BLOG | Goodbye, user error! Hello, new applicant form!

September 3, 2018 Ed Ackerman

Clubhouse regulars will know we’ve made it our mission this year to put the customer first. That’s why, way back in March, we ran our very first customer satisfaction survey. The aim was to collect feedback about how you use our products, and what you think of the service so far. 

Our applicant form kept coming up. You said that while it was simple and easy to use, there was still room for improvement. So that’s exactly what we’ve done. Introducing the new, improved Onfido applicant form!

What’s the applicant form?

Depending on the exact type of check you want to run on a user, we need different information. To make it easy to get up and running with Onfido,  one option we offer is our web-based applicant form. It enables you to create a check with just a user’s name and email address – then they can use the web form to provide the rest of the information themselves. There are two big benefits to it: first, you can take advantage of the know-how we’ve imprinted into the form throughout the years. And second, you don’t have to develop your own complicated user interface to get the info you need from your users.

But there were a couple of pain points. The applicant form is designed to make life easier, but it also introduces the possibility of user error.

Better Data Validation

One part of our job is making sure the information a user provides is consistent – that the name on their proof of address matches the one on their passport, for instance. To make that as smooth as possible, we do as much as we can to make sure the user gets both right the first time

Validating the format of the information provided can help weed out obvious errors (like a passport number containing a % sign). Based on your feedback, we have started improving both the reach of the validations, and how helpful the error messages are. Though these measures can sometimes add friction, we’re already seeing improvements in data input, without any sign of it causing users to drop off.  

Localized DOB format

Users can also make mistakes by entering an inaccurate (albeit valid) piece of information. We started seeing a seeing a strong trend in the US of users providing incorrect dates of birth – but the errors all followed the same pattern. We got our applicant support teams on the case, and following feedback from end-users, launched a small but crucial change. For US checks, the web form now presents date inputs in Month-Day-Year order. The result? That incorrect date of birth phenomenon is gone.

New Default Document

In the applicant form, we ask users to tell us what type of document they’re providing. It helps us make sure we get all the information we need – if a user has a driver’s license, for instance, we know we need to ask them for a photo of both sides (not just the front).But we noticed that a lot of applicants were only providing us with an image of one side of their documents. The reason? The default document type was set to passport. Users didn’t know they needed to change it – so our system didn’t know to ask for two images. We’ve now changed the default to driver’s license for our users in the US (where users are less likely to have a passport). As soon as we did, the rate of driver’s licenses submitted as passports dropped from around 14% to consistently below 0.5%.

About the Author

Ed Ackerman

Ed is Director of Partner Management at Onfido.

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