LawPay App

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Details

Category

Research-driven UX Design

Time Frame

January 2017–March 2018

Role

Principal UX Designer

Senior Researcher

What LawPay?
An AffiniPay product, LawPay is a delightfully simple digital payments solution tailored specifically for the needs of law firms and trusted by 50,000 attorneys.

LawPay merchants are typically solo attorneys, paralegals, legal assistants, bookkeepers, law clerks, legal secretaries, and office managers for whom managing payments can burn valuable customer time.

The LawPay app was rebranded as CPA Charge and AffiniPay for public accountants, association treasurers, association executives, etc. Together, all three apps moved payments through the AffiniPay payment gateway.

Business Problem

The LawPay user interface was dated, disorganized, and suffered from many usability and navigation issues.
 
Tasked with improving the product’s design and working with the team to research what should build next to meet customer needs and foster growth. The CTO, CEO, and Architect had strong opinions on what features to add but needed a lot of help validating the priority and design of product features.
Process
I was tasked with improving the product’s design and working with the team to research what should build next to meet customer needs and foster growth, featuring several key elements.

User Interface Deisgn Refresh

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Before the user interface design was refreshed.

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After the user interface design was refreshed.

Inclusive Visual Design

Updates to the user interface included an energetic color palette, inspired and extended from core brand colors.

The color palette was designed to be both visually appealing and with accessibility in mind. Color contrast helps everyone see the differences between functional components, words, and images. Color contrast also helps partially or completely color-blind users see differences.

Consistency & clarity in a design system reduces the time customers invest in learning how to use a product.
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"LawPay is very easy to use, clean and modern. I appreciate it, the legal industry isn’t known for that."
— Solo Attorney and LawPay Merchant

Research

Collaborative Discovery
Personas
Personas are important and serve as an effort to keep the end-user front and center in our thinking when making assumptions. Rather than spending months doing research, we spent a few hours creating proto-personas.
 
When this process began, AffiniPay had zero customer persona documented, only scattered research and limited marketing/buyer information.
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“We had very limited data. Looking back, Russ’s impact was huge. I have no idea what we would’ve done without his user research.”
— AffiniPay Senior Software Engineer
User Interviews & Resulting Personas

• Periodic design validation with carefully selected participants provided opportunities to refine proto-personas through continuous learning.
 

• Customer development research on needs, goals, and expectations informed strategic product design decisions during engineering sprints.
 

• Interviewed 10 solo attorney participants, five attorneys from small law practices participants, and two attorneys from medium-size law firms.

Insights from User Interviews

• Interviews and research can generate lots of raw data. Following each interview session, a brief report was written documenting findings and noting key insights for proto-persona development.

 

• Following seventeen usability interview requests, feedback and findings were counted, grouped into themes, and ranked by severity in tabular format. This approach focused attention on the most frequently mentioned requests with the highest level of perceived severity.

 

• When reviewing research patterns began to emerge, these patterns were documented in a usability report and presented to stakeholders.

Supporting User Needs & Goals

Research showed that the majority of LawPay merchant needs would be best met with the following:

• Enhanced Quick Bill feature

• Recurring Payments

• Improvements to merchant statements

Business Solution

Enhanced Quick Bill
Ultimately, enhanced Quick Bill now provides users with the ability to easily send, view, adjust, customize, resend, and track the status of payment requests.
 
Merchants may not always accept payment through the AffiniPay payment gateway. Enhanced Quick Bill affords merchants the ability to mark payment requests as paid/unpaid by other payment methods.
 
Merchants can use Enhanced Quick Bill to monitor payments as they come in, stay on top of unpaid Quick Bills, and get a better grasp of their cash flow.
“Quick Bill is professional and fast. Gives us a great ‘Johnny on the spot’ first impression with new clients.”
— Owner Medium-sized Law Practice

Learnings

Often sales-driven organizations focus heavily on marketing. AffiniPay was slow to allocate funding for User Experience Designers.

Leadership elected to move individuals with Product Marketing experience into Product Management positions. Such a heavy focus on marketing tasked a solo Product Designer with educating teams on the benefits of design thinking, research, and iterative design.
Significant Accomplishments
The team refreshed the UI of multiple branded payments products and implemented research, user interview, and usability testing processes.

Documented a Design Language System for efficient and consistent collaboration with engineering and marketing.

Designed, validated, and launched new product features with real research.
What could have been done differently?
The leadership team could have been more open to embracing design thinking and user experience design methodologies.

Attempts to change the company culture and internal processes to include product methodologies were mixed.

Support from my manager helped greatly but it was not enough to change the company culture quickly.