Stopping Unwanted Subscriptions
I was recently inspired by a UX case study written by YaChin You in which she walked through her process to produce quick results for UX design challenges. Her goal – and mine as a result – was to accomplish as much of the nitty gritty user empathy research and persona creation in the span of a 45-minute design exercise.
Using a prompt on her website, UX Challenge, I set out to help customers stop unwanted subscription fees.
In 45 minutes, I was able to:
identify the end user
create a job story
create a persona for them
rank importance of features for the end user
evaluate current satisfaction with a comparable solution
identify areas of opportunity in creating a new solution
ideate potential solutions
define success metrics
storyboard the user interacting with a design solution
build a basic process flow for how the solution will work
I began by narrowing the end user down to help me identify a persona. Specifically, I wanted to focus on subscribers who want to reduce subscriptions they don't need. With the end user in mind, I created the following job story:
"When I receive a bill for a subscription, I want to review and manage my other subscriptions, so I can stop unwanted subscription fees and stay in control."
I created a proto-persona to guide my interpretation of their needs and center my design on the problems they may have. This persona can be verified with additional research at a later time, but for the sake of the exercise, I had to make some assumptions to stay on time.
Based on Michael, my persona, I was able to come up with some of their primary needs as a user. I ranked the importance of each of Michael's needs on a scale of 1-10. On the other side, I ranked his current satisfaction with his existing solution: an Excel spreadsheet used to track his monthly budget.
By subtracting the current satisfaction from the importance of each need, I was able to determine the opportunity I had for really impressing my user -- as well as identifying core features that my solution should accommodate. Anything with a high opportunity score would be an easy win for me to consider in my design, since their current solution doesn’t cover it. Anything that broke even or lower on the opportunity score also indicated features that are core to the expected experience.
My ideation led me to a simple mobile application that would let Michael connect his bank account and monitor all of his ongoing subscriptions. If a new recurring bill showed up on his statement, the app could notify Michael and walk him through the unsubscribe process, if he chooses.
To determine success for the mobile application, I wanted to look for opportunities that we could measure when the app was doing it's job correctly. In addition to conventional usability testing, I would want to keep the following success metrics in mind during the design process:
Number of subscriptions detected from a bank statement
Number of subscriptions successfully cancelled by the user while using the app
The amount of time it takes for a user to configure the app and link their bank account
The amount of time it takes for a user to successfully cancel a subscription
After I had organized my assumptions and ideated a potential solution, it was time to create a mock scenario for Michael and to see how the solution would help him out. I created a simple storyboard that helped notify Michael of a new subscription on his account, his reaction to that, and a way for him to take action and cancel it.
The storyboard was a useful tool that helped me identify a process flow for how the app would work.
The Process Flow
Michael would launch the app, allow his bank statements to be imported, review his subscriptions, and rank them by importance to him. The app could then suggest subscriptions that he may want to drop, depending on how difficult it would be to cancel them. Then, if Michael was interested, he could cancel the subscriptions and then be notified again in the future if any other unwanted subscriptions were detected.
Just as I was starting my app design sketches, my 45 minute timer expired. I had accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. My sketches show some simple interactions with a tiles card interface where the user can easily view their subscriptions and take actions right away. I plan to return to this design in the future and iterate based on what I have collected so far.
I found this exercise useful because it sharpened my problem solving skills and reinforced the need to build empathy for an end user before starting a design. Additionally, I found certain tasks more time consuming than others, which indicates I have more room to grow in those areas.
I expect to complete more of these challenges in the future -- even for older ideas of mine that could benefit from a fresh perspective at the end user.
If interested, you can read YaChin's full case study on Medium. A lot of my work for this project is based on the workflow she describes in her writeup.