Intuit: TurboTax Estimated Taxes
Company: Intuit is a leading provider of financial management, tax, and online banking solutions.
Solution: TurboTax Estimated Taxes helps people estimate, file, and pay quarterly taxes.
Timeline: Oct 2006 - Sept 2007
Intuit initially hired me as a staff UI Designer to support TurboTax Estimated Taxes (now defunct). Although I designed interaction for numerous projects while at Intuit, this project represents a large chunk of my time and effort.
- Heuristic analysis
- SSNiF identification. This process was developed by Philip Haine to help focus designs by forcing every feature to be explained with a stakeholder and situation that informs the need (Stakeholder, Situation, Need, Feature). Ultimately, the needs become the primary focus of the design.
- Low and high-fidelity mockups
- Visual design
- Usability testing
- Product management
- Development management
Example Problem: Confused navigation and complicated on-boarding workflow
I conducted several usability and marketing studies from late 2006 to early 2007. Each study focussed on different aspects of the user experience ranging from SEO to help the user find the application to specific tasks a returning user wants to accomplish. Among the many learnings from this research, we found the majority of our users were elderly retirees. Users had trouble finding where the tasks lived and weren’t sure when they were done with the task. We saw high rates of abandonment during setup and initial use.
Example Solution: Consolidate information architecture and remove hurdles
First, I redesigning the setup user experience from a 14 step process to 3 steps. This substantially reduced the abandonment rate and initial confusion. Ultimately, this decreased support calls and abandonment rates.
Next, I redesigned the home page with a checklist metaphor to guide users to the remaining tasks based on their needs. The checklist guided users to next steps required by the IRS, errors that must be corrected, and points of concern within their account. This further decreased confusion by giving users a clear set of objectives each quarter.
Lastly, I simplified the filing process to a single screen from a 4 step process; simplified the account management and reports sections; and improved navigation and confidence within the estimated taxes calculator.
- Decreased account creation workflow from 14 steps to 3 steps
- Increased retention rate by 30%
- Decreased time to complete common tasks by approximately 50%
- Generated over $400k in revenue per year with 40k active users
The simplified workflows and design tested very well in usability, and successfully increased retention while decreasing support calls. However, the entire market of people filing estimated taxes is less than 1M in the United States. Therefore, TurboTax Estimated Taxes was discontinued in 2009 due to low adoption rates. This potential market simply didn’t translate into enough revenue for Intuit to justify the costs long-term.