Re-DESIGNING the lender experience

Client: Zopa

Role: Lead UX Designer

Output: Fully re-designed lender account

Result: NPS increase of 10 points, Revenue increase 120% over two years



In summer of 2014 we begun a research project that looked the ways in which people engaged with P2P lending as an alternative to banking. The goal of this research was to provide a qualitative evidence base for a full re-design of the lender experience. 

 Slide from user research card sorting exercise presentation

Slide from user research card sorting exercise presentation

User research

We recruited 15 participants over four weeks for user research to uncover needs and attitudes for people lending their money to others on the Zopa platform. With involvement from Lancaster University’s Sociolology Department, interested in how participants responded to lending as an alternative to saving with a bank in the wake of the financial crash, we developed three rounds of semi-structured interviews. Each round of interviews developed on the findings of the last. 

 Slide from Lender Vision presentation to senior stakeholders

Slide from Lender Vision presentation to senior stakeholders

Establishing an ongoing framework

Together with the data science team we looked for behavioural patterns around frequency and type of account use and formed three primary segments, which helped to inform our personas. We identified business goals for each segment and looked to align them to user goals identified from our research. Setting up regular recruitment of research participants from our customer base, aligned with these groups, helped us to establish a research framework for iterative development and keep the work aligned to our business goals.


 Lender team usability testing feedback session

Lender team usability testing feedback session

Team participation in the design process 

At Zopa everyone is involved in research and usability sessions, from developers, business owners and data science through to customer service. In order to bring the observations from these sessions into the design process we run bi-weekly workshops, which get the wider team thinking about the development challenges in the same way that our customers see them.

In conjunction with these workshops we run ideation sessions which focus on a specific problem and encourage everyone to sketch and edit possible solutions individually and then share them with the team. These sessions look to combine business, customer and stakeholder needs in the design process.

 Sketched ideas laid out for the team to provide feedback

Sketched ideas laid out for the team to provide feedback


We used paper and clickable prototypes to communicate and test new functionality. Sketching out ideas quickly allowed us to share functional ideas with the wider team, involving legal, compliance and tech early on in the process to understand a workable solution early. Then prototyping in html, using a custom-build prototyping environment meant that the designs were focused on using a real toolkit of parts to work to a more realising solution. The other advantage of prototyping in html is that it feels real in the hands of the user, unlike creating clickable hotspots. 

This support the realness of the prototypes we also created a small dummy dataset which the prototypes called to populate realistic data in each scenario we tested. Using realistic data was vitally important when testing a prototype in order to observe genuine reactions from participants. 


Delivery 1: New account structure

The legacy account structure was found, through interviews and usability testing, to be over complicated for the majority of users. Through interviews focused on uncovering user needs and card sorting exercises we grouped and prioritised user goals and mapped them to Zopa’s lender content. This research allowed us to give proper hierarchy to the most popular content or actions on the site, whilst grouping less popular content in thematic sections.

The new account structure simplified the user journey to the top content pages and created a less cluttered experience for the majority of lenders, many of whom logged around once a month to check on their investment. 

The new architecture focused on three primary journeys: 1) Checking up on investment, 2) Withdrawing money, 3) Lending more money out. The structure allowed us to track goals in Google Analytics more easily and provided a simpler experience for customers.


Delivery 2: A new reporting framework

Reporting to date had been focused on information about the asset. Research with target users identified that this was unnecessary and over-complicated from the majority of users. Interviews and surveys discovered that the overwhelming majority of users were focused primarily on cash earnings. The research allowed us to create a strong business case for focusing the reporting experience on amount earned. 

Despite a desire in the business to display all transaction information, which would total thousands of automatic transactions per month for most users, research and iterative prototyping focused our efforts on a reporting framework which focused primarily on earnings. We also combined several legacy reports into one simpler and more usable framework.


Delivery 3: New lending products

Throughout the project functionality that was validated in prototypes was fead into the backlog for the development team to work on. However a core insight from our research was that the financial product Zopa was offering, focused on term, didn’t match user needs which were risk/return and access. The commercial team re-configured the new financial products around these insights.

When it came to launching these products alongside a framework which should support ISAs, it became apparent the account experience would become increasingly complex.

By implementing and design new product features by a process of progressive enhancement, whereby the more products a user has the more complexity they’re allowed, we managed to maintain a simple experience for the majority of users, whilst proving more flexibility for others. The result was a boost in investor funding and revenue.