Capbase helps startups with all of the cumbersome and expensive processes of starting a business. I was part of a project to improve our strategic position, offer more clarity of the process to users & make everything work straightforward. Building these features turned out to be extremely exciting and I loved working on this complex project.
I led the design process of this project from the initial kick-off to the final delivery for the desktop, including the responsive experience. For this project, I worked with colleagues from different departments such as engineers, product managers, people responsible for customer support, and the main stakeholders.
The design process included a constant feedback loop not only from other departments but most importantly, from our users.
During the time of working on this project as a contributor, I have also been supporting the design team from a partial leadership position, being responsible for team objectives, planning, and prioritization. The constant combination of two different mindsets challenged me and gladly showed me new perspectives.
-02 PRODUCT THINKING
How can we better welcome our users to the platform?
The main mission of the company is to make it easier for the startup founders to form and manage their company without having to talk with a lawyer - consulting a lawyer can be extremely expensive for a new company. During the lifetime of the company, founders use our platform to incorporate as a Delaware corporation, set up a stock plan, issue equity, hire employees, raise funds from investors using SAFEs & convertible notes and manage their cap tables.
As we prepare for a long relations with our users, we aim to get off on the right foot - helping our users set up their corporation in a fast manner and advising them on what would be the best practice at every step.
-03 PRODUCT THINKING
Get your company ready to do business
The following 3 case studies cover the journey of a user from their first intention to signing up to the platform until having their company ready and compliant to do business.
- Sign up
- The sign-up flow will cover the account creation and the payment of the subscription.
- Company Set up
- Set up flow will cover the entity creation and the process of defining all of the parameters in which the newly created company will operate in.
- The onboarding step will guide the user through all of the legal requirement that needs to be completed until the company is fully operational.
My approach - How I work
Each project is unique so my process differs as well. Presented below are the steps that I followed for this project:
- Understanding more about the problem space, considering potential solutions, and learning about the user. In this particular case, the research consisted of assessing the current solution, reviewing recordings of how our users behave on the interface, going through all of the issues reported by the users to the customer support team, and participating in onboarding calls.
- Crafting design principles to help guide project and experience decisions, and ensure alignment amongst the team. For this particular project, the principles were workshoped with the stakeholders and were inspired by the problems identified in the research phase.
- User Journey
- Diving deep into the user journey and exploring user stories, personas, channels and user decision making. This project covered 3 distinct flows so it was necessary to have a user journey to make sure that the the transition from one flow to another is smooth and nothing is missing.
- Design exploration
- Diverging wide and exploring a range of possible solutions. Testing, iterating, discussing and working through the problem.
- Design Refinement
- Redefining a chosen direction and polishing visual design, preparing designs for engineering hands-off and documenting decisions made.
- Working closely with engineering and product to ensure a successful handoff and implementation process. Before the implementation, a detailed documentation has been prepared for the developers so that besides the designs, they have all of the details in writing as well. A kick off session took place at the start of the implementation and after the components have been developed, the designer has to approve each one of them. Before releasing it into production, a user acceptance testing session took place where all of the implementation has been reviewed.
- Just because a project is live doesn’t mean the work is done. We monitor its performance to discover ideas for improvement.
-05 PRODUCT THINKING
Users journey maps
As the project is quite complex and involves multiple actors, a user journey map has been created to audit the existing approach and to identify all of the opportunities for improvement. The journey map has been updated with the new design to illustrate to the team how actions influence each other and for a better visualisation of the whole process.
-06 PRODUCT THINKING
While working on creating the new solution, we tried to guide our work on the following design principles:
Educate at the right moment
We need to ensure that education is done in a timely and effective manner.
Always keep in mind that there are two types of users - users that are first-time founders and need to be educated for every decision they are asked to take, and experienced founders who do not need to be distracted by long articles explaining what they already know.
Keep the information available but do not make it so that it distracts the user from the main action.
There is a lot of information that needs to be consumed by a founder. Provide the information in small chunks and in the context in which it will be used so that it is not overwhelming.
Nudge users in the right direction
When setting up their company, founders can make mistakes that can cost them greatly later in the future.
We know all of the best practices and we will always display contextual alerts when we will notify the user is about to do a mistake, while still allowing them to proceed with that action if that is what they have been advised to do.
Transparency builds trust
It’s imperative that we are empathetic and understanding of our founders.
We need to understand that for founders, their company is like their baby. They want to be always aware of what is going on so we need to present the status of the processes in progress at any given time.
Case study 1: Sign up redesign
-07 PROBLEM STATEMENT
Low conversion rate
By interpreting the analytics for the existing sign-up flow that required the user to provide the minimum amount of details and then book a call with someone from the sales team, we noticed a high drop rate at the book a call step.
Incorporate the company during sign up
The solution that we came up with was updating the flow to ask for all of the details about the company that is required in order to achieve the first big thing in their company lifetime: Incorporation. This way, even though they still have to book a call with our team, that is happening after they already paid for the product. By the time that call will take place, all of the documents corresponding with the incorporation will be ready.
