Wells Fargo

A modern enterprise web application designed to enhance financing productivity.

The Problem

The current auto financing application was developed in the late 1980’s. In the current marketplace this system was rapidly aging. It could not support a modern, productive, and evolving business environment users were demanding. The user experience was poor with no mouse or touch input support. The technology stack was not scalable and relied on old mainframe systems.

The Discovery Process

Understanding a new system. A big, complex system.
When Wells Fargo brought me on to redesign their auto financing application, I was a given a high-level overview of the product in about a 1 hour meeting. Of course, I couldn’t believe a green screen mainframe application was still handling $18 billion in auto lending annually, but come to find out we hand only touched 25% of the application's screens during the meeting. I knew then I had stepped into a large and complex challenge.

Immediately, in my first walk-through meeting of the application, I could empathize and see user’s frustrations. I began to meet with users and SME’s through local business offices and witness their daily workflow struggles. How can I help them be more efficient? What do they like about the current application, if anything?

If you spend enough time understanding the problem, the solution will reveal itself to you.

Documenting changes early on.
Product design at this level in Wells Fargo was a new experience – for everyone. Having previous UX research and documentation skills proved to be extremely useful in this project. Documenting the new system would be extremely helpful for the hundreds of loan funders and credit analyst. I approached the problems much like a product manager – find the important data and keep the user’s needs at the center of each decision. This approach brought me to gathering data through user interviews and surveys. With the new data, I could better create a user journey map, user personas, and begin designing solutions in an organized, prioritized, and feasible way.

Sample of Sketches


During this stage of the process, we started to build out the AOS application. The focus here was to address how a users complex task of approving a loan can be streamlined and reduce the amount of screens the analyst must visit – keeping in mind the business requirement of having no scrolling on desktop.

Product Direction

With a visual style guide in place, I was able to manage the product while my junior design team executed screen iterations. This allowed me to focus on testing and revising the user experience to improve productivity rates for our users. A/B testing of new forms and process flows became key pieces to gather feedback data from prototype tests.

My design hypotheses were not always correct.
I learned to enjoy the journey of discovering, through research, what the best solutions would be for our users. I was not always correct and I learned a lot about variant testing in a sandbox environment for our end users. This approach provided the best insights for our team to move forward on feature sets – versus other methods of data gathering I had used on previous projects (i.e. surveys).

An assumption I had made early on was that due to such prominence of mobile applications in our lives that our users would be accustomed to a hamburger menu. Upon testing with our user focus group, I noticed user interaction with the utility menu was only around 30%. Users did not know where to access helpful utilities to help get through the process of funding an auto loan.

It was back to the drawing board for me.
I came up with a new solution that retained a modern feel, but used the word ‘menu’ in the icon for easy distinction of what this button would do. Throughout the next group sessions, I saw user interaction with the utility menu increase to 98%.

Visual Solution

To begin this process, I started with identifying the best color scheme and typeface to reflect the Wells Fargo brand in the application. One of the biggest lessons I learned on a previous project, is to build your design system early and test often. Define each and every UX pattern. During this time I was using Sketch to deliver my visual solutions, and InVision was used for prototype testing with end-users and executive team members.

I partnered with our development team very closely through the entire design and build process. I was involved with daily developer scrums to stay up to speed on progress, assist with any necessary asset adjustments, and advocate for the users when questions arose from developers.

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