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I'm creating a loan website which involves a bit of a journey (about 10 minutes).

If you take a standard loan comparison website, the journey would be a simple one, something like this:

  1. User selects type of loan
  2. User selects required loan amount and term
  3. We display loans matching user criteria
  4. User clicks through to preferred lenders to view and apply

However, my scenario is slightly different in that all applications are made online via our site. We collect user details then process the loan via an API, passing those details onto the lender so that there is no replication in the data entry process.

If we were to mirror the journey of a traditional comparison site, it would be something like this:

  1. User selects required loan amount and term
  2. User inputs their personal details
  3. We display loans matching user criteria
  4. User chooses to apply with one or more lenders (we do this online in under 60 seconds)

1 and 2. are required in order to go to present accurate results in 3.

1 or 2. may also be bypassed when data is collected elsewhere. For instance, a landing page may contain a 'loan selector' widget, in which case we could go directly to 2. in the process. Or we could collect the personal data on another site, enabling us to go straight to 3.

However, the normal journey would be sequential. The worry I have is that we need the user to complete 1. and 2. before presenting any information back. 2. isn't a short form by any means - 25 pieces of information (5+ minutes) - so potentially it could be a drop off point.

An alternative would be to present all available lenders (it's not a big list) with a degree information first (3.), but with no functionality to apply with them individually. An apply button would lead the user through steps 1. and 2., returning to the then personalised list of lenders where they could then apply.

I'd appreciate any feedback, particularly with regard to:

  • Am I overthinking the original process?
  • Is #2 likely to prove more sticky or more confusing?
  • Can #2 be improved further?
  • Are there any other alternatives to consider?
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I would put both step 1 and step 2 in one single step/page. They have to do the same amount of work anyway, no need to separate them into two screens making it feel like more work than it actually is. So the message is "fill out this form to see all matching loans" instead of "fill out this form, then fill out another longer form to see all matching loans"

In terms of making it less annoying to fill out a long form, make the form look nice and pretty, nice graphics/icons to show that you actually put effort into making the form. So when the user is filling out the form, they feel less annoyed, because apparently, someone else did more work with the form.

Also let them save and resume, so that they don't have to fill out the form in one go, and also put up a message to encourage that.

  • While I can put steps 1 and 2 into one form, there will still be occasions where they could be treated separately. For instance, a landing page may have a slider allowing the user to choose their preferred loan, then click 'apply'. Alternatively, a banner or section may just contain a 'get started' button, which would lead onto the full form. This can be handled. The form itself is already pretty awesome and there are plans to make it even more so. Save and resume is a great idea, but I have also to be wary about security and how this data is stored. – John O Jul 17 '18 at 10:14
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I always find it odd that websites give you the option to fill in the amount you want to loan, only to later tell you it is not possible.

The questions I have is, why should it be 1 area that has all the form questions etc. I would try to blend a few of the form questions in the journey. So something like this:

  1. How much money do you make yearly & how old are you? (Additional option can be that you can add the income of your significant other as well to increase the amount you can loan)

Say I make €50.000 a year and I am 26. In my country this gives me the option to loan a maximum of ~€230.000 with a 30 year payback period.

  1. You let the user enter how much they want to loan and you can maybe ask if they already have a current loan somewhere else. (if they don't you will not need to ask this later). Secondly you can ask what the loan is for.

Say I want to loan €10.000 for a car, with this it might be possible to exclude an x amount of payback plans and payback periods (I will not pay back 10k in 30 years but in 3 years). With a loan of 10.000 it will not be needed to ask me what I spend each month on things like living expenses etc. (while this is mandatory with a 230.000 loan).

  1. Here you can have the user specify how much they want to pay back each month. You can also show what payback plans are currently available.
  2. User can select the lender that want to pick that matches their requirements.
  3. User fills out personal information and finishes the application.

Now it will be impossible to remove the whole form but with the guidance like this in a step-by-step basis you will not get an 'error not possible' at the end. If they finish the form the whole process will also be done.

Please note that I do not know your country nor the laws/requirements that apply to financial loans there. My suggestion might not be viable because of certain laws that make it impossible.

  • Thanks for your input Kevin. I live in the UK, so we do have mandatory checks and questions, but these are generally questions that can be fitted into the conversation without looking odd. – John O Jul 17 '18 at 11:27

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