Role: Mobile point of contact, Project Manager, research, IxD
The Project owner came to me to update the Brand app. An iOS, Android and iPad app, that not only needed a refresh, and the goal was to not have it behave like Turbo Tax, but to make it simplier. It had taken a beating in the rating previously.
The app used the multi-page sustem. The path through it was a series of pages, and lots of them. Even if something didn't pertain to your case, the user still had to go through multiple greyed out pages. Not so efficient.
I started with the shell of a design plan (design brief) because I had business requirements, lots of data from previous years, some retail persona's as a place to start. Plus, the app is so specific, knowing our user was pretty easy.
The team for this app was in-house, so much easier to talk with, and they had the agile process down. Their agile process, but bring UX into the mix had a bumpy start. Taking some time with the design plan helped the situation, and making it clear who the players were, when things would be done, and what they would get helped a lot in communicating UX.
First I did a lot of sketching on the whiteboard. Since we were going to change how the app functioned, it was important to me to get the interaction right. Also, since we were doing two other apps, making sure I was thinking global interaction standards was essential.
Luckily we had a new Android developer who was happy to listen. The first change we made was having the ability to show and hide items based on the choices made. Now that probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but considering how the old app functioned, this was huge. It was my first standard. If, the user makes a choice, display that choice on the screen instead of taking them to a new page.
The second interaction change was inline inputs. Before it had these pop up pages and after 15 or so you'd get lost, so I wanted to make sure the user stayed on the base page so they could see what else they needed to answer. Also, the Product Owner and myself decided that we would try and just take them through the app and then show them the summary.
The income section was the longest, but the most complicated. Keeping them there also brought up another standard. The Error. I liked how we ended up handeling (pun not intended) that with another new standard. Prior, we kept the error modal up just until they needed to fix things, and then you never saw it again. Now, the error is at the top of the page, and folds up. That way they can look at it again if they need.
The summary can be accessed through the dashboard or side nav, which is also a new feature for all the apps, as well as an User Account section.
The main part of the flow is pretty simple, and the one thing that it does as a native app is taking a picture of the W-2 and has OCR software in the back. You can enter by taking a picture or not, go through the personal or income section whenever you'd like. The only really complicated part was the end flow. Can't say how many times I reworked that flow.
Like all things in life, they come and go. Once they made the main online tax app "responsive", they decided to axe the native app. Since the ACA Healthcare is so complicated, and the 1040 didn't take dependents into account, it is probably for the best, however I certainly learned a lot while creating it.