This consumer-facing application facilitates the efforts of gas and electric utility companies interested in promoting energy efficiency and water conservation through various incentives and rebates. Before working with EFI, they were still using a paper system for processing manufacturer rebates (think washers, dryers, refrigerators, many of them as part of an EnergyStar program). Although they did have some level of electronic processing in place, it still required the user to ultimately print and mail the forms along with their receipts, and wait weeks for their rebate checks to arrive in the mail.
Since their target audience ran the gamut from young 20-something couples all the way to 85 year old grandmothers, we had to make sure the flow was efficient, the language was clear and friendly, and that it was ultimately über-simple from start to finish. There was no time to interview existing users, so once again I needed to rely on intuition, my years of experience, and best practices in order to solve some of the problems presented to me.
To make completing the rebate forms quicker and more efficient, I was able to streamline the steps required by consolidating many smaller forms into one, added the option for auto-saving of information (for returning users), as well as added inline validation and tool tips for form fields that can sometimes be unclear (such as serial numbers and unit size). I also introduced a checklist that made it clear what types of documents the user needed to upload (such as receipts), and a Status Center for returning users to quickly see the status of each rebate.
After producing a set of detailed and annotated wireframes, I created a visual brand for the application that was clean and elegant, yet generic enough that it could be easily skinned by any one of EFI’s clients. This was especially important since the need to have this be “white labeled” was one of their initial goals. And given the potentially older generation of users, I made sure that fonts were large, call-to-actions were easy to see, and that the design evoked a friendly, personable nature.