and meet business objectives.

Initially, we were challenged by a broad concern expressed by the founders

Initial problem statement

High user drop-off rates during the KYC process are negatively impacting customer satisfaction and hindering business growth.

Through an iterative process involving heuristic evaluations, user interviews, and competitive analysis, I gained a nuanced understanding of this issue. The redefined problem statement, therefore, is:

Redefined problem statement →

Users are abandoning the KYC process due to unclear instructions, inconsistent interface elements, lack of guidance, and insufficient feedback, which collectively erode trust and hinder the completion rate.

It’s time to turn insights into action.

With a keen eye on the insights gained during the process, I then crafted wireframes that clear the path, making every step in the KYC process intuitive and reassuring. Here’s a peek at the solutions that are about to reshape the user journey.

In order to accommodate the diverse requirements of users from various countries, I, with founders, meticulously crafted tailored flows for an array of documents, ensuring each user’s experience is optimized for their specific locale and documentation.

Team Testing & Iteration: An Agile Approach to Refinement

After designing the wireframes, it was time to test the resilience of the designs. Collaborating closely with the team, each wireframe underwent internal testing to scrutinize functionality and user flow efficiency.

Key Feedback Highlights:

1. Despite the step-indicator’s presence, there remains potential for confusion regarding which side of the ID document users should capture while on the capture screen.

2. Consider making the “Things to make sure” section in the selfie screen a little bit subtle as it might come out to be too prominent.

3. Consider removing the step indicator screen as it is adding up to the total steps involved.

Feedback Summary:

  1. Uncertainty about the sequence of photographing ID documents.
  2. Overemphasis on the “Things to make sure” section during the selfie capture.
  3. Redundancy of the step-indicator screen potentially adding complexity.

Feedback Integration & Design Enhancement

1️⃣ Original Issue: Users expressed confusion about whether they should capture the front or back side of the ID document.

Design Solution: To resolve this ambiguity, an animation was introduced on the document capture screen. This animation specifically highlights the ‘Front’ label and ‘Back’ label and gradually fades after two seconds, drawing the user’s attention to the correct side of the document to be captured first.

2️⃣ Original Issue: The ‘Things to make sure’ section, which aims to guide users in taking a correct photo, was found to be overly prominent, potentially overwhelming users rather than assisting them.

Design Solution: I’ve acknowledged the feedback and plan to reassess the visual hierarchy of this section during the high-fidelity prototyping phase. This is to ensure that while the section remains helpful, it does not dominate the user’s attention excessively.

3️⃣ Original Issue: The suggestion was made to consider removing the step-indicator screen to reduce the total number of steps in the process.

Technical Decision: Upon evaluation, I strongly suggested and the team finally decided to retain the step-indicator. Here’s why:

Predictability → The step-indicator allows users to anticipate what is required of them next with the opportunity to mentally prepare for the next step which is particularly important in a multi-step process like KYC.

Process Transparency → Step-indicators maintain process transparency, which builds trust. Users are more comfortable when they know what to expect and how much is left to complete.

High-Fidelity Designs: Turning Wireframes into Interfaces.

Bringing Clarity Through Motion

Brand Customization: Tailoring Visuals to Customer’s Identity

Key takeaways:

  1. Innovating within Constraints: Designing under limitations often drives creative solutions that might not otherwise surface.
  2. Importance of a process: Although user drop-off was a known issue, the process helped uncover the underlying reasons behind it.
  3. Adapting Research Approaches: User research in B2B settings poses unique challenges, necessitating flexible and innovative methods.
  4. Embracing Continuous Improvement: Even when competitors’ solutions seem optimal, there’s always room to enhance and refine.
  5. Prioritizing Communication: Clear, consistent dialogue is crucial to fully grasp the scope and depth of your project.”

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Always open to suggestions, feedback and critique; I would love to hear from you.

Portfolio: https://www.varunsharda.design/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/varunsharda/
Email: hello@varunsharda.design

--

--

Varun Sharda

A Product Designer helping tech and Web 3.0 startups turn their concepts into tangible products.