Providing financial relief during a pandemic through auto loan deferment Web and Mobile Design
I manage the UX for Ally Financial’s Ally Auto Online Services (AAOS), an online portal for Ally customers to manage their auto loans.
In April of 2019, 20.6 million Americans lost their jobs in the last half month, mostly due to Covid-19. Some of these people were Ally customers that needed help changing their loans in order to get by. I needed to rapidly design the experience for users to have multiple loan-relief options so they can quickly and efficiently edit and manage their loans without having to call…all while the call waiting times spanned hours to days for most loan providers.
I was one of two UX designers responsible for this project. I worked in tandem daily with the other designer, but also worked with directors, developers, product owners, risk teams, legal teams, and more. I was involved in multiple rounds of research (both qualitative and quantitative) and testing and produced wireframes, mockups, and prototypes. I worked with developers and QA engineers to make sure everything worked as intended.
Before We Begin...
In this project showcase, I discuss the second phase of a two-phase program for providing covid-related loan relief for AAOS customers. The first phase was a loan deferral program. The second phase was for our users who needed further help in managing their auto loans past the first phase.
Due to the nature of my work, I'm limited in what I can share online.
A Few Personal Words
I’ve truly been lucky to be healthy during the pandemic while also having kept a job. I’m honored to have worked on this project that helped make people’s lives just a little bit easier while they were facing tragic circumstances. If anyone reading this has faced hardships due to the pandemic, I hope that the coming years will show you great kindness. If you’re looking for financial resources, please check out this article. If you need emotional help, please look at this free, confidential helpline and this article on coping during Covid-19.
Planning & Research
Goals and Principles
Before designing anything, we needed to set our goals and guiding principles. If we were to be successful, we would save the business money and prevent customers from defaulting on their loans.
I started by analyzing existing data from users who took a deferral from the first phase. This included seeing which deferral options users selected, if there were any correlations between account types and extension lengths, and more.
Qualitative data is just as important as quantitative data. That’s why I studied the feedback from users from the first phase, both positive and negative.
We performed some light competitive analysis and used it to ideate some of the best ways to help users with their deferral options. There weren’t many auto loan websites automating the deferral process, so I knew we would need to do a lot of testing on our original designs.
We had two customer scenarios for this project that represented some common background and actions from users (informed from phase one). These customer scenarios guided our thinking into how we would design the features and flows related to this project.
Using Sketch, we used wireframes to quickly iterate through our ideas. This was a large effort involving many Ally teams and requiring many approvals, so we knew we needed to get these ideas in front of stakeholders as soon as we could. We also wanted to get these features out before the shortest deferrals for our customers from phase one ran out.
Mockups and Prototyping
Once we had enough direction, we began creating our low and high fidelity mockups through Sketch. We used these mockups to create prototypes on InVision for testing. We also coordinated heavily with our UX content writer to make sure the copy was polished and at low risk for legal concerns.
When our designs were tested with users, there were no major areas of concern or confusion, which were our biggest fears considering this is a big financial matter for our customers. We only needed to make a few minor updates.
I worked closely with our developers and QA engineers to make sure the designs were properly implemented without usability issues. For example, one of the forms was found to take a few seconds to load (up to 10 seconds), so I created mockups and a prototype animating what users should see if the application took a long time to load.
After going live, we measured the clicks and percentage rate of completion from page to page through each of the flows, allowing us to target and improve the areas where the largest drop-offs were occurring.
With our new metrics and user data, we were (and still are doing) iterations through our designs to provide a better user experience that is both quantitatively and qualitatively backed. So if our customers need further help with their loans as this pandemic continues, we’re prepared!