I proposed a redesign for the donation process based on user research and business priorities.

The Problem

GoFundMe uses different payment processors to support campaign donations from all over the world. In the past, the adoption of a new payment processor was launched through an experiment. This resulted in different experiences: some with a single page and others with two steps. Also, engineers had to maintain multiple code bases which made iterating across all experiences tedious.

Different experiences to support multiple payment processors

The goal was to create a unified checkout that supported all payment processors and to deliver a consistent checkout for all users.

The People

Iterating on the checkout experience had been a long-time goal for the company. However, the donation process was the bread and butter of the business, so there was a bit of hesitancy towards redesigning the product.

Before identifying problems and conducting user research, I interviewed key stakeholders within the company that held specific content knowledge about the current checkout experiences. I met with product managers, engineering leads, and designers. I learned that past attempts to create unified donation process resulted in drop in donation completion rates. However, these same stakeholders doubted the quality of the reported data and encouraged me to move forward with innovating on the current checkout experiences.

To kick off the project, I met with the payments engineering team and conducted a feature prioritization exercise. All of these engineers were intimately aware with the technical shortcomings of the current checkout implementations. I wanted to learn from their expertise and give them a space to brainstorm the ideal checkout experience.

We used Invision freehand to simultaneously brainstorm ideas and prioritize features for our remote team

We prioritized these feature ideas in four quadrants: high impact, low impact, low tech investment, and high tech investment. We immediately identified the non-negotiable features that were necessary to meet feature parity. Then, we selected a few new features that we hypothesized would enhance the users experience and increase donation conversion.

The Market

After clarifying the user journeys, I conducted a competitive analysis of similar products.

It was helpful to compare which features were implemented in a similar way across different products. The anonymous feature was typically in close proximity to the donor’s name, which communicates that their name will not be displayed publicly.

On the other hand, each of competitor took a different approach with supporting guest checkout and logged in donors. Some products placed a sign in prompt before users started their checkout experience, so users had to choose to login or continue as a guest. I decided to rely on existing data of user on our platform to inform this design decision.

The User Journeys

The two major user journeys in the checkout experience were guest checkout and logged-in users. Existing data showed that about 70% of our users were first time donors. I decided to make the experience, by default, easiest for users without an account.

Early sketches to brainstorm user journeys and features

The Wireframes

While creating the initial wireframes, I divided the checkout process into two steps. The first step included the donation details that would be public on the campaign page (donation amount, display name, and comment). The second step would include users’ personal information (email address and payment information) which would be required to complete the transaction.

The Feedback

I conducted user testing to gauge the usability and information architecture of the initial wireframes. I received feedback about:

  1. Log-in option: Users should be given the option to log-in before entering personal information so users with a saved credit card would have an optimized experience.
  2. One-step checkout: The two step checkout process can be consolidated to one step to reduce the risk of conversion loss.
  3. Leaving a comment: Comments are not necessary for completing the donation so I could move this feature for after the donation is completed.

I iterated on the wireframes to incorporate these important changes.

The Features

After receiving feedback, I identified the essential features and the final information architecture for the checkout experience.

Donation details:

  1. Campaign snapshot: A quick summary of the campaign the user is donating to.
  2. Donation amount: A field input that indicates how much money the user is donating to directly to the campaign.
  3. Tipping: An optional tip given directly to GoFundMe

User details:

  1. Log-in or checkout as guest: An option to login into an existing account or continue as a guest.
  2. Payment information: Input fields for credit card information or the option to select a saved card for logged in users.
  3. Anonymous donation: An option to enter a donation display name or select anonymous.

The Final Solution

Lessons Learned

While this project never made it to the wild, there were some core lessons learned.

  1. Solve the right problem: The initial problem presented for this project was the inconsistency of existing experiences and my solution was to create an entirely new one. While there were many good reasons to propose a new experience, there could have been alternative options to solving this problem.
  2. Timing is key: While in the design process, GoFundMe launched tipping which shifted the payments team road map. It is impossible to predict every priority shift (especially at a start-up), it is important to keep a pulse on the evolution of priorities. This can be done by consistently sharing work internally so diverse stakeholders can remain on the same page.
  3. Design for flexibility: I spent a lot of time designing for the ideal scenario which often eclipsed designing for the essential. My final design was optimized for introducing multiple payment options which was a feature everyone was excited to support in the future. However, my solution made the essential functionality of entering a single credit card more difficult. I should have focused on optimizing existing features and then present options for future features.

Work with me ❤

I loved my time with the GoFundMe design team. Huge thanks to derek kohn, Alex Kim, Braden Floris, and Vickie Chiang for their commitment to collaboration and maintaining a high bar for design.

I am currently freelancing from Taiwan 🇹🇼 Hit me up if you need a remote designer.

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