CAF American Donor Fund
Mobile-first account for dual UK and US taxpayers to achieve greater impact with their giving
0 %
increase in donations this year compared to 2017/18
0 %
increase in amount granted to charities to £78.4m

Significant growth in transatlantic philanthropy through online account 🌱

Positive feedback from donors 👍

The story

The CAF American Donor Fund (CADF) is designed specifically for individuals paying tax in the United States and the United Kingdom looking for a smart, tax-effective way to achieve greater impact with their philanthropy. The fund allows customers to make donations to charities worldwide and receive tax relief in the UK and US. Over £57 million was given to charities through CAF American Donor Fund in 2016/17. We also needed to reach more clients, particularly in the USA, if we were to grow.

Previously, CADF customers had no visibility of their accounts online and feedback showed our users were clamoring for this feature. They lead busy, global lives and expect online access to their funds so that they can make the high profile grants to charities they want to, as well as manage their accounts in a simple way at any time and from any time zone.

Customers are used to intuitive, seamless and secure experiences so the challenge was to deliver a compelling customer experience that caters for digital natives who expect the whole journey to happen on their phone, with mobile now accounting for 65% of digital media time.

Before this project, the process of applying to open a CADF account was paper based – a slow, cumbersome experience and a barrier to opening an account. It also required manual data entry which was wasteful and prone to error. A quicker turnaround between a client applying and their account being opened was essential.

How I did it

  • I led the design to deliver a far more professional client experience and more competitive product, now far superior to our competitors.
  • I started the discovery phase with a kickoff session with the Product Owner and others, where we discussed the problem and came up with ideas.
  • Ran a provisional persona exercise to get to know our typical users.
  • Created inspirational libraries, learning from other successful products, so I’d have a place to turn to for multiple ideas when working on a new problem.
  • Worked with the Product Owner to understand what we currently sent clients on their paper-based statements for transactions and investments and feature requests that have been made to improve teh experience
  • Initial concepts and sketchboard sessions for core workflows.
  • Detailed visual designs in Sketch for each page and state of the experience, ensuring design was consistent with my digital style guide
  • Prototype created with Marvel, which I put in front of some volunteers giving them a series of tasks. This helped me validate a few concepts. An example of this was a five-second test. I showed the design to a user for five seconds and then removed it from sight and asked them what they remembered about the design.
  • Remote user testing with existing customers for feedback, which allowed me to iterate further.
  • Delivered design specifications and annotations to the development team and worked closely with them as they implemented my ideas.
  • Reviewed and tested the UX at the end of each development sprint before release.
Mapping out the user journey and some initial ideas for the sign up process.
An early wireframe of the logged in dashboard focussing on the basics like what information should appear on the screen
Wireframing helped me establish the basic structure of a page before visual design and content was added.
Example of a screen from CADF’s onboarding flow presented in a wizard.
A wizard was designed to reduce errors by making the user follow sequential steps.

The results

The number of accounts opened and overall receipts have increased significantly when compared to last year. What’s more, other Product Managers have been very keen to redesign their products in this way and I’ve managed to build excitement and momentum within the company. Its got people talking about and interested in user experience and the feedback from customers has been positive. This makes it much easier when it comes to convincing management and other stakeholders to take action.