Improving online joint account opening

Client: A large financial institution in U.S.
Project Characteristics: Usability test | Iterative testing | Participants in pairs | Prototype usability test
Industry: Finance

One of the top U.S. financial institutions was improving their online joint account opening process. Wireframes had been developed, and they wanted to test the new design prior to development of the web system. I was the project manager/lead consultant for the usability test. Testing was split up into two days with a non-testing day in-between, allowing the design team to implement some of the findings from the first day prior to the second day of testing.

Project goals:

  1. Assess whether the workflow through the application is intuitive.
  2. Achieve a design that guides users toward the right selections throughout the application.
  3. Determine if there is confusion when the joint applicants’ information is combined during the application process.


  1. Due to a tight timeline, the wireframe was not completely done as the testing started. Updates were made throughout the first sessions until all issues were fixed.
  2. Each session had 2 participants, which posed a minor challenge in terms of the interpersonal dynamics.
  3. A Top line report (including design suggestions) was completed within 12 hours from the last usability session on the first testing day.
  4. Because the system was redesigned between the two testing days, it was necessary to quickly get familiarized with the changes in the morning of the second test day.


The design after the second test day worked well and aligned with the participants’ mental model. There was only one minor issue regarding a specific selection. Even though the design started out with some issues, the final design was a huge success and the client was able to continue their efforts.