- Added feedback that not only told users why their passwords are weak but how to resolve it
- Used live-updating colors and icons that provide instant feedback
- Eliminated redundancies, navigation holes, and other points of friction to reduce the number of taps required to complete a task
- Move things around a bit to better match users’ mental model of the app
- Added a Favorites segment for quicker access to frequently used passwords
Play with the prototype to the right or view it here.
- Usability Testing
- User Interviews
What is Dashlane?
Dashlane is a mobile app that stores passwords for online accounts, secure notes, credit cards and other payment information. For this study, I’ve focused on its iOS app. The app is free, but offers paid subscriptions for additional features, such as syncing across all devices.
Purpose of the Study
A number of different apps exist in this space, with 1Password, LastPass, and oneSafe among the top competitors. When I surveyed potential users, none of them use Dashlane. Why isn’t Dashlane widely popular among password managers? What can be done to improve it? I set out to find answers and offer my solutions.
Improve the usability of Dashlane while balancing business goals and users' efficiency for completing tasks.
I recruited users* mainly on Craigslist as well as asking a couple of friends. In order to keep the test as controlled as possible, I asked candidates the following questions:
*For now, I've recruited users that I think Dashlane is primarily for, based on the app's language, visual design and use cases. If I had access to Dashlane's user data and metrics, I'd use them to create full, informed personas.
How successful are users at completing the primary and secondary tasks of the app? Where do they experience friction that reduce their efficiency or even prevent them from completing the tasks? What business needs do I have to keep in mind while redesigning this experience?
1. You want to log into Facebook, but you are using a friend’s computer, and your email and password are not saved on his computer. You know you have the email and password for your Facebook account saved in Dashlane; how do you find it?
2. You are in the process of setting up a PayPal account, and you want to make sure the password is very strong (for obvious reasons). How do you use Dashlane to help you come up with a very strong password?
3. You have downloaded the Amazon app on your phone and want to log in, but you don’t remember your password. You switch over to the Dashlane app. How do you find your password and how do you enter it into the Amazon app?
4. After moving into your new home, you set up an alarm code to activate/deactivate your home alarm system. The code is 1848. You want to add it to Dashlane so you won’t lose it. How do you do that?
5. You are shopping on another app on your phone. You need to find your credit card information to pay for your order. How do you do this using Dashlane?
*6. While exploring Dashlane, you find that some of your passwords are “Super safe” while some are “Unsafe,” and others fall somewhere in between. What do you think this means and what would you do about it?
*I took out this question because it was too leading and biased toward proving my own notion that there’s a flaw in this part of the app. If the user had never even noticed the “password safety” feature, and I pointed it out to them, their response would then be invalidated by my bias.
- Retrieve an online account password and email
- Create a new entry for an online account
- Use the password generