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ApplyOnline Upgrade

This upgrade significantly enhances lender's and broker's new home and investment loan experience.


Product design lead


Balsamiq, Figma


Wireframes, Visual Design Mockups, Design Systems, User Interviews, User Research Findings



ApplyOnline, Australia's trusted standard for loan applications, is committed to boosting efficiency, security, and compliance for lenders and brokers. Our project aims to introduce a refined solution that optimizes the application lodgement process and simplifies lending procedures.

Through this upgrade, loan originators will:

  • Efficiently gather application data and supporting documents.

  • Loan originators can access lender-specific validation rules, mandatory documents, and performance metrics. This equips them with the tools to validate application quality upon submission.

Why redesign?

  • Driven by the need to match modern user expectations, we found the current design needs to be revised and requires a significant upgrade.

  • The existing design presents usability problems such as confusing navigation, complex workflows, and inefficient interactions.

  • We aim to stand out competitively in the market.

  • We implemented a configuration-driven code engine to accommodate growth for enhanced product scalability and flexibility.

The Problem

The existing ApplyOnline system requires an upgrade to improve user experience, streamline operations, and address customer satisfaction concerns.


  • The existing user interface fails to provide a satisfactory experience for loan originators, resulting in usability challenges.

  • Insufficient comprehensive visibility into application data hampers quick and efficient navigation, causing processing delays.

  • Current validation tools do not suffice, leading to time-consuming onboarding procedures and potentially compromising application quality.

  • The absence of real-time assessment and auto-verification processes introduces delays and inefficiencies to the loan origination workflow.

  • The current process for capturing trust and bridging information is convoluted, resulting in confusion and potential errors.

  • The absence of additional compliance warnings and guidance popups poses a risk, potentially leading to non-compliance with regulations.

  • The lack of instant load tabs contributes to system lag and hampers the overall responsiveness of the platform.

  • Users encounter difficulties with the search functionality, leading to frustration and inefficiencies when attempting to locate specific information.

  • The absence of an auto-save feature poses the risk of losing progress on applications when faced with interruptions or technical glitches.

  • Inconsistent layout elements across the interface create confusion and hinder a smooth user experience.


One of our key business metrics to prioritize is task efficiency.


We observed brokers dedicating a significant amount of time to back-office tasks. Our aim was to shift their focus from these tasks to spending quality time with their customers.

My Role

As the Product Design Lead, I played a pivotal role in ensuring the project's success by overseeing the design process and collaborating with cross-functional teams.


My responsibilities encompassed a range of key tasks:

  • I led the design team, guiding their efforts and fostering a collaborative environment to drive creative solutions.

  • Working closely with the CEO, product managers, business analysts, UI designers, and developers, I facilitated alignment between design goals and overall project objectives.

  • I conducted comprehensive user research to gain insights into user behaviors and needs, shaping the design strategy around delivering a seamless user experience.

  • I introduced innovative design concepts that optimized user workflows, contributing to a more intuitive application process.

  • I facilitated open communication to find practical solutions to challenges, such as reconciling differing stakeholder perspectives.

  • I delivered crucial design components, including wireframes, interactive prototypes, user interface designs, design guidelines, and usability testing plans.


I applied the Double Diamond Design process, which involves:

01. Discover
02. Define
03. Develop
04. Deliver

01. Discover

I carefully audited the existing ApplyOnline system to spot issues in the user interface, functionality, and overall experience. This audit played a crucial role in shaping our redesign strategy by highlighting pain points and areas needing enhancement.

Collaborating with stakeholders, we engaged in brainstorming sessions, workshops, and ideation to explore ways to improve the user interface and application process.

When faced with the absence of direct competitors offering similar features, we examined other websites that effectively utilized filters, searches, and forms. Drawing insights from these practices, we made informed design decisions for the project.

02. Define

Using the insights we collected, we created low-fidelity wireframes to visualize and validate our design concepts.


These wireframes acted as a blueprint for the user interface, illustrating layout, content hierarchy, and fundamental interactions.They played a key role in our iterative process, enabling us to gather feedback from stakeholders and ensure the design catered to user needs and business objectives.

This phase transformed abstract concepts into tangible designs, ready for further enhancement.

03. Develop

Utilising the insights we collected, we created low-fidelity wireframes to visualize and validate our design concepts. These wireframes served as a blueprint for the user interface, illustrating layout, content hierarchy, and fundamental interactions.

They actively contributed to our iterative process, enabling us to gather feedback from stakeholders and ensure the design aligned with user needs and business objectives.

This phase transformed abstract concepts into tangible designs and prepared for further enhancement.

wireframe 2.jpg

04. Deliver

We developed ApplyOnline Design Language (ADL), iterating on each component multiple times before integrating it into the system.

We fine-tuned the visual elements, typography, colors, and overall aesthetics to create a polished and cohesive user interface.

We closely collaborated with developers to ensure a seamless transition from design to implementation.



Lack of design guidelines

The lack of design guidelines posed a challenge, delaying the maintenance of a consistent and cohesive visual identity. To address this issue, we introduced a design system for project success. This entailed establishing design principles, reusable components, and guidelines to harmonize the visual and interactive elements of the ApplyOnline Upgrade.

Mismatched Implementation

Before I arrived at NextGen, an external design agency managed the ApplyOnline redesign project. However, approximately 60% of the redesign had already been completed. A challenge emerged: the implemented design deviated from the agency's recommendations. Some decisions reflected stakeholders' preferences rather than industry best practices or research.

Stakeholder disinterest in user testing

We encountered an additional challenge related to stakeholder disinterest in user testing. In this case, stakeholders showed no interest in user testing.


Launch / Post-Launch

Selective broker groups launch
  • We launched the new ApplyOnline® through a targeted launch strategy for specific broker groups.

  • This approach enabled us to conduct focused testing and collect feedback, ensuring a smoother rollout to a broader audience.

Customer feedback
  • Customers provided negative feedback, highlighting usability issues and frustrations.

  • We conducted user testing and made design improvements based on firsthand observations of usability issues.

  • We discovered that the user flow in the ApplyOnline® upgrade differed from what customers were accustomed to. This misalignment caused confusion and frustration.


Impact / Key learnings

The interface was enhanced to provide a more intuitive and user-friendly design, aligning with users' expectations.


In July 2023, brokers submitted over 40% of all applications using the redesigned ApplyOnline®.


ApplyOnline® is used to facilitate electronic lodgement to over 50 lenders


Currently, 13 broker groups actively utilize the redesigned ApplyOnline®, relying on its electronic lodgement capabilities for loan applications.

Key learnings
  • Successful project outcomes result from strong collaboration with cross-functional teams, stakeholders, and users.

  • Prioritising user needs and preferences is crucial for creating impactful design solutions.

  • Introducing changes incrementally and embracing an iterative design process leads to smoother user transitions and meaningful improvements.

  • Designing products that align with users' mental models and interaction patterns enhances user intuition and satisfaction.

These learnings have enriched my role and contributed to the project's success, improving user experiences.

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