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DESIGN THE
CONVERSATION:
A CASE STUDY ON MAKING A
DIGITAL BANKING EXPERIENCE
CLEAR AND HUMAN
Sara Zailskas Walsh
sara.wals...
My background
2
JOURNALISM
B2B
ASSOCIATION
B2C
USER EXPERIENCE
ECOMMERCE
PRINT, DIGITAL
TRAVEL
CHICAGOAN AT HEART …
NOW IN...
”
At Capital One, we say we
design conversations that
solve customer problems.
”
We’re on a mission to
change banking for good.
”
We bring simplicity,
humanity, and ingenuity
to banking by putting the
customer first.
”
We design conversations
that are clear and
relevant.
Every conversation is guided by 3 pillars.
8
”
We apply 3 pillars when
designing what to say, to
whom, when, and how.
Natu...
”
The approach works.
In this case, we took a
26% completion rate to
92% by designing the
conversation.
”
That’s what we’re going to talk
about today: 

How we used conversation
design in the online account
opening experience ...
”
It was not meeting our goals.
I’m a small business owner trying to open a checking
account online. I need to provide information to open my
account, but...
”
In one question, we
asked customers to select
their industry from a drop-
down list.
”
Each took 4 minutes 

on average to do so.
”
The “beneficial owners”
section had a high
abandon rate.
”
(“Beneficial owners” is a
made-up term.)
”
Customers described our
experience as “fine,”
“frustrating,” and “what I’d
expect from a bank.”
”
We had to do something.
The turnaround
CONVERSATIONAL DESIGN TO THE RESCUE
”
Tip: 

Involve all disciplines.
We put a team together.
21
All disciplines represented. I led activities to understand what “every single word” should be....
”
Tip: 

Do your research.
Discovery activities
24
๏ Benchmark research
๏ Competitive research
๏ Conversation bubbles!
๏ Customer interviews
๏ Banker...
”
Tip: 

Write the conversation.
Why writing the
conversation works
26
๏ Spot gaps in your knowledge
๏ Discover use cases
๏ Identify product ideas
๏ Create...
QUICK PRACTICE
SESSION
How to kick off a project to design the conversation
๏Pair up!
๏Write what a conversation would sound like between a custo...
I’m a busy person who isn’t a tech geek, and I need to buy
a new smartphone, but I can’t because there are so many
devices...
THE QUESTION:
What would a conversation sound like between a
customer shopping for a new mobile phone and the
store sellin...
5 MINUTES
Quick analysis of our conversations
*If you’re interested in running this activity yourself, be sure to check out my works...
”
We created a strategy for
a completely overhauled
first-time experience.
”
But we had to
compromise for the 

short-term.
Our strategy for 3 months design, 3 months build
35
๏ Overhaul the copy.
๏ Keep the current flow — and the same order of s...
Our conversation
BEFORE AND AFTER
”
Tip: 

Find someone who “gets it”
and speaks with customers
every day.
Consult regularly!
— Jose, my banker buddy
“I wouldn’t say it that way.
Instead, try this …”
“My parents — they’re
immigrant small-business
o...
”
Tip: 

Simplify choices as you
would in conversation.
Before
After
”
Tip: 

Explain why we’re asking
for information.
Before
After
”
Tip: 

Use the natural order of
conversation to inform
your design.
Before
After*
* We partially met this goal
with this release.
”
Tip: 

Prepare the customer for
what’s ahead.
Before
After
”
Tip: 

Explain how a decision
affects them.
Before
After
”
Tip: 

Give relevant context.
Before
After
”
Tip: 

Assume good intent.
Before
After
”
Tip: 

Treat a customer well
even when it’s not a good
match.
Before
After
”
Tip: 

Talk to customers — and
share the research.
70
words
182
words
total
70
words
Initial (directional) results
3 WEEKS AFTER LAUNCH …
”
The customers who spent 4
minutes on 1 question?
Now they spend 

4 minutes on the entire page 

(the longest form).
”
People can complete and
move through the application
when they’re ready.
”
Our words are working.
”
“I think the words … are very
simple, very basic, not too
detailed. It’s very clean-cut and
dry. The language is crisp, ...
”
“It sounds pretty straightforward,
understandable, personable.”
— Beth*, a small-business owner who reviewed copy only b...
”
“It’s pretty self-explanatory. There
wasn’t anything that I wonder
what this means.
When I read it, I understood it.”
— ...
”
“It’s personal, friendly.”
— Beth*, a small-business owner who reviewed copy only before launch
”
Tip: 

