Registration

Focusing on the user; Inspiration comes from anywhere

Amazon Business registration primary path

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Business information
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Welcome

Background

Signing up for a business account is straightforward. That is until legal, regulatory, privacy, and financial implications are considered.

One of the longest-standing projects for Amazon Business, this effort has evolved as the features it enables have multiplied and matured.

Most of my work is covered by non-disclosure agreements (NDA). What I am sharing is just the tip of the iceberg.

Northstar Strategy, UX pattern & writing standardization, guerrilla testing, rapid iteration

Summary

As Senior UX designer, I collaborated at all levels, presenting to senior leadership and facilitating agile iterative development.

To enable registration to grow as Amazon Supply, and later, Amazon Business evolved, registration required tenets and a flexible architecture.

Establishing tenets

"Why?" is a powerful question. It begs us to consider our motives.

From the onset, I challenged stakeholders, lawyers and leadership, asking, "Why must customers register?" After reviewing requirements, we conceded that while our resources and deadlines warranted initially limiting access, a Northstar vision to drive innovation was needed.

Creating a Northstar (in brief) Learn more

  • To baseline customer expectations, we gathered business and non-business registration examples (i.e. gift registries, tax preparation software, and video games), comparing the time and interactions (clicks, pages, scrolls and fields) required to complete registration
  • To brainstorm ideas, we leveraged design swarms, and posted the ideas for feedback
  • To select a single Northstar, we evaluated the approaches together, borrowing ideas from each to create a single idea

Most of our industry-changing Northstar concepts are still protected by NDA, however, the tenets derived guided our first, manual efforts:

  1. Registration is a stand-alone task; no tasks can be inserted
  2. Registration must take no more than 5 minutes
  3. All tasks must be essential
  4. Users must opt into non-essential features
  5. Where possible, users confirm pre-populated data

Team involved

During this effort, my team included 2 project managers and 2 dev teams. I collaborated with the Authentication Portal team and lawyers to determine constraints, and reached out to editors to assist with terminology and copy.

Timeline

Registration is a product, not a project. The UX for the initial phase was completed in less than 1 month. Later iterations were completed in 1-2 months.

Research

With no dedicated researcher, I leveraged:

  • Competitor analysis
  • Non-competitor analysis
  • Time estimation assessments (for expectation management)
  • Guerrilla testing techniques

Inventing within constraints

Many registration components are owned by other teams. Taking time to understand their priorities reveals opportunities and creates a strong sense of co-ownership.

Rapid iteration and evolution

"The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions." -Leonardo Da Vinci

As Amazon customers became business customers on shared accounts, protecting their privacy was essential. Many consumer accounts included 10 years of purchases, Amazon Web Services, Prime video, ebooks, and hundreds in gift cards. To protect them, the path from consumer to business required a balance of ease and purposeful friction.

Rather than jumping directly to mocks, we iterated using storyboards and workflows. During these exercises, I created an "emotional tally" system, allowing stakeholders to assess the impact of our user experience.

These flows were tested as rough sketches, allowing us to quickly assess and correct our course.

Flow diagram for initial registration process
Early flow diagram for joining accounts
Story icons used to create workflow emotional tally
Story icons developed to assess emotional impact

Designing for development ownership

Involving developers ensures they own the solution.

Our developers were involved from the beginning, helping explore solutions and estimate feature costs.

Later, as we began design, I co-located with the developers. This collaboration enabled us complete the project on time and fostered greater empathy for the needs of each discipline.

Sign in, unrecognized - layout only
Mobile version of sign in, unrecognized
Business information - layout only
Mobile business information - layout only
Contact information - layout only
Mobile contact information - layout only
Example of development documentation

The impact: it's a good start...

At Amazon Business it is still day one.

The impact of phase 1 exceeded our goals:

  • We exceeded our goal of 25,000 new accounts
  • Average task completion time was <5 minutes
  • 15% fewer than projected customer service calls were answered for registration

Change is inevitable…

Shortly after launch, major corporations wanted to gather their rogue Amazon accounts to a single business account. Thanks to the collaborative relationship we had with our developers, we could quickly adjust the primary registration flow.