Optimising a sign-up journey


The RSPB (Royal Society For The Protection of Birds) is an organisation that promotes the conservation and protection of birds, wildlife and the wider environment through public awareness and education.

The challenge

As a charity, the RSPB relies heavily on revenue from paid memberships, as well as donations, big and small. Although membership subscriptions were rising overall, the organisation had discovered that the online membership process was converting very poorly. Although it was not known why.

My role

Working closely with the internal Product and Design teams, my role focused heavily on gaining insight into the issues users were facing when joining as a member online, as well as designing and testing new solutions to improve the online membership signup process.

Initial research phase

Working with the different teams, I conducted a series of quantitative and qualitative research methods to gain insight into the problem. Hotjar was used to track the activity of new members during the signup process, by using heatmaps and screen recordings. To gain feedback from existing members on their experience of the signup process, I created questionnaires using Survey Monkey and sent these out to the RSPB's user base.

User testing

To further my understanding of the problem, I also conducted in-person User Testing and User Interviews. This involved getting a representative sample of RSPB members to complete a series of tasks on the website, so I could understand their experience using the product and any problems they encountered. The interviews gave me more insight into who they were as people and allowed them to share similar experiences they had elsewhere, both good and bad.

Analysis & insight

All the data gathered in the two stages of research was analysed with the wider team and then presented back to stakeholders. I worked with the Product and Design teams to identify patterns and re-occuring themes within the data that could be used to drive our UX descision making process moving forward.

New user journeys

Based on our understanding of the data, I worked closely with two other designers to prototype, test and deliver improved designs to the RSPB membership sign up process. The goal of our designs was to reduce the friction we knew users were facing when joining as members online, and in general provide a clearer and more usable experience across web and mobile platforms.

Udpating the checkout process

One of the common themes running through the feedback that emerged from our user testing, was that many users found the checkout process complicated and overwhelming. In the updated designs, the process was simplified and broken down into steps, making it more manageable and engaging for users to complete.

Mobile device journeys

While the majority of signups came from users on the desktop version of the website, a sizeable amount still came from users on mobile devices. The mobile signup process, based on the desktop experience, was also simplified and broken down into manageable steps so users could complete the process more efficiently.

Moving forward

Because of large scale changes within the RSPB, my contract with the charity ended after five months, but the good work that I started went on to form the foundation of ongoing improvements and enhancements to their website.