There are no magic
words.
Fun facts
74
๏ Discovery, planning, designing, building and testing took 8 months.
๏ We’re continuing to release additiona...
types of SBs w/
end2end enrollment
new reusable UI
components
unique screens
in 90 days
10 120+ 36+
”
Questions?
CONTACT
AND FIND ME
+1 415-470-3259
sara.walsh@capitalone.com
Like what you see?
We’re hiring in the UK.
Design the conversation: A case study on making a digital banking experience clear and human BY Sara Zailskas Walsh AT Cap...
Design the conversation: A case study on making a digital banking experience clear and human BY Sara Zailskas Walsh AT Cap...
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Design the conversation: A case study on making a digital banking experience clear and human BY Sara Zailskas Walsh AT Capital One

Slides from Sara's workshop at J. Boye's Aarhus16 conference in Aarhus on Wednesday 2-Nov-16.

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Design the conversation: A case study on making a digital banking experience clear and human BY Sara Zailskas Walsh AT Capital One

  1. 1. DESIGN THE CONVERSATION: A CASE STUDY ON MAKING A DIGITAL BANKING EXPERIENCE CLEAR AND HUMAN Sara Zailskas Walsh sara.walsh@capitalone.com J. Boye Aarhus November 2016
  2. 2. My background 2 JOURNALISM B2B ASSOCIATION B2C USER EXPERIENCE ECOMMERCE PRINT, DIGITAL TRAVEL CHICAGOAN AT HEART … NOW IN SAN FRANCISCO
  3. 3. ” At Capital One, we say we design conversations that solve customer problems.
  4. 4. ” We’re on a mission to change banking for good.
  5. 5. ” We bring simplicity, humanity, and ingenuity to banking by putting the customer first.
  6. 6. ” We design conversations that are clear and relevant.
  7. 7. Every conversation is guided by 3 pillars. 8 ” We apply 3 pillars when designing what to say, to whom, when, and how. Natural Language 1 2 3 Use Case Relevant Context
  8. 8. ” The approach works. In this case, we took a 26% completion rate to 92% by designing the conversation.
  9. 9. ” That’s what we’re going to talk about today: 
 How we used conversation design in the online account opening experience 
 for small-business owners.
  10. 10. ” It was not meeting our goals.
  11. 11. I’m a small business owner trying to open a checking account online. I need to provide information to open my account, but I can’t because: - The words aren’t clear to me. - I don’t have context to answer questions. - I’m not sure what I need to apply. 
 This makes me feel frustrated. It also wastes my time. CUSTOMER PROBLEM
  12. 12. ” In one question, we asked customers to select their industry from a drop- down list.
  13. 13. ” Each took 4 minutes 
 on average to do so.
  14. 14. ” The “beneficial owners” section had a high abandon rate.
  15. 15. ” (“Beneficial owners” is a made-up term.)
  16. 16. ” Customers described our experience as “fine,” “frustrating,” and “what I’d expect from a bank.”
  17. 17. ” We had to do something.
  18. 18. The turnaround CONVERSATIONAL DESIGN TO THE RESCUE
  19. 19. ” Tip: 
 Involve all disciplines.
  20. 20. We put a team together. 21 All disciplines represented. I led activities to understand what “every single word” should be. 1 Simon Design Lead 1 1 11 17 Helen UX Researcher 1Sara Sr. Content Strategist Kevin Front-End Developer & Prototyper Paul Sr. Interaction Designer 2 Nick & Kyo Visual Design x4 Product Owners 2 Engineering Leads 1 Brand Partners 3 Customer Support 3 Legal, Compliance & Risk Work PartnersDesigners
  21. 21. ” Tip: 
 Do your research.
  22. 22. Discovery activities 24 ๏ Benchmark research ๏ Competitive research ๏ Conversation bubbles! ๏ Customer interviews ๏ Banker interviews ๏ Journey maps ๏ Concept research ๏ Content research ๏ Internal interviews
  23. 23. ” Tip: 
 Write the conversation.
  24. 24. Why writing the conversation works 26 ๏ Spot gaps in your knowledge ๏ Discover use cases ๏ Identify product ideas ๏ Create actual copy you can use ๏ Capture guidelines that naturally surface Look at the conversation you wrote:
  25. 25. QUICK PRACTICE SESSION
  26. 26. How to kick off a project to design the conversation ๏Pair up! ๏Write what a conversation would sound like between a customer who’s comparing mobile phones and the store selling the phones. ๏Capture how you’d say it in person; use human language.
