National Australia Bank
Sr. Product Designer
Jan - Jun 2021
Sketch | InVision
A poster created by NAB offering home and personal loans. It has a legend that reads "Experts in more than money. Talk to us today".
National Australia Bank (NAB) is one of the four largest financial institutions in Australia. It is colloquially referred to as "The Big Four" because of its market capitalisation, earnings, and customers.

From January to June 2021, I joined the HLEX (Home Lending Experience) team to help them enhance the overall experience of 'Simple Home Loans,' a web app designed to assist branch bankers in delivering a quick and streamlined experience to their customers during the home loan application process.
A customer interacting with a NAB representative at the branch.
NAB wanted to improve its digital game. Amidst COVID's worst stages, they realised they needed to streamline their current processes and policies to convert old in-person practices into renewed, fully digital experiences.

The home loan application process took anywhere between one to eight days. Some variables that affected this process included whether the applicant was an NAB customer, whether the applicant pre-filled out the application before attending the bank's branch, and whether the applicant supplied all the necessary documents.
The team
My team consisted of:
- 2X Senior product designers (I was one of them)
- 2X Software engineers1X Product owner (PO)
- 1X Quality assurance (QA)
- 1X Business analyst (BA)

My key responsibilities were:
- conducting design research (contextual inquiries mainly).
- enhancing the overall experience of 'Simple Home Loans'.
- fostering relationships with POs and other stakeholders.
- wireframing and prototyping.
- help build a bridge with other design teams.
- mentor junior designers across the business.
Initial challenges
- Heavy COVID restrictions were still in place, making contextual inquiries and in-situ visits difficult.
- The internal design and development teams worked in silos and did not communicate with each other.
- Most requirements were business-led, and stakeholders requested implementing features and functionality without user validation.
- The rigorous internal security protocols prevented us from using the latest design tools. We could only use an outdated Sketch version (five versions older than the latest one), and Figma was not compliant with their protocols.
Stage 1 - Discovery
There were a bunch of activities that happened during this stage, such as:
- Service blueprints
that helped the team visualise the relationship between all the service components. In other words, understand how we were delivering the service.
- Journey maps

These artefacts helped me understand the end-to-end process of our different user types when applying for a home loan.
- Heuristic evaluation 

It gave me an overall picture of how things work and some ideas to help the team enhance its usability.
- Contextual inquires
I had the chance to interview a handful of bankers at a branch. This activity helped me understand their primary jobs to be done and validate, update and fine-tune the service blueprint and journey maps I had initially created.
- Competitor analysis
The team and I created a high-level analysis (focused on home loans) against CommBank, Westpac and ANZ (all considered part of the Big 4 Banks in Australia) to assess our strengths and weaknesses against them.
Stage 2 - Design, test, validate and iterate
I worked with my team to conduct over 20 rounds of research and testing with a mix of bankers and individuals interested in or who had already applied for a home loan. We identified several recurring frustrations from both perspectives.

From the bankers' perspective, the top frustrations were slow loading times (due to an outdated code base), old and complex policies that added extra steps to the loan application process, and applicants partially filling out their applications or submitting incorrect documents.

From the loan applicants' perspective, the top frustrations included the arduous and time-consuming process of gathering all the required documentation requested by the banks, lack of trust in banks due to privacy concerns such as mishandling personal data high loan rates, and poor customer service.
Stage 3 - Share the evidence
My team focused on spreading the word about our findings. This involved several activities, including presenting insights to various audiences and facilitating workshops with the legal and compliance team. During these workshops, I shared our vision for the product and co-created a wireframe, which later became the first iteration of NAB's open banking* app. The app's goal was to address some of the pain points we had identified during the research phase.
*Open banking is an opt-in system that allows your financial data to be stored by and shared with accredited providers with your permission.

As a consumer, open banking can streamline the process of dealing with banks and financial institutions. When you opt-in and agree to share your data, accredited banks and financial institutions can store data relating to various transactions you’ve made, and with your permission, this data can then be shared with other accredited banks and financial institutions.

To understand how open banking can be used, consider the following example: you have decided to switch providers to open a new credit card account. Typically, you would need to gather copies of documentation such as your transaction history and ID, and then apply online or over the phone. With open banking, you can request to have your current bank or lender send this information to your new one at the click of a button, potentially speeding up the process and saving you time.
Stage 4 - Design, test, validate and iterate (again)
Before my departure, I had the opportunity to conduct several additional rounds of testing. The users' response during these rounds was positive, which validated that the product was moving in the right direction.
- In six months, we influenced various teams to simplify and modify some of the existing policies, which helped us streamline our internal processes.

- 35% of eligible NAB customers received 'unconditional approval' in under an hour, compared to less than 2 days for eligible non-NAB customers.
You can find an entire article about this here

Open banking app
- We created the first iteration of NAB's native open-banking app, which enables customers to pre-fill financial history across hundreds of institutions.
- This functionality, which initially lived as a separate app, can now be found inside NAB's banking app.

Design System Components Contribution
- I had the chance to polish an existing component (making it AA-compliant) and create one new component for NAB's Design System.
Wrap up reflection
- I found that working in silos wasn't enjoyable for me. It negatively impacted my efficiency as I had to communicate things multiple times, especially when sharing insights and findings with other teams.
- It took almost my entire time at NAB to understand what other teams were working on.
- I am pleased to know that the work we did made it to production, which improved the system's ease of use and increased the efficiency of our end users.
Confidentiality Notice
Due to Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) constraints, I could only share a fraction of the project extent and a limited selection of images. However, I am more than willing to discuss this project in person.
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I recognise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which I work, and acknowledge those communities' continuing connections to their lands, waters, and cultures. I pay my respect to their Elders past and present.
This portfolio was built with love in 2024 using Figma + Webflow