Our main goal for this project was to make the membership application process as simple and easy to follow as possible. Ultimately, this meant reducing the overall time it took a user to complete the form.
We started with lo-fi sketches, which was quickly turned into a prototype to get the fields in place and get started on the back-end structure. Design and development happened concurrently with each iterative sprint allowing us to refine the visual design.
To shorten the application process, we identified opportunities where we could edit, combine, or delete fields. We looked at best practices for this type of form and found that most users find them easier to complete when fields are layered vertically with each respective label placed directly above. For most instances we followed this pattern and broke from it only when well established mental models would help the applicant with filling the field faster (like an address field for example). We also added inline validation so users would have immediate feedback.
Lastly, we added google analytics in order to gain more insight into how applicants proceed with the application. Our clients can now look at their conversion and bounce rates; see at what specific point in our form an applicant decides to stop; and ultimately make decisions using real data and not assumptions.
“OMFG the new online application is soooooo much better than the old one!!”
The form is the gateway into ASCAP membership. Because of that there are many departments that own a part of the form and depend on the information it provides. The form was large because it incorporated different information needs from different departments.
The larger challenge was in communicating with the different departments to have them all see the value in the recommended changes.
To reduce the number of steps we had to research why the previous questions on the form were necessary. This meant communicating with different departments to understand their workflow and how the info from the form helped them to perform their tasks. We never accepted ‘well, that's the way its always been done’ as an answer. Instead, we researched the whys by talking to different departments, understanding their workflows, and creating more efficient one’s based on their needs.
Many times we found that we could alleviate mundane manual processes by introducing more logic into the form. Essentially we designed a streamlined form that was not only easier and faster for new users to complete, but also helped in making ASCAP employees work easier to do.
Faster completion time
We’ve drastically reduced the number of steps involved to complete an application.
Encourage use of Members Access
As a last step we ask applicants to create a Members Access user account and provide a link for users to apply as a publisher.
We’ve updated language to have a friendlier tone where possible. and added micro- copy and instructions that are succinct.
No More Black Holes
Users were given specific reasons why their application was pending or denied and given direct options on what they could do to remedy it.