Case Study

Onboarding Redesign

I spearheaded the biggest redesign the company had ever gone through in order to solve a critical business problem: more than 75% of our users were dropping off.

A redesigned contractor's profile on the Overpass Talent Marketplace.


Overpass provides a platform for freelance call centre contractors to create profiles in order to be hired by small businesses. Once a contractor creates their profile, they are required to submit the profile for review by our Talent Advocates. In January 2019, one of the biggest challenges the company was facing was that the majority of contractors weren’t submitting their profiles for review, leading to an unsustainably high drop off rate. This meant that even though many qualified contractors were signing up with us, they weren’t seeing the value we provided before they dropped off. It also meant that we were losing out on quality talent joining our marketplace.

We suspected that the cumbersome process of signing up for our marketplace was causing users to drop off before they submitted their profiles. In order to remedy this, we embarked on an initiative to completely redesign the contractor onboarding experience.


Contractors were signing up and dropping off at a very high rate. We decided to overhaul the registration and profile creation process to reduce the drop off.

Lead Designer
2 Front End Developers
1 Lead Designer
1 UI Designer
January - July 2019

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I started out by gathering analytics data about our current contractors’ sign up behaviour. We learned that of the contractors that sign up, less than a quarter of them submit their profile. Of the contractors that submit their profiles, less than half are approved by the Talent Advocates. This confirmed our suspicions that users were dropping off before they complete their profiles.

Of the total number of contractors that had signed up, only 23% submitted their profile. Of the contractors who submitted their profile, only 41% were approved.

We learned from our clients that the most important thing they look for on profiles is contractors’ previous work and industry experience. Through our research, we discovered that only 40% of contractor add previous work experience to their profile, and that the majority only add one past position. Our goal was to revamp the work experience interaction to make it easier for contractors to add their past experience, and make the work experience section more visually prominent in the profile so that clients could view that section more easily.

From this research, we confirmed our hypothesis that we needed to improve the sign up flow for contractors, improve the interactions for filling out various parts of the profile, and update the UI of the profile to match our new rebrand.

Project Goals

  • Decrease the drop off rate from sign up to profile approved
  • Improve the information architecture and visual hierarchy of the profile to improve scanability
  • See an improvement in the quality of profiles
  • Improve the subjective experience of filling out a profile

Design Process: Profile

I started out by taking a critical look at how I had designed the original profile to determine which sections needed the most improvement.

A photo of the original profile design, with red pen marks indicating what to change. This includes getting rid of the bio section, moving the Skills and Industry Experience to within each work experience item, removing the ability to manually submit the profile for review, and making the rate more prominent.

In order to gain a deeper understanding how our contractors interact with the profile, I organized trips to our satellite office to interview the Talent Advocates, Sales and Customer Support teams. Through our discussions, I learned that when users were asked to enter free-form text, either in the bio section or the job description section, they would often leave it blank or write things that not only were irrelevant, but were actively hindering their chances of being hired. Even when the Talent Advocates explained the importance of the bio and what they needed to write, few contractors actually made changes or improved what they originally wrote. As a result, we decided to completely get rid of the free-form bio section, and significantly reduce the importance of the job description section.

I also learned from my interviews that numerous contractors would select many skills and industries when they had no experience in any of them. We decided to make sweeping changes to the way skills and industries are added to the profile.

Updates To Work History

The original "Add Work History" screen, compared to the new "Add Experience" screen.

In order to ensure that contractors actually had the skills they claimed and had worked in the industries they selected, we moved these sections to the work history and associated them with individual past experiences.

We also decided to require users to select a “Job Position” from a list. This enabled us to use this data in our matching algorithm, used to show clients relevant contractors. It also had the benefit of subtly reinforcing to the contractors what kind of experience is required to find a job on our platform.

The newly designed Experience section on the profile

Updates To Job Positions

We ask contractors what jobs they are interested in so that we can match them with clients. Similar to skills and industries, we found that contractors were selecting many jobs when they didn’t have any prior experience in those jobs.

