LINH NGUYEN
Digital Product Designer

PRICING PLAN RECOMMENDATION TOOL

PRICING PLAN RECOMMENDATION TOOL

PROJECT DETAILS

Xero is an award winning cloud-based accounting software platform, with over 2 million global users. The pricing page is one of the most visited pages on xero.com and informs users of Xero's plans, prices and features.

PROJECT BRIEF

Visitors to xero.com are turning to cheaper software solutions, or choosing the cheaper tiered plans which may not necessarily be appropriate for their needs.

Expenses was recently launched as an add-on to the Xero platform in Australia, and it needed to be up-sold on the pricing page. Additional add-ons, such as Payroll and Projects, also have high targets.

I was tasked with designing a pricing plan recommendation tool to help users choose the right plan for their needs. 

TEAM

  • Digital experience specialist
  • Developer
  • Marketing managers

CONTRIBUTIONS

  • Discovery research
  • Facilitating ideation and co-design
  • Business analysis
  • Decision logic flow
  • Wireframing
  • Prototyping
  • User testing
  • User testing analysis
  • UI design

DESIGN PROCESS

1. EMPATHISE

An important part of my design process is being able to empathise with users. However, no specific research had been conducted in order to determine if the pricing recommendation tool was a real user need. In order to address this knowledge gap, I conducted discovery research. This involved interviewing the head of direct sales at Xero, and leveraging pre-existing research from the product team in order to obtain insights about user needs. Xero.com uses a chatbot that assists users with general enquiries about Xero and its pricing plans so I also interviewed its product owner, who helped me identify further user problems. Finally, in order to contextualise the data I had gathered from these interviews I conducted a competitive analysis of other websites.

USER NEEDS IDENTIFIED FROM DISCOVERY RESEARCH

  • The language used on the pricing page was one size fits all and didn't cater to different audiences. Some users didn't understand accounting and Xero related terminology, while others wanted more in-depth detail.
  • Users experienced difficulties in selecting the right plan for their specific needs. The most common requests for help choosing the right plan came from not-for-profits, sole traders, and people who wanted to use Xero for personal accounting.
  • Users often didn't know if Xero was right for their specific needs.
  • Xero's total price was unclear. This was one of the most common enquiries, with users often asking if there were discounts, if it costs more to add multiple users or accountants, and the total cost including add-ons.
  • Users wanted to understand the value of Xero, with many not understanding why it had a higher price than its competitors.

2. DEFINE AND IDEATE

I framed the problem as:

How might we help users choose the right plan and add-ons for their needs, and then be able to easily calculate the total cost?

I created a decision logic tree which works in a way that the user is only presented with questions that are relevant to them. This ensured that the quiz would be as simple and easy for users as possible.

I created a decision logic tree which works in a way that the user is only presented with questions that are relevant to them. This ensured that the quiz would be as simple and easy for users as possible.

IDEATION

During the discovery research phase, I had gathered evidence that there was a real user problem and there was clear desire for a pricing recommendation tool. I facilitated an ideation session with my team mates, building on How Might We problem statements to solve some other problems uncovered in the research.

BUSINESS ANALYSIS AND DECISION LOGIC TREE

The next step involved thinking about the business needs, product ladder and how the features and plans were structured. The challenge revolved around how to balance business requirements whilst ensuring that the quiz would be simple and quick for users to complete. It was also a balancing act between generating more revenue for the business, but recommending an appropriate plan for users. 

3. WIREFRAME AND PROTOTYPE
PRICING PLAN RECOMMENDATION TOOL

WIREFRAMING

I created low fidelity wireframes using Sketch so that I could present these early stage concepts to the rest of the team and stakeholders for feedback.

Please note that I have recreated the prototype in Figma here, as I no longer have access to the Invision prototype.

PROTOTYPING

After several rounds of iteration, mostly based on content and logic, I turned the wireframes into a simple prototype.

4. USER TEST AND ANALYSE
Some of our synthesis from the user testing.

Some of our synthesis from the user testing.

Since there was no budget or time allocated in the project plan to do user testing, I chose quick and lean ways to do user testing: guerrilla testing, testing with friends and family, and asking my coworkers to do the same. Testing with friends and family is not robust as they tend to have biases and may be afraid to give honest feedback. Although none of these tests would have been sufficient on their own, being able to compare results helped to identify and mitigate biases, and highlight the most essential themes and insights. I was able to test with 4 guerrilla testing participants and we had 6 family and friends as participants.

PRICING PLAN RECOMMENDATION TOOL

PAINPOINTS 1 & 2

  • The language on the prototype was still difficult to understand, with most participants unsure what phrases like "Entering bills", "Reconciling bank transactions", "Managing projects" specifically meant.
  • While users were happy to complete the recommendation tool under the conditions of user testing, many said they were deterred by the amount of text and wanted it to look and feel more engaging. This would have helped to motivate them to complete it.

Design solutions

  • Added tooltips.
  • Humanised the language.
  • Completed the UI design ensuring it is engaging and interactive.

PRICING PLAN RECOMMENDATION TOOL

PAINPOINTS 3 & 4

  • The results screen was confusing, as it looked like users could select multiple plans.
  • Users were confused after clicking "Buy now" as they thought that they would be able to pay for the total package.

Design solutions

  • Change selection button on plans to radio buttons. Change selection button on add-ons to tickboxes.
  • Move the price away from "Buy now" button. Add a message for users to inform them that the add-ons need to be added after purchase.

PRICING PLAN RECOMMENDATION TOOL

PAINPOINT 5

Users often didn't know the answers to specific questions, and didn't want to feel trapped into selecting a response.

Design solution

Added "I don't know" buttons.

5. UI DESIGN AND BUILD

I worked on the UI design in Sketch and exported them to Invision and Zeplin. I used the Xero branding guidelines and UI global components. I created the illustrations following the Xero illustration guidelines. During this process, I was stationed next to the developer, which allowed me to explain to him the interactions and micro-transitions for the design and answer any questions he had about the logic of the quiz. Normally I would share examples of other websites that have similar micro-transitions, or create them myself in Axure or After Effects, but on this project I was lucky enough to work with a developer who understood my vision without needing it to be demonstrated.

We included a quiz survey on the last page - a “Was this helpful” question which, when selected, allows the user to give further feedback. Other metrics we measured were sign up rates and drop off rates.

6. LEARNINGS AND RESULTS

The main challenges in this project was resistance against conducting both discovery research and user testing. I was working with stakeholders and co-workers who did not have a background in human centred design, and were expecting the tool to be a "quick" A/B test. 

I was able to counteract this by leveraging existing research and reaching out to other departments at Xero who have closer contact with customers, conducting cheap and lean user testing, and adding a small feedback tool to the final screen of the quiz. Being limited by research methods and testing that aren't as robust as I would have liked underscored for me how crucial it is to do robust testing, and how positive an impact it can have on the design. Moving forward I have more confidence to advocate for robust user research and testing when resources permit as it is best practice to employ an evidence based approach ahead of the design and build.

Despite my misgivings over the process, the tool ended up being a commercial success.

+16%
increase in web sign ups compared to default (pricing page with no recommendation tool)
90%
of users who entered the tool completed it
100%
"Yes" responses to the question "Was this quiz helpful?"
15%
of users presented with the experience used the tool

CHECK OUT THE QUIZ IN ACTION

Due to the success of the quiz, it got implemented permanently on the Xero NZ pricing page. At the time of writing it is still on the page. 

Visit the page (it will open in a new window)