Reimagining Microfinance in the Philippines

Improving an innovation product’s chances for market adoption

  • Industry

    Financial Technology

  • Type

    Online Financing

  • Methods

    Interaction / UX Design, Usability Testing, In-Context Insights, Content Strategy, Product Management

  • Collaborators

    Founders, Engineering team, Marketing team, Loan Operations team, Customer Service team, Data Science team

YesCredit Financing is one of the country’s newest fintech startups, led by founders with deep experience in building and managing digital products here in the Philippines, and in the United States.

Their initial goal is to offer a convenient, transparent and usable online loans service. And, their longer-term objective is to provide various financial solutions catering to Filipinos, in a country without a classic credit scoring model, and low bank account ownership.

Catching and solving conversion pitfalls throughout a loan application userflow

The Work

We had a transparent workflow with YesCredit's development team -- assessing the wireframes together so they could develop the structure immediately.

YesCredit needed full design work, but within a “minimum viable product" (MVP) type of workflow.

The product owners believe in iterative design and a lean style of management, so the work needed to include periodic product releases — similar to a public beta.

One of the key ingredients in pulling off two iterations in three months was having an aligned understanding and ownership about the value of the different roles to the conversion objectives, among the team.

Priority Studios designed, tested and re-designed the initial iteration of their consumer interface, with each release one month apart.

We were very lucky to work with a well-oiled machine of a team - from tech, product, operations, customer service and marketing.

Research

Because of the country’s low credit card ownership and attachment to cash transactions, there were no best practices yet for local interfaces geared towards online financing. Most of the available best practices for online financing services were for developed markets, in the Western world.

To get feedback about our prototype, while understanding users' current needs and pain points, we partnered usability testing with in context research (in 2-3 day bursts of fieldwork, observed by team representatives).

We were very lucky to work with a well-oiled machine of a team - from tech, product, operations, customer service and marketing.

Prototyping and Design

We're believers in objectives-driven design, and the main challenge was structuring the website to balance user and business goals:

1) Make it as easy as possible for users to understand the process and apply
2) Gather all the information and verification needed to legitimize the application
3) Gather the information needed for the system to be able to asses whether it would be healthy for a user to borrow money

There were over 50 required questions and user tasks which would potentially turn away applicants. So, we audited a number of interfaces about finance or that required long forms, for a variety of user experience options.

Each prototyping and interface design stage took majority of the month. We had a transparent workflow with YesCredit's development team -- assessing the wireframes together so they could develop the structure immediately.

Catching and solving conversion pitfalls throughout a loan application userflow

Content Strategy

After launching and testing the MVP, we were able to learn a bit more about what users needed guidance on during the userflow, and what copy points were needed.

We worked with the business leads to craft a content strategy and content plan. No small feat for a new finance product, which needed much explanation on "how it worked”, and included a lengthy application form.

Product Management

We also drafted the initial user stories for the product, prioritizing which actions would be designed and developed for the Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

The Impact

The team was able to gain a better understanding of the potential types of users YesCredit may attract - a critical element for a new, disruptive product.

We captured the critical comprehension issues and design inefficiencies of the consumer site, due to two rounds of usability testing (even within a three-month span) and a lot of design audits.

By the third major iteration, the main copy, format and userflow issues were already fixed and users would go through the product funnel without major issues.

One of the key ingredients in pulling off two iterations in three months was having an aligned understanding and ownership about the value of the different roles to the conversion objectives, among the team.

Priority Studios designed, tested and re-designed the initial iteration of their consumer interface, with each release one month apart.forms, for a variety of user experience options.

For one round of usability testing, we caught a comprehension issue that caused the user an extra 40 seconds of confusion, leading him to give up and unsuccessfully complete a task critical to conversion.

The team was able to gain a better understanding of the potential types of users YesCredit may attract - a critical element for a new, disruptive product.

Since it was built from the ground up and was an industry disruptor, the product needed to benchmark against itself and grow its customer base. And the product was able to serve over 200 loans to customers, after the first 3 months.

YesCredit's interface design itself was also appreciated by one of the investors, who wanted to convey an innovative product for Filipinos - since YesCredit was one of the first online loan services in the country.

This helped us design the types of copy, phrasing or design elements that may be suited for them, even before the marketing was turned on.

Project Notes

Bank microfinance served over 1.2 million Filipinos, while microfinance NGO's 3.5 million more, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The Philippines has a great need for institutions that offer financing solutions that are accessible to the unbanked majority of Filipinos, especially when we have a great tendency to opt for informal lending or loan sharks.

Our Project Partner

"(My job is) providing responsible loans online, to people who otherwise would not have access to fair credit."

"(What I love about it is) solving problems and moving fast with our team, to make our customers' lives better. Getting to know our customers' needs, ensuring that our product looked great from the very beginning, and developing the brand's voice."

DANIELLE GARCIA CO-FOUNDER, YESCREDIT