Improving on a successful application requires an acute attention to detail. After extensive user testing, focus groups, & usability studies, we validated our findings. The result? Fewer calls to the call center and less paperwork, drastically reducing overhead.
Knowing your users
The challenges faced in creating an interface that is easy to use, flexible, and familiar to existing users can be formidable. The primary concern for the client on this project was addressing work-flow issues that had stymied many users, forcing them to call for help. Our research confirmed that in addition to a non-intuitive interface, customers were having a problem determining what to click on at certain points in the grant application process. A secondary concern for the client was reliance on old technology to submit application forms. The office had previously been inundated with hard-copy fax documents and realized that in order to modernize they needed to guide users into using the online forms. After studying the audience and understanding their needs, we formulated a plan that would combine a 4-step process, visual hierarchy, and consistency on all pages.
Our research didn’t stop there. We also focused on establishing conventions and leveraging best practices to accomplish our goals. We also found models that worked for other industries and brainstormed how we could learn from their successes.
Common Sense design
While it may seem obvious, reducing the PDF form on the main page was where we started with this redesign. Creating a visual hierarchy with the content on the page made it much easier to clearly and effectively navigate the site. Add to that the 4-step process links along the right side combined with consistent treatment of buttons and headings on all pages, and you’ve taken a huge leap in making the application uncomplicated and efficient.
Increasing response rates/decreasing calls
A sampling of calls to our call center from before and after the redesign demonstrated a substantial reduction in volume of calls. Making the online form the most prominent element on the main page decreased the number of faxes received and encouraged the use of the online form. A testament to the success of the project, this was used as a model for other applications around the Association, including Loss Prevention Grant Application and others.