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Potted Plants

Reimagining Onboarding

Building a better onboarding process by employing a human-centric approach to account originations

Project Brief


Key Bank


Group Design Manager



Project Description

Reimagine an Originations platform for both customers and branch employees that is not only cohesive and intuitive but also designed to cross-promote KeyBank's diverse product lines and services.

Stakeholder Goals

To build an Account Originations onboarding flow that could be funded in under 5 minutes.

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this was the branch-facing interface for KeyBank employees and was a software workhorse, but was long overdue to be put out to pasture and retired. The online customer-facing experience was equally problematic with a high drop-off rate, low conversion rates plus a slurry of negative reviews and customer feedback.

Where We Started

Jokes Aside...

Defining a Process

Initial Observations

The UX Team conducted six moderated in-person evaluations of the proposed concepts with branch associates and retail customers to evaluate preference and performance in a one-on-one setting. Participants received a scenario description, then interacted on their own with the prototype. Facilitators only asked questions after participants completed a process.

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Survey Says!

Most participants preferred the visually led direction, over the more compact component designs. Similar to components, in regards to retention, most of the information areas and terminology had been validated with minor needs for improvement. However, there were a couple of items that had a few more questions:

  1. How branch associates respond to consumer questions about bank processes.

  2. Each branch associate talked about secondary ID verification in different ways. Associates seemed to be very policy-driven and wanted to ensure they are following regulations and compliance.

What We Learned About Banking Regulations


To streamline the in-branch experience, bankers mentioned a desire to allow customers to access their devices via a touchscreen monitor. As enthusiastic as we were about this idea, Federal Banking Regulations forbid customers from handling any banking-controlled device due to the sensitive nature of the information to mitigate risk and curb any potential security threats.

Research Iterations


The Account Originations Team conducted six moderated user tests with six KeyBank branch associates. In these sessions, each participant navigated through a prototype of the updated account origination flow. The goal for this round was to assess component and language updates based upon previous evaluations. 

  1. Knowledge and confidence Associates described the prototype as being a useful tool that would help them share knowledge and competency while gaining their customers’ trust.

  2. Building relationships Associated are focused on building a long-term relationship with the customer that helps them meet the customer’s unique needs. In the usability sessions, banking associates talked about starting the conversation around financial wellness.

  3. Mitigating risk It was important for branch associates to minimize risk for KeyBank, themselves, and the customer. The way they focused on this was through policy training, choosing low-risk methods of information gathering.

  4. Guiding customers During usability sessions, the team observed that branch associates used the content on the screen as a script. Branch Associates noted that the language provided on the screen was natural and conversational.

These findings were consolidated into four user themes:

Leveraging Customer Insight

To gain tactical insights to inform both the current experience while gathering strategic ideas that will form Phase 2 and 3 of the project, a 29 question survey was created. Leveraging a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions about banking habits with credit cards and home loans provided valuable customer empathy used to gain numerical insights including an understanding about what customers thought about their money.

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Initial Design Exploration

Design System Implementation

By having a design system in place we were able to rapidly prototype, develop, and collect immediate feedback from our users.


Delivery Examples

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Project Results & Metrics

Not only were we successful in delivering the stakeholder and business requirements by being able to open and fund an account in under five minutes, but we also used this new feature to set the design standard for our component and design system. By leveraging their insights, we built a product based on customer and banker needs. Our brick-and-mortar bankers also shared customer enthusiasm because we included them in the design process and built a branch portal that was intuitive, ADA-compliant, and mirrored the customer portal.

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