Ian Eck
Verbal and Visual should be friends
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How do we make forms not suck?


Western Union had a paperwork problem

Western Union employs thousands of independent agents, mostly small business-owners, to offer its money transfer services around the globe. Since Western Union’s business model involves movement of money internationally, governments require all agents to recertify themselves as trusted purveyors of financial services.

As the recertification process exists now, Western Union sends representatives throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia with bundles of paperwork for these agents to fill out. It’s a monumental task. Packed with legalese and complex organizational jargon, the process requires in-person guidance from a Western Union representative and often takes months for an individual business to complete.

Our job was to convert this labor-intensive, paper-based process into a fluid, frictionless, digital experience.



Here's how we solved it

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Divide the work into manageable chunks

Embarking on a lengthy set of forms is like climbing Everest. You don't blindly run at it in one go. You assess the journey, divide it into stages, do it piecemeal, track your progress, maybe even backtrack—if an obstacle presents itself. We wanted this form this form to feel like it was completing itself, step by step, slowly but surely.


Provide on-demand context and assistance

This whole process was normally done with a WU rep sitting next to the agent, available for questions. We tried to recreate that by providing contextual help on a field-by-field basis. When you click into an open field, it tells you any and all relevant information about it.

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Use a warm, conversational tone

This form is daunting, both in it's length and in it's bureaucratic heft. We used encouraging language and color-rich transitions to add a human element to the process.


Help business-owners manage their ownership chart

Multi-national organizations often have complicated ownership hierarchies—companies nested within companies within companies. Western Union needs to know every detail of these structures in order to stay compliant, so we built a tool to help owners visualize and edit these relationships.

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