Turbotax Self-employed Navigation and Information Architecture

Customer Problem

As a self-employed person, my tax situation is unique. I’m not always sure I’m reporting my income the right way and taking the right expenses for my specific line of work. Sometimes my paperwork and receipts aren’t organized and I get overwhelmed and need extra help. I need to know I’m doing things right and all this work is worth it.

Design Challenge

The TurboTax Home and Business product, though maintained for tax accuracy requirements, was out dated in terms of relevancy to customers. For example, in 2016 it was communicating how tax payers can write off their floppy disk and the interaction patterns were as equally as relevant. Additionally, the experience was created for customers with a business mental model. In today’s gig economy the lines between an establish business and a side job are blurred. How do we take a complex tax situation and make it approachable and relevant to someone who doesn’t see themselves as self-employed?

Design principles
  • Maintain existing global and local navigation structure
  • Solve for Self-employed customer mental model while maintaining tax accuracy
  • Design towards ideal state in executable phases
  • Customer problems (clarity) over consistency with the rest of TurboTax
  • Optimize for the majority, account for everyone

Approach

Understand the customer

We went to the homes of 10 customer to understand their motivations and mental models. Why are they self-employed? The IRS might consider them as self-employed, but what do they think? How do they think about their income and how it relates to their lives.

Understand exiting product experience

Strong cross-collaboration with domain expert, the CPAs and tax experts, and understand the over 40 use cases.

Deconstruct the information architecture

“Content is more discoverable when it’s not buried under multiple intervening layers. All other things being equal, deep hierarchies are more difficult to use.”  – NNgroup

Design

Iterate…

Tools & methodologies used in the process
  • Card sorting
  • In home interviews
  • In lab testing
  • Usertesting.com
  • Invision
  • Angular
  • Omnigraffle
  • Sketch
  • Zeplin
  • Confluence
  • Jira