I need to remortgage my home

The challenge
Revisiting a slow and complex online remortgage application journey, held back by a legacy system and lengthy journey completion times.

The outcome
Improved user experience for customers with an industry first document upload, reduced task completion times and excellent customer feedback.

Remorgaging can be a stressful time for a homeowner. Complicated forms that require personal information about affordability are necessary but can seem intrusive.

My aim was to design the application as stress free as possible while ensuring the business requirements were met, including strict legal compliance.

Get acquainted with the team
I was placed in a delivery team, working to an MVP that funnelled users into a refactored journey. I had a remit to improve UX and embed UCD practices.

I began by performing a mini-discovery. I interviewed stakeholders and designers to understand what research has been done, what was in the backlog, and the contraints within which they were working.

Aid communication between design and delivery teams
Following from the success of the customer journey map for the further valuations project, I produced a customer journey flow of the service to locate pain points and common drop-outs for the whole remortgage journey. While it was both complex and constantly being adapted, this had the benefit of giving teams a focus for discussion as the delivery team was split from the design team. I printed out and hung it on the wall. It was 5 meters long and well scribbled on.

I initiated bi-weekly usability testing to introduce home valuations into the remortgage process.

Remortgaging can be stressful. Customers may have their home valued, they are likely to have to find and upload financial documents, and understand complex financial terms. They regularly feel the urge to speak with someone for reassurance.

A key business requirement is to keep customers in journey to save the cost of having to speak to an advisor.

While a legacy system was still being used, it was complex and slow (application times in journey of well over an hour).

Develop a UX culture
As the only UX designer in the home hub I introduced a more user centred way of working. I introduced job stories to the refinement process to instill UX practices in the remortgage user journey. This encouraged a new way of working with the users of the system (in this case, underwriters) and ensured the focus was on the users of the system and not how it worked.

Security and lending risk was a key part of the journey as customers were unknown to Nationwide.

The set up of delivery teams as separate from the experience team proved a challenge. As Senior User Experience designer I promoted greater transparency between the teams. I encouraged UX practices from the start, such as Job Stories and User story mapping, to maintain a UCD process. I also encouraging the devs to join in with shaping meetings and I would observe their refinement sessions.

The delivery teams worked on on tight deadlines. Separate sprints where they determine what gets built - potential for slicing the work. Shaping had to take in mind slicing, so prioritising the UX. For example, users needed assistance with how to determine the average amount and frequency of bonus, overtime and commission. Ideally help text would explain exactly what documents were required for upload but this would require extra back end development work (the back end system needed to draw information from the customer). A simple calculator, which was also usability tested with users, provided a front end solution that required no back end development provided an interim solution which met the needs of users before a thorough solution could be built.

It was challenging balancing business requirements and developer time with UX. The answer was to set in place a mechanism to measure UX - baselining rapidly built services that from where UX can be measured.

Worked with the researcher to establish best practice reporting of research - hypothesis backlog on Confluence.

I designed and launched an automated proof checking system, a new further valuations journey. I improved the journey navigation, and designed in an application for self employed customers.