PayPal Plus

Project Overview

In early February 2014 I began work on a brand new PayPal product. Almost a year, and many dedicated months later, we launched the MVP of PayPal PLUS.

Over 12 months I led the design of the product and collaborated heavily with multi-disciplinary teams through out the product life cycle. I facilitated creative sessions with 
stakeholders to encourage divergent 
(and convergent) thinking to help generate ideas. I helped explore opportunities around 
our specific vision, articulated concepts by prototyping and conducting guerrilla testing. I created user journeys and wireframes and helped shape formal usability testing. I produced final pixel perfect visual designs, provided design assets and build support for developers. Whilst regularly presenting my work at sprint demos 
and stakeholder reviews to insure as a business we stayed aligned.

So what is PayPal PLUS? In the simplest its a paywall, a list of payment methods hosted by PayPal that is iframed into a merchant site. For merchants it’s a service which allows quick and easy integration of multiple payment methods and an optimised checkout process. It enables sole proprietors & small and medium-sized businesses to offer the top four payment methods in Germany (PayPal, Lastschrift, Credit Card & Pay Upon Invoice). For consumers it simply gives them the choice they desire. These four payment methods account for around 80% of total payment volume in the German market.

Multiple payment methods. One Solution. PayPal PLUS.

As a product team we went through a long process of getting PLUS onto the global roadmap. Initial sketch wireframes were produced and shown to anyone who would listen. Eventually we got the green light to start designing the product. My first step was to polish up the sketch wire frame to something we could take out to merchants and test.

After an initial round of merchant visits and testing it was very clear we could improve the approach and that we needed to simplify the design both visually and conceptually. A key concern for me was the grouping of PayPal methods under the buyer protection message. The initial design asked consumers to understand what “Powered by PayPal” meant. My concern was that this would increase the cognitive load for the user, rather than serve as a value proposition. It could slow them down, or worse push them to a third party payment method. So I pushed to remove it. Our hypothesis was that consumers enter a checkout flow with a preferred payment method in mind and therefore the best thing we as PayPal could do was to get out of the way. We wanted the fact that this was a PayPal product to be subtle, allowing the consumer to make a natural choice of payment method.

The removal of the grouping allowed me to really simplify the visual design. I questioned every part of the design and removed any elements that were superfluous: the background, the radio buttons, the header and the messaging. Every element we removed was an effort to increase the speed of checkout. A very simple visual design also helped me tackle another problem. PLUS needs to work across hundreds of thousand of visually diverse merchant sites. The more elements in a design the more difficult this is.

A lot of these decisions challenged our original design and the business was concerned about the interaction model, so in May 2014 we ran lab research, testing the end-to-end experience of PLUS. The objective was to understand how PayPal members and non-members respond to the new payment wall and verify that they could successfully finish their purchase using the new minimal design. For this I built a high fidelity prototype in Axure.

I’m pleased to say it was a success. It was hugely satisfying to watch all of the 24 participants complete their purchase quickly and easily without external help.

Finally, it was abundantly clear from the competitor analysis, that as well as a huge variety of styles, we also needed to deal with a huge variety of sizes. We decided upon a fully responsive paywall. The size of the iframe is detected and the appropriate sized paywall is rendered. This not only allows a merchant to use whatever size iframe best fits his site, it also works seamlessly on existing responsive sites.

At the beginning of October 2014, the PayPal PLUS MVP went live on a total of six sites. We are currently testing and learning with with our beta merchants.

More about  PayPal PLUS.

PayPal Plus

Project Deliverables

End to End – Customer Journey

Potentially one of the most complex parts of Plus was the integration. It was important for me to map out the end to end to end experience to identify the pain points to be able to address them.

See full customer journey

Competitive Analysis

Payment selection page analysis of the top 50 German merchants. Enabled us to identify common trends to inform our design assumptions.

See full version

Merchant Personas

As part of the design process we created personas for both our customers and merchants built and developed over time as we learnt more and more from our reasearch.

See full Personas

Customer Journey Analysis

As part of the customer journey mapping we applied our personas and analysed the flow with heuristics.

See full version

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