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Website Usability

Lenders API

Lenders API is a fintech SaaS startup for alternative lending data. The company was looking for ways to increase the number of lenders using the API.

Background information

I was a new hire, the first and only UX Researcher at Lenders API. The goal of the project was to improve the sign up process and increase the number of records submitted every month. My plan was to learn more about the product and users, conduct evaluative research, synthesize the information, and present recommendations to the design team for improving the website’s usability.

Project Goals:

  • The goal is to increase the number of lenders that sign up and connect via API to upload lender records.

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My Plan:

  • Conduct interviews and attend meetings to gain understanding of our users and what they expect from our website

  • Learn the intention of each page by going through the site and working with the design team

  • Generate a competitive landscape analysis to see what we can learn from our competition

  • Conduct usability testing to identify usability problems and pain points from web users

  • Present recommendations based on research findings.

Journey Mapping

As a new hire, I needed to better understand the company before conducting research on the website. To start, I went through every page of the site and asked questions when I needed clarification. Next, I attended meetings and conducted interviews with users to gain insight into their perspective. I compiled this information and created the journey map. This journey map was used to help pinpoint the areas of the customer journey which users were encountering the most issues.


Competitive Landscape Analysis

Once I developed a comfortable understanding of Lenders API and our users expectations, the next step was to learn more about the lending domain. To do so, I created a competitive landscape analysis. This would help the team see what features other companies are offering, their design approach, and give us a baseline of our website compared to our competitors.

To start the analysis, I conducted a basic usability review on Lenders API and our two biggest competitors. I then compiled a list of the features that each company offers. I created a full presentation to compare and contrast the pros and cons of each company from a usability and business perspective. Several team members requested a PDF of the presentation for future reference.

Usability Testing

Now that I had a solid understanding of the business landscape, I was ready to start the next step, usability testing!

Using what I learned so far from the meetings and interviews, I made a list of tasks that users commonly try to accomplish on our website. I wrote these into scenarios to help the participant operate from the perspective of a user. I then created a consent form and recruited participants.

When I conduct testing, I start each test with small talk to help the participant relax and to gauge their prior knowledge. I ask them to tell me a little bit about their background. I emphasize that we are testing the product, not them, and that there are no wrong answers. 


Once they are settled, I begin with a homepage walkthrough to make sure that the participant can identify the purpose of the site. I guide the participant through the tasks and take notes of usability issues. I prompt participants to speak their thoughts aloud as often as possible, this is important as it gives insight into what they are thinking and why they choose their actions. After the test, I probe the participant for further insights into their experience and thank them for their time. I then write up a usability test summary with the findings.


Usability Report

Once testing was complete, I compiled the results to create a usability report and presentation. For each problem I recommended an easy to implement solution. After the presentation, we created and executed an action plan to implement the changes. Listed below are the major issues, my recommendation, and the implemented solution.

There were five major usability findings:

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Lenders Comp 1.png
How slide.png
Homepage walkthrough.png
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  • First, the homepage did not appear to be scrollable to participants (they would not scroll even when prompted to)

    • Recommendation: Remove the blue bar at the bottom or add an arrow

Blue bar 2.png

No arrow.

Sign In_page-0001.jpg

Arrow to indicate that the page continues

  • Second, there was a documentation page which contained a list of valuable information on lending category flags. This list was in no particular order, making it difficult for users to find specific items on the list.

    • Recommendation: Preface the list by saying there are 3 types lending category flags and organize them by type.​

No item order, no introduction


New list organized by flag type

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  • Third, participants had trouble navigating the website. The menu and pages had confusing, unconventional names that made it difficult for users to find what they were looking for.

    • Recommendation: Rename main navigation from "Docs" to "Resources" and update the navigation menu to indicate that it drops down.​


Main navigation is named "Docs" and clicking it navigates you to "Help Center"


Main navigation is renamed to "Resources" and has an arrow to indicate a drop down menu. Clicking "Resources" navigates you to a page of the same name.

Resources page_page-0001.jpg
  • Fourth, the first step for the sign up process was unclear to some users.

    • Recommendation: Reword this step to include the important direction in the title, rather than requiring users search/read the description.


No direction


Provides directions immediately

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  • Fifth, through probing I also had additional findings. Most importantly, I identified there was no where for users to find answers to their common questions. I discovered that users believed our website would greatly benefit from an FAQ page.

FAQ page.png

Resulting FAQ page ^

FAQ Recommendation from Usability Report ^

Research Impacts

Product Impact

  • End product improved conversion rate, contributing to an increase of 70k applicant records per month

  • Improved homepage layout → Lower bounce rate

  • The FAQ page is helping users find the information they need. It also saves our team time by not having to answer the same questions

Team Impact

  • Better understanding of competitive landscape, their features, and where we stand in contrast to them​

  • The team was enthusiastic about the usability report and the implemented changes. The impact solidified the importance of research in the design process

Key Learnings

  • When learning at a company you can make your time more valuable by increasing institutional knowledge. This can be done by sharing what you learned with reports and graphics so that everyone can benefit

  • In order to make viable recommendations I need to understand: stakeholder goals, design team limitations, and project resources

  • The team needs to understand why the usability problem is an issue for the business. It is important to frame things in the way that it is relevant to them. I had buy-in from my stakeholders on the recommendations since I explained the issues and  recommendations in a way that aligned with the company goals


What are they doing right?

Theory Preparation Icon


Stakeholder Goals

Design team Limitations

Project Resources

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