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Turned around an annual hours-long process dreaded by all to a 15-minute to-do checklist item

To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information in this case study. The information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of YPO.


The annual membership renewal process for YPO, involving approximately 28,000 members, was a daunting and stressful task due to intricate eligibility rules and outdated programming logic. The process required completion by the fiscal year's start in July, with a starting date of April 30th. In the past, attempts had been made to improve the process through UI and UX changes, resulting in a convoluted experience. This case study outlines the transformation of this process into a simplified and efficient 15-minute task guided by thorough UX research.

The Problems

The renewal process was plagued by members not completing it and subsequently overwhelming customer service. The primary goal was to achieve a 100% self-service experience within 15 minutes. Extensive user research uncovered several pain points:

  • Confusing and difficult screens/flow navigation due to poor labeling, layout and no.2 below.

  • A very boolean process that was not adequately communicated as to progress, location, missed paths, and information regarding remaining steps.

YPO Renewal Process. Content is blurred due to confidentiality, shown only to illustrate complexity.
YPO Renewal Process. Content is blurred due to confidentiality, shown only to illustrate complexity.
  • Parts of the process were still analog

  • High incidence of credit card errors/declines

  • Checkout was a single enter-a-card page.

  • No visibility into what the member was purchasing.

  • Inability to complete certification online after selecting a payment method

  • English as a second language for many members

  • Customer Service lacked visibility into unidentified/unapplied payments

My Role

I wore two hats for this project. The first is the senior designer responsible for the overall UX and the UI. This involved collaborating with a third-party development agency to deliver the project on time. My other role was focused on user research, which began with a heuristic review and wireframe recommendations. Key activities included:

  • Conducting a global 16-user usability study to understand user experiences and gather feedback.

  • Performing wireframe testing to identify pain points and improvements.

  • Engaged in ethnographic studies to observe users renewing their memberships in real-time.

  • Utilizing a System Usability Scale (SUS) for feedback for the first time.

  • Organizing a customer journey mapping workshop to further empathize with users and gain insights from various stakeholders.

Placemat template used by each attendee to record their inputs on the touch-points as the workshop progressed

Connect App Wireframes


Given the extensive intertwining of the new experience with the old system, the recommendations aimed at incremental improvements until a complete system rewrite could be undertaken:

Improve User Interface:

  • Revamp onscreen navigation for clarity and ease.

  • Establish a consistent UI for data entry.

  • Enhance error messages and create a standardized copy deck.

Example of new consistent messaging to help mitigate critical errors.
Example of new consistent messaging to help mitigate critical errors.

Optimize Payment Process:

  • Remove unnecessary credit card renewal options for Lifetime members.

  • Design and structure an e-commerce-style checkout process so members can review what is being purchased and feel more comfortable with their spend. Also allows for better error mitigation and handling.

  • Enhance UI and backend to minimize credit card declines.

  • Implement better reporting for Customer Service to manage declined payments.

  • Enable credit card payments for members in countries like China.

  • Ensure cross-device compatibility for payment processing.

Simplify Process Logic:

  • Improve upfront communication and direction for users.

  • Allow users to save and exit the process.

  • Enhance Analytics and Reporting:

  • Ensure comprehensive analytics tagging on all pages.

  • Generate on-demand reporting based on collected data.

  • Streamline the completion of members' profiles by removing extra clutter. Only displaying one section at a time reduces the overwhelming feeling of its enormity.

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