Client: Ferring Fertility
The Brief: Ferring Fertility has run an annual contest for users of their products to tell their stories of pregnancy for several years. They had users submit paper forms and printed photographs by mail up until 2013 when the website was redesigned. The client wanted to move the contest application process online as well as integrate social media. By the time I learned I was assigned to the project, a contract developer had already given a bid for its development.
What I did:
From the development POV, the application would include an online form with fields to upload a video, photos, and documents. Then the form would be submitted with no option for revision. After learning this, my intuition told me that something wasn’t right. Though we didn’t have any information from previous contestants about their experience applying, I thought about the mothers of young children I knew personally and used them as my models. The first descriptive word that appeared in my mind was ‘busy.’ Busy mothers juggling family and work responsibilities – how could we make the application process easy for them?
I obtained a copy of the paper form that the online form would be based on and sketched the workflow as a simple cartoon. I soon realized there were several problems with the functionality of the proposed online application. One of the biggest was that users had to get a signed document from their physician to qualify. I feared that these busy moms might not be able to obtain the signature in time to submit it with their digital photos and video.
The accounts team and the developer needed to be notified of these problems before coding so I created a storyboard to walk the Account Representative through the complete application process including the online submission steps. Any potential “pain points” the user could experience were highlighted.
My first suggestion for preventing submission problems was to allow users to create accounts to save and manage their contest entries, but the budget was already set and could not accommodate that idea. Instead, we were able to allow for additional form submissions by email. My idea to include printable contest instructions on the main contest page so they could be accessible away from the computer was also used.
Finally, I suggested that the form be broken up into sections and created a more traditional workflow document to give to the lead developer.
My contract was up before the contest was live, so a lot of questions I had about the project results were never answered. For example, what were participation totals before and after the contest switched to a digital process? What was the drop-off rate; how many users started filling out the form and didn’t finish and where was the most common stopping point? Any large decreases and increases in users should be studied before designing future iterations. A follow-up survey of selected participants could provide useful insight into their experience.