SecondMarket Checkout



Investment documents are complicated. They are commonly dozens of pages long and written in legalese. SecondMarket noticed this problem when they created a fund for accredited investors to invest in Facebook before the IPO. The error rate while filling out the documents was an astonishing 300% - meaning the document had to go back and forth 3 times on average between SecondMarket and the investor before being correctly completed. This completely offline process was extremely inefficient, time consuming and costly.

My Role

Since April 2013 I have been the lead UX designer on this product and have done all aspects of the UX process. For example, talking to customers to uncover their pain points, working with product managers and business stakeholders to determine priorities and potential features, creating HTML prototypes, and working closely with the engineers while features were being implemented.

The Product

SecondMarket Checkout is an online workflow for investors to make it much easier to fill out investment documents. Investors complete a wizard where they enter all of their necessary information which automatically populates a document for them to sign. In 2013 alone, thousands of orders were created and processed online.

There are also multiple views for different stakeholders:

  • An Investor view to complete the investment flow and sign subscription documents
  • An Internal view for SecondMarket employees to manage orders going through the system
  • "Observer View" for fund administrators to see the funnel of investors through the flow.

All of these different views need to be considered when making adjustments to ensure the views achieve the goal of each persona.

Key Takeaways

  • Focus on goals and success metrics to make data-driven decisions

    All elements on a page should have a purpose. Once the sucess metrics are met then you can look at the data to determine if a design is successful.

  • Need to consider both the details and the whole picture when working on a product

    Even when adjusting something as small as a label, each piece of the flow needs to be thought about in the overall context. How does the use user get to this screen? What have they already seen? What is the next step?

  • Need to think about both first time users and repeat users

    For this product we have many people who invested multiple times. Once all of their information is in the system we tried to make it as easy as possible to invest a second time without having to input any additional information.

  • Need to understand both user needs and business processes

    While our main flow was focused on investors, the product would be unsuccessful if the SecondMarket team struggled to manage the orders. We spent a lot of time optimizing the views for SecondMarket users, increasing effeciency so that hundreds of investors could be managed by a single person.

  • Support Tickets = Free Feedback

    Support tickets are extremely valuable pieces of data. If someone is taking the time to tell you there is a problem or they don't understand anything, it's probably a good indication where improvements can be made.