Rob Makes…

LendKey Network

LendKey has a network of 300+ credit unions and small, community banks that want to broaden their reach to online lending.

  • UX Design
  • Visual Design
  • User Research
  • ClientLendKey
  • DateMarch 2015
LendKey Network

The Project

Create an app like that allows borrowers to view all available lenders based on their credit profile. They should be able to sort and filter loan offers to select the best one for them. Further, to create a brand standard with consistent and common UI across all products.

Business Requirements

Collecting business requirements was a tedious task. What information did we need to get from the user? Could we issue a "soft pull" from the credit bureaus to pre-approve them? What is the "field of membership" for each partnering credit union?

The answers existed, but it took working with multiple departments to first understand the questions, then get them resolved.

Gathering Business Requirements


What information to ask from users, and when, are issues each of the competitors handle differently. I looked into how they presented rates, what the various calls to action were, and even the legal language they presented at specific steps.


In CommonBond's 'mobile-first' approach, they put a lot of emphasis on the types of loans they offer, but also use more friendly copy.


SoFi sets expectations about time with their headline, but they force users to enter their email and start an account! My requirements gathering showed that isn't necessary just to see rates.


After generating personas I was eager to get my hands dirty and dug into paper prototypes. The LendKey Network is quite complex, with a lot of moving parts and necessary steps.

The agility of paper prototypes allowed me to easily test with internal users and iterate on the fly.

Paper Prototypes

Sprint Planning

The paper prototypes matured into low-fidelity wireframes and it was time to begin working with Product Owners and Tech Leads to understand the compexity of the project and estimate epics.

I created a detailed process flow to walk through each step, aiding in the understanding of the product and its intracacies.

Process Flow

Thinking Mobile

Though the project's MVP was desktop only, as filtered by Optimizely, I wanted to ensure we weren't painting ourselves into a corner if and when they decided to expand the product's accessibility onto mobile and tablet.

RWD Sketches for LendKey Network

User Testing

As LendKey's first UX hire, they were not familiar with the importance of user testing. I made quick high-fidelity wireframes and being such a proponent, used my personal credit card to buy three sessions from

The results? Of course, the things I assumed would be easy for the user proved incredibly difficult and confusing - and vice versa.

First Iteration

2nd Iteration

Feedback from user testing included how they were confused about what step(s) to take next, and how it wasn't clear why they were answering particular questions.

By cleaning up the UI, adding grouped question areas along the vertical wizard, help text and tooltips, and driving focus to the specific sort type, the interface became easier to understand and offered more incentive to complete it.

LendKey Network

Ready for Finovate

Half way through the project, LendKey was accepted as a presenter at Finovate, a fintech conference in San Francisco.

After we were pleased with the results of our user tested visual design, I coded up a clickable prototype that the CEO would share on stage. The presentation was a success and the LendKey Network continued into development.

Presenting Vince Passione (CEO & Founder) and Strati Papageorge (Chief Product Officer)