The original job positions, skills and industry experience selection screen. Users could add as many job positions, skills and industries as they wanted.

In the new profile, we decided that this was important enough to warrant its own section. I took advantage of the increased space to describe to the user how the section works. We knew that contractors who already had experience in a certain job would perform better; at the same time, we didn’t want to discriminate against contractors who were just starting out and didn’t have enough experience. Instead of only letting users select jobs they have added in their Experience section, the compromise was to show a biased dropdown menu, with the jobs that they have added in their Experience section at the top, and the rest of the jobs they don’t have experience in at the bottom.

The new "Desired Roles" selection screen, where users are prompted to select a "Primary Desired Role" and an "Industry Specialization", which is an industry that they have previously worked in that they believe they have specialization in.

We also wanted the contractors to select one industry that they want to “specialize” in, which meant an industry that they already have added an experience entry for, and now want to find a job in. We restricted this selection to only the industries they have entered in their Experience section. This ensures that the contractors already have experience in that industry, which is one of the most important things a client needs.

The new card display of a contractor. It shows the photo, name, Primary Job Position (with number of years experience in that role), Industry Specialization (with number of years experience in that industry), location, timezone, LinkedIn Profile link, and hourly rate.

When a desired job position and industry specialization is selected, the system automatically calculates how many years experience the contractor has in them, based on the Experience entries. We display the years on the client view of the profile.

Automatic Submission

In the original design, I wanted the users to review their profile before submitting it for review. My assumption was that users would want to check their work and make sure their profile was the best it could be before having it reviewed for approval. This assumption turned out to be wrong.

In session replays, I observed users skipping steps and putting in the minimum required amount of information before they submitted their profile. I believe this was because we asked for a lot of information that was tedious to enter, and we did not do a good job explaining to the user why the profile information was important. Therefore, users did not know what they needed to have a good profile, so they took the path of least effort.

To solve this problem, we decided to remove the manual submission requirement, and instead to automatically submit the profile when it has enough required information filled out. We would make it obvious to the user what was required and whether they had completed it via a dynamic checklist. Once the checklist is complete, the user is not required to take an extra, arbitrary step to submit their profile. We hypothesized that this would be one of the most significant factors in improving profile submission rates.

Profile Design

The new profile design, which displays the photo, name, Primary Job Position (with number of years experience in that role), Industry Specialization (with number of years experience in that industry), location, timezone, LinkedIn Profile link, and hourly rate. It also shows a language sample, a full work history experience, and a detailed list of their availability.

Our UI Designer created profile designs based on my wireframes and the style guide we were jointly creating.


The new profile interactions and design should improve the ease of filling out the profile, resulting in a better experience. The updated UI should give a sense of cohesion and continuity across the system. If the profile is easier to fill out and a more pleasing experience to interact with, the drop off rate of contractors should decrease.

These results should be verified by usability testing, which I outline in Proposed Usability Research.

Design Process: Registration Flow

In the original sign up flow, after registering we immediately take contractors through a walkthrough to help them fill out their profile. I originally designed it this way because we did not have anything else for the contractors to do on the platform, except to create their profile.

My assumption was that users would do anything to get a job, including filling out tedious forms with mass amounts of information. Through my research, I discovered this was not the case. I watched many session replays of contractors going through the sign up flow, and I realized that we were asking for too much input up-front from the user without showing them the value.

For the redesign, I decided to scrap the walkthrough completely. After registering, the contractor is taken to a new dashboard where they are able to see jobs they could apply to, once their profile is approved.

The original flow that a contractor took on registration included providing their name, email and password creation, then adding their profile basic info (bio, county, time zone, resume, social profile links), then adding their work history (company name, job title, location of company, start date, end date, job description), adding skills and expertise, recording a language sample, setting their availability and rate, and then submitting their profile. 

