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As a Principal Product Designer at this top three US bank (company obfuscated due to confidentiality) in the process of a digital transformation, I led modernization and optimization efforts for mobile-first Authentication and Identity experiences in the Shared Services division of Strategy & Digital Innovation team.  Much of my role was providing thought leadership and evangelizing design thinking, user-centered design, cross-functional collaboration and best practices within this large established legacy organization still operating with old and ineffective processes.  I was given the freedom to innovate on provocations to optimize existing workflows and integrating new third-party technology to streamline customer experiences such as becoming a customer (onboarding).  I also contributed to the new organization-wide mobile-first design system and pattern library.


Becoming a Customer

I’ll start by saying it’s very difficult and takes a long time to steer a large ship.  During my time at Top Three Bank, a lot of effort and thought leadership was required to think outside of the many existing legacy constraints and innovate on provocations demonstrating what better, more streamlined, more intuitive and modernized experiences utilizing new emerging technologies could look like.

The Problem

One of the most crucial customer journeys touching all lines of business was also the most rife with usability issues, disjointed and unintuitive: the Become A Customer (onboarding) experience.  Based on the data we analyzed, only ~30% of new consumer deposit account applicants were able to complete the journey, verify their identity, get instant approval and are able to immediately begin funding and using their account.  Our team set out to understand why, identify the current points of friction and provide solutions to streamline and consolidate the workflow to increase self-serve success rates and lower the volume of customer support calls to our support team.


We started digging into the data and NPS reports as well as conduct extensive competitive analysis of direct competitors and other influential FinTech products.  Immediately, we were able to spot some glaring usability issues and flaws in the workflow:

  • Account application and online banking enrollment are separate processes, causing confusion and friction for new customers.
  • Only 58% of applicants are auto-booked (instantly approved) for a bank account while the other 42% required further identity verification.
  • 38% can’t complete OOW (Out of Wallet) questions (eg. At which address did you live in San Francisco in 2008?) to verify their identity.
  • 69% are unable to complete online banking enrollment because it asks new customers for their account number and pin number when they haven’t received a debit card yet.
  • Each step of the journey is owned by a different business unit that never coordinated their messaging so new customers were immediately sent eight separate emails about their new account; none of them contained necessary information to access their account.
  • Accounts that weren’t auto-booked were assigned temporary credentials to the applicant’s email.  If the temporary credentials were lost, there is no way a customer could access their account.
  • 68% of new enrollments were on mobile vs. desktop meaning we needed to optimize the mobile experience.
  • All of these user issues resulted in more calls to support agents and low customer satisfaction.


Design is a team sport. We led a cross-functional collaborative design workshop with designers, product and business partners to define what customer needs, goals and pain points have as first-person user stories. We then grouped and synthesized repeated patterns found through the exercise.  From these patterns, we had a clear understanding of strategy and requirements for an improved Become a Customer journey.


Based on the clear user problems, patterns and requirements revealed in the data and workshop, we recommended these solutions to consolidate and streamline the Becoming a Customer journey and increase the success metrics for a delightful self-serve experience.

  • Consolidate account application and online banking enrollment; customers expect it to be a single process.
  • Streamline identity verification by replacing OOW/pin number and utilize a third-party technology, Prove, which provides the ability to verify an identity just by providing a phone number and last 4-digits of SSN. It also has the ability to pre-fill the customer’s personal information in the application form and is projected to increase success rates to 84%.
  • Moving online banking enrollment to the beginning of the journey eliminates the need for temporary credentials should a customer need to abandon and resume the process later.
  • Reduce the amount of and optimize the service design of emails sent to new customers.
  • All of these solutions will greatly reduce the amount of support center calls and increase self-service success rates for new customers.


We then got to work sketching improved solutions to each part of the workflow: account application, one-time passcode (OTP), online account creation and login and identity verification.

Consolidated Flow

We critiqued each other’s sketches and came up with a new, consolidated streamlined workflow.

Mockups and Prototype

The last step was mocking up the new workflow in a sleek and modernized new visual design aesthetic and making it come to life with a prototype.

Project: Mobile Front Porch

With recent change in executive leadership, the top priority for the Experience Design organization was transitioning to Mobile First and finally catching-up to our competitors, industry standards and the rest of the modern internet.  I was part of the Tiger Team working on the updated and modernized visual language, design system and pattern library of the new native mobile app.

Mood Board

We each came up with mood boards populated with comparable visual design examples that conveyed our proposed visual language.  This was the mood board I created:

Front Porch Visual Design

I designed these front porch concepts for this provocation to be presented to senior executive leadership; anyone familiar with this Top Three Bank would recognize what a significant leap this is from the existing legacy visual language and design aesthetic.

Note: My vision for the initial welcome screen was to incorporate a background video of localized photography of our customer’s locale as shown below.