The design that ended up being implemented are the ones presented in the image below. After experimenting with it on our live website, we came to the conclusion that additional improvements need to be made.
One improvement that can be observed in the second iteration is the left panel that presents additional information such as social proof from our existing or a list of features that has the goal to remind the user why should they sign up for the product.
This is still a work in progress as we monitor the performance of the sign-up and we are working on improvements to increase this conversion.
-09 DESIGN PRINCIPLES
Nudge users in the right direction
Alerts and information boxes have been used in the context of the flow. A set of rules has been defined when each component should be used and what is their importance hierarchy.
Case study 2: Company set-up
- 10 RESEARCH
What did we observe when helping users with the company set-up step?
When working on this problem, our product has already offered a version of this feature. That is why when the project started with a series of user research. For a few days, I started to join the customer call, where our team members helped the new customers set up their companies.
By listening in to all of the questions and unclarities that the users had during the I successfully managed to define the problems that our customers are facing.
During the same research, user profiles stood out:
The first-time founder: the user that is creating a company for the first time and has no previous experience in the legal world. Because of that, the founder needs to spend countless hours researching what to do at each step.
The experienced founder: the user that already has been to this process before and just wants to complete these steps in order to start focusing on the important things.
- 11 BUSINESS GOALS
Offer more independence for the user
As the business grows, we know that onboarding each user it is not something that scales up efficiently. This is why we aim to remove the company set-up call where our team helps the user complete the configuration of the company.
In order to do that, we need to design an interface that will guide the user through the process and that will support all of the potential questions that might show up. At the same time, we need to set up alerts and warnings that will prevent the user to make any choices that might be harmful in the future.
- 14 PRODUCT THINKING
Some of the things that we need to consider for the solution for this problem:
- Make sure that the user has all of the information required to make a decision - defining all of the parameters between the company will operate is a major decision and changing this information might be very expensive in the future
- Reconfirm that the information provided is correct before committing to it and signing all of the documents
- 12 SOLUTION
Contextual help and recommended reading material
The solution that we came up with is to offer all of the information that is needed by the user in the context of the form. This way, they can get all of the relevant information at the right time so they can make an informed decision.
The user has full transparency of the number of steps required to complete the flow and can go back at any given time.
The review screen at the end of the flow gives the user the opportunity to check the information provided and rectify any potential mistakes before the documents will be signed.
The flow has been completely redesigned to have a more clean look and to account for all of the dependencies between the steps. The user flow below presents the steps that are required to successfully complete this flow.
Case study 3: Onboarding
- 13 CURRENT PROBLEM
After the user completes the company set-up, there are a few steps that are required by law in order to have their company fully functional. From all of the customer inquiries, we noticed that this is a very big problem for our users as they do not know about these requirements and also, they do not know how to complete them.
Some of these legal documents are:
- All of the board members need to sign the incorporation documents
- The founders need to get an EIN number for their company
- Founders need to purchase their shares
- US citizens need to file an 83(B) election
In the existing implementation, all of these requirements were presented as a to-do list on the user’s dashboard but the user did to understand the urgency of completing these tasks.
From a product perspective, this issue forced us to limit the access to certain functionalities on the platform as from the legal perspective, the company was not ready.
- 14 PRODUCT THINKING
Some of the things that we need to consider for the solution to this problem:
- The process is not linear - the user needs to wait for the rest of the cofounders in order to move on to the next step or to wait for us to get some documents on their behalf
- How do you explain these blockers to the user?
- How do you inform the user that a new task has been unlocked?
- The whole flow might take a few days - because we need to collaborate with multiple parties, the process can take up to weeks
- How do you give the user access to the documents that have been obtained so far?
- How do you explain to the user why is it taking so long?
- Some paths might be faster than others - based on the decisions that the user takes, the process might be delayed
- How to guide the user on the fastest route?
- 15 PRODUCT THINKING
Guided step-by-step onboarding
Until all of these documents are completed, the company cannot operate from a legal perspective. That is why, we decided to have a step-by-step, guided to-do list where the user will be explained what to do.
The founders will be able to see what is the item that is blocking their progress, and what is going to happen in the next step and they will have access to all of the documents that have been generated for them so far.
A major decision that we took here was to not give the user access to the platform until all of their onboarding is complete, so they are motivated to finalize all of the processes.
-16 DESIGN PRINCIPLES
Transparency builds trust
The onboarding is a process that taxes time and there are a lot of actors involved. That is why, we are always communicating to the user what is left to do or if it is time to wait for an action to be completed.
-17 THE END
By implementing all of these changes, we were able to see a decrease in the number of customer support requests from our users and we managed to get all of the companies that went through this flow to a compliant state. Now, we are monitoring how these flows perform and we are always coming up with improvements to solve the new issues that might show up.