The redesigned flow includes the registration (name, email, password, country, timezone) and a welcome screen with an intro video. Then they are taken straight to the dashboard, where they can see their next step, a checklist, recommended jobs, and a description of how it all works. They can navigate to their profile at any time to fill out different profile sections (Profile photo, rate, availability, experience, language recording, desired roles, and LinkedIn profile link).

I designed the dashboard to show the contractors the most important things they need to know. In addition to the available jobs, they will see a checklist to tell them what to do next. The main call-to-action is to fill out their profile.

A wireframe of the new dashboard. In the righthand column, it displays the profile status, their next step, and a "Fill out your profile" checklist. In the middle, it displays recommended jobs that the user can view, but not apply for until their profile is approved. In the righthand column, it displays the user's assigned Talent Advocate and a "How it Works" section.

The dashboard would dynamically change based on where the users are in the process. Once their profile is approved, the checklist disappears and the “Apply” button on jobs will be enabled.

A wireframe of the dashboard after the profile is approved. The "Fill out your profile" checklist and the "How it Works" sections are gone. It now displays recommended jobs that the user can apply to.

When a contractor is hired, their dashboard will display stats and information about their current job.

A wireframe of the contractor dashboard after they have been hired for a job. They see the different companies they have been hired for and their stats indicating their performance on that job. They can click the "Start Working" for any of their active jobs.

Dashboard Design

When our UI Designer started applying the UI to my wireframes, I realized that we were displaying too much information on the dashboard, with the potential to overwhelm the users. I worked with him to reorganize the dashboard to become more streamlined.

A mockup of the dashboard with the UI style guide applied. The dashboard now only displays their next steps, some pro tips, and the recommended jobs.


Showing users what they can do on the platform immediately after signing up should increase interest in the platform and reduce the drop off rate. Instead of taking them through a walkthrough, we allow users to fill in any part of their profile in any order, which should make them feel more in control.

These results should be verified by usability testing, which I outline in Proposed Usability Research.

Proposed Usability Research

In order to verify our hypotheses before spending development time building our new designs, I created a research plan outlining everything we want to learn and how to test it. I decided the best approach would be to conduct usability tests on the new sign in flow and profile interactions.

Problem: Contractors don't submit their profiles. Hypothesis: Automating profile submission as well as showing users the value of the system before committing to creating a profile will significantly increase profile submission rates. 
Problem: Contractor profiles don't showcase their skills and value well. Hypothesis: Moving the Experience section to the top of the profile, reducing the amount of free-form text input, and updating the UI of the profile will improve profile quality and better showcase contractors' skiils.

Usability Test

Frame of Mind: You've been working in a call centre for the past couple of years but now you're looking for a more flexible schedule and the ability to work from home. You've mainly done cold calls for real estate companies, seeing if people were interested in selling their houses. When you get someone on the phone, your job is to set an appointment for them with a  real estate agent. Here is your resume: Appointment Setter at Remax Inc. Worked from June 2017- March 2019. Job Description: Conducted outbound phone calls to potential customers to make appointments for real estate appraisal. 
Part 1: You're now looking for a work from home job making calls as an appointment setter. Sign up as an agent and go through the registration. Stop when you get to the dashboard. 
Part 2: Fill out your profile.

From these usability tests, I wanted to learn how users navigate our new designs, which parts of the UI they interact with, and which paths they take to accomplish their goals. In particular, I wanted to see whether it was clear to the user what they had to do at each step, whether they understood the process of creating a profile and having it reviewed, and whether it was clear to them when their profile had been automatically submitted.


The project is currently ongoing and the usability research is being conducted. Pending the results of the usability research, some UI or UX might need to be updated to ensure we are achieving our business goals and creating an enjoyable experience for our users.

This endeavour represents the largest redesign the company has seen since launch. Having designed the original system, it was exciting to see how my designs initially performed, then identify areas for improvement, and now back up my new design decisions with data. This approach represented a shift in the way we had previously designed at Overpass, which was to move fast and release often. I am proud to have led the charge to a new way of approaching design problems, by taking the time to do in-depth research on how users use the system and to hear from all the involved stakeholders.