  27. 27. I’m a busy person who isn’t a tech geek, and I need to buy a new smartphone, but I can’t because there are so many devices, i’m not sure which to choose. 
 This makes me feel intimidated and disappointed in myself that I keep procrastinating. CUSTOMER PROBLEM
  28. 28. THE QUESTION: What would a conversation sound like between a customer shopping for a new mobile phone and the store selling the phones?
  29. 29. 5 MINUTES
  30. 30. Quick analysis of our conversations *If you’re interested in running this activity yourself, be sure to check out my workshop slides from this conference. ๏ What did you like? ๏ What didn’t you like? ๏ Can you spot ideas? ๏ Can you spot actual copy? What did we uncover in 5 minutes?
  31. 31. ” We created a strategy for a completely overhauled first-time experience.
  32. 32. ” But we had to compromise for the 
 short-term.
  33. 33. Our strategy for 3 months design, 3 months build 35 ๏ Overhaul the copy. ๏ Keep the current flow — and the same order of steps. ๏ Overhaul design in the two most troublesome parts: “beneficial owners” and the industry question. ๏ Update communications such as emails.
  34. 34. Our conversation BEFORE AND AFTER
  35. 35. ” Tip: 
 Find someone who “gets it” and speaks with customers every day. Consult regularly!
  36. 36. — Jose, my banker buddy “I wouldn’t say it that way. Instead, try this …” “My parents — they’re immigrant small-business owners — wouldn’t understand that. It’s too much slang.”
  37. 37. ” Tip: 
 Simplify choices as you would in conversation.
  38. 38. Before
  39. 39. After
  40. 40. ” Tip: 
 Explain why we’re asking for information.
  41. 41. Before
  42. 42. After
  43. 43. ” Tip: 
 Use the natural order of conversation to inform your design.
  44. 44. Before
  45. 45. After* * We partially met this goal with this release.
  46. 46. ” Tip: 
 Prepare the customer for what’s ahead.
  47. 47. Before
  48. 48. After
  49. 49. ” Tip: 
 Explain how a decision affects them.
  50. 50. Before
  51. 51. After
  52. 52. ” Tip: 
 Give relevant context.
  53. 53. Before
  54. 54. After
  55. 55. ” Tip: 
 Assume good intent.
  56. 56. Before
  57. 57. After
  58. 58. ” Tip: 
 Treat a customer well even when it’s not a good match.
  59. 59. Before
  60. 60. After
  61. 61. ” Tip: 
 Talk to customers — and share the research.
  62. 62. 70 words 182 words total 70 words
  63. 63. Initial (directional) results 3 WEEKS AFTER LAUNCH …
  64. 64. ” The customers who spent 4 minutes on 1 question? Now they spend 
 4 minutes on the entire page 
 (the longest form).
  65. 65. ” People can complete and move through the application when they’re ready.
  66. 66. ” Our words are working.
  67. 67. ” “I think the words … are very simple, very basic, not too detailed. It’s very clean-cut and dry. The language is crisp, to-the- point. … I understood all of it.” — Beth*, a small-business owner who reviewed copy only before launch
  68. 68. ” “It sounds pretty straightforward, understandable, personable.” — Beth*, a small-business owner who reviewed copy only before launch
  69. 69. ” “It’s pretty self-explanatory. There wasn’t anything that I wonder what this means. When I read it, I understood it.” — Cary*, a small-business owner who reviewed copy only before launch
  70. 70. ” “It’s personal, friendly.” — Beth*, a small-business owner who reviewed copy only before launch
  71. 71. ” Tip: 
 There are no magic words.
  72. 72. Fun facts 74 ๏ Discovery, planning, designing, building and testing took 8 months. ๏ We’re continuing to release additional parts of the experience to make it easier for people to make their first deposit. ๏ We’ll be applying a larger strategy not shared here to all our products in 2017 because of work on this project.
  73. 73. types of SBs w/ end2end enrollment new reusable UI components unique screens in 90 days 10 120+ 36+
  74. 74. ” Questions?
  75. 75. CONTACT AND FIND ME +1 415-470-3259 sara.walsh@capitalone.com Like what you see? We’re hiring in the UK.

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