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Project Case Study: E-commerce Checkout Experience

 Due to confidentiality agreements, specific insights, product information and company names have been removed


The e-commerce client aimed to integrate a donation widget with non-profits, allowing users to contribute during checkout. However, they faced a challenge with double the abandonment rate (52-64%) compared to standard checkout (30-45%), indicating a critical issue requiring investigation and improvement strategies.

My role:

Lead UX researcher. I oversaw the implementation of quantitative research methodologies, including user analytics, A/B testing, and survey analysis, to gathered actionable insights.

Close up image of an e-commerce website navigation to show users checking out .jpg

User Analytics: Utilized website analytics tools to track user interactions and behavior throughout the checkout process. Specific outcomes to understand include:

  • Abandonment rates at each step of the checkout process

  • Time spent on the charity page compared to the normal checkout page

  • Conversion rates for users who opted-in for charitable giving

A/B Testing: Conducted A/B tests to compare different variations of the charity donation feature and checkout flow. Specific outcomes to understand include:

  • Conversion rates for different variations of the donation widget

  • Impact of donation amounts and charity selection on user behavior


Survey Analysis: Distributed post-purchase surveys to users who abandoned their carts on the charity page to gather feedback on their reasons for abandonment. Specific outcomes to understand include:

  • Common pain points and usability issues cited by users

  • Preferences and motivations for charitable giving during checkout

Note: Due to confidentiality agreements, the image has been altered from its original presentation form to remove specific information. 



Users expressed concerns about potential scams and lacked sufficient information to feel confident that the charitable giving feature was a legitimate part of a program.


While having a landing page for each charity allowed users to learn about the organization, they encountered difficulty returning to their shopping cart, potentially leading to frustration and abandonment.


Users sought reassurance that their donations would directly benefit the charity's cause rather than being allocated to administrative overhead costs.






Enhanced Informational Tooltip:

Implement contextual tooltips or informational pop-ups alongside the charitable giving feature to provide users with clear and concise information about the program's legitimacy and how their donations will be utilized. This additional guidance aims to alleviate concerns about scams and instill confidence in users.


Persistent Checkout Reminder:

Introduce a persistent checkout reminder or progress indicator that remains visible as users explore charity landing pages. This reminder serves as a navigational aid, allowing users to easily return to their shopping cart without losing their place in the checkout process, thereby addressing the challenge of cart abandonment.


Make Donations Transparent

Integrate a transparency feature (like Charity Navigator ratings) that offers users visibility into how their donations are allocated, emphasizing a direct connection between their contributions and the charitable cause. By providing insights into overhead costs and administrative expenses, users can feel reassured that their money will primarily support the charity's mission rather than administrative tasks.

Learnings & Outcomes


  • Abandonment rate on charity page went from 60% to a drop of 48%

  • From SEQ ratings, user satisfaction rose from 3.5/5 to 4/5 

  • Charitable contributions increased (total amount not shown for privacy reasons)

Key Takeaways:

  • Designing for trust includes both microcopy considerations and navigational considerations - bouncing users around and assuming they are following the narrative leads to mistrust.

  • Integrating plugins to existing systems requires analyzation of the current navigation and information structure, because any additional feature (like a widget) will produce data that needs to be stored somewhere. If you don't anticipate this, you will lose valuable data on how users behave.

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