QuickBooks Recurring Invoices
In early 2019, the QuickBooks hypothesized that if customers could more intuitively create a recurring invoice, it would lead to an increased number of recurring pay-enabled invoices. As the only designer on the project team, this was an opportunity to not only improve the product experience for hundreds of thousands of users, but also to bring in millions of dollars.
For context, only half of our customers who begin the task of setting up a recurring invoice finish; existing data on usage behavior showed us that very little customers are using recurring invoices in QuickBooks. Yet, each month we have thousands of customers calling us to ask for help when trying to set up their respective recurring invoices.
This is an ongoing project, and I am excited to share with you a case study on my current progress.
For confidentiality reasons actual data values in this case study are omitted.
For corroboration and empathy, our team conducted a significant amount of interviews with users that already use the feature or have called for care. An effort that lasted for a month, and is continuously leveraged as needed.
“Every month I have to manually receive payments on the same 150 different invoices. Why can’t I automate this?”
“My customers need the ability to be charged each month and I need to be able to adjust their payment schedules on the fly.”
“I need a recurring payment option for bi-monthly. We have several clients that would like to be setup on a recurring bi-monthly basis but there is no option to set them up...”
And we state in alignment:
As a small and medium business (SMB), I need to bill my customers the same amount each month. This is a time consuming process which takes time away from running my business.
Further, to understand the interaction workflow for setting up recurring invoices, I studied the existing product feature. The following design critiques are generated by asking myself: can a user schedule recurring invoices, draw payments, and set up recurring templates?
And in collaboration with my engineers and PM, we produced living documents that shed light on the back-end engineering constraints — which I had to address for our legacy code base.
Subsequently, I researched UI/UX precedents with similar scheduling mechanisms based on time intervals, frequencies, and dates. And then iteratively brainstormed usability considerations to crystalize concepts and concerns.
During my deep dive, I also realized the need to enumerate all scheduling form fields, the toasts to confirm what the user gave QuickBooks permission to do, and various error cases for the form fields.
I show the full workflow below.
After a few rounds of usability tests, I presented a feasible proposal for our team to act on now for quick-win improvements; but more importantly to buy some time and design a more ideal experience to move the metrics we are targeting - the current UI is still quite overwhelming.
In the following design decisions, I respected legacy engineering constraints to reduce the required engineering person months, properly tackled the existing form-based web UX first (before going wide on alternative ideas), and utilized non-custom UI components for speed.
What My Team Said About Me
"Easy to communicate, open minded, gave well thought design and open for taking advice."
"Easy to work with (never took things too seriously). Receptive to feedback. Collaborative when thinking of what we can say and how the flow feels for users. And was able to pivot quickly (and without issue) when new info came to light at the last second - you heard my ideas and tried to implement them. And if they didn't work, we had a good dialogue about how we could solve the issue."
"David is really great at coming up with quick interactions for every different scenario presented."
"Thorough job of designing all end usecases. I was pleasantly surprised by the initiative to auto engage with the flow owners which reduced coordination burden on the program."
"Very clean structure of flows. The flow charts you created are super helpful for conversations throughout the process."
To be continued.