Building an Integrated Design Team at Onfido

What’s your name and what do you do?

I’m Vincent Guillevic, Lead Product Designer and Design Team Lead at Onfido.

How long have you been working at Onfido, and how has your role changed in that time?

It’s been almost a year since I started working as a Product Designer at Onfido. I originally joined Onfido because I was sensitive to the subject: during my Masters degree, I spent 2 years working on trust on the web and I wrote a thesis about the place of Identity in the digital and physical world. When I first arrived here, my role was to ensure that as a company, we were delivering efficient and frictionless experiences to our users by implementing design from the beginning of the product development process. Pretty quickly, I became involved in all of Onfido’s different services and products. I was responsible for integrating design into the product, and was soon acting as a one-man design team.

What is the overall purpose and aim of the Design team at Onfido?

The problem we solve is complex, tech-focused, multi-faceted and wide-ranging. Our service consists of helping to onboard people for employee or user verification, taking care of the regulated aspect and providing safety and security for users, businesses and communities. Our software is designed to optimise regulatory processes for businesses, but we also have to provide safety and security for their users and communities. The role of the design team in this is to ensure that people are always the focus throughout this process, and that everything we release is as simple and easy to use as possible. We have several different types of users who interact with our platforms, and we have to make sure that we’ve optimised for all of them.

Who else is on the team, and how is it team structured?

Alicia was one of Onfido’s first employees, so design was really important from the start. Since then the team has grown, originally as part of marketing or product and from there into its own fully fledged function.

The design team is split into two groups: brand design and product design. Both sides work on refining the global experience that people have with Onfido’s products and services. I work with both and we have all similar core skills, but we split into two groups for ease of communication and focus.

The brand team is made up of Alicia Gomez and Benedict Gatehouse. They help build the identity of the company, based around the core principles of clarity, trust and transparency. As we have several different products, it’s important to unify them and make sure they all reflect those values when we’re building them.

The product team includes Daniel Spagnolo and Fabien Mahe who focus on creating a common experience across everything we produce. People use Onfido for a range of different purposes, and none of them want to fill in a long form or pages of information before they can access the app. The product team’s job is to remove friction and ensure an effective flow to complete this process as quickly as possible.

How do you manage UX at Onfido?

Everyone is responsible for the UX at Onfido - not just the design team. We work closely with product managers to lead the discovery process and map out iterations for the next release, but ideas and feedback come from across the business. It’s not unusual for us to talk to sales, marketing or operations about issues and how we can optimise the user experience, as it often helps us to get closer to our customers. We also try to reinforce the relationship with our client to build a better product which fixes their problems.

What are the biggest challenges as a designer at Onfido?

Dealing with high-profile, high-volume clients including Deliveroo, BlaBlaCar, JustGiving and Monzo. Their volume of sign-ups is a challenge, and the balance between robust proccesses and smooth UX can be a hard one to strike. The regulatory processes during on-boarding add more friction and increase the probability that a user will drop out, but on the other hand, it also provides a safe environment for the user. We have to cater to both sides.

Explaining and integrating the design is not an easy task, and it can sometimes be difficult to explain and share our knowledge and methodology to people who aren’t designers. The scope of design here is also a challenge in itself; we’re responsible for every aspect of the product flow (from user research, to interaction and visual design) and we have to build everything from scratch. It’s great to have so much creative input and control over what we’re building, but it can also be challenging to perfect each and every piece!

What’s next for design at Onfido?

We still have a lot to do!

The scalability of our systems is definitely one of the top things - making a product that people can use worldwide is an exciting project to be a part of.

The team is continuing to grow, and we’re bringing in more people to help us keep improving the maturity of our product and brand. We’ve got lots of big things ahead, so it’s an exciting time to be a part of the team.

Follow us on Dribbble: https://dribbble.com/onfido

And on Github: https://github.com/onfido

Author image
Alicia, "The Designer" at Onfido, spends all day designing and playing with HTML and CSS code. After work, she takes snapshots of the oddities that surround her while she listens to a good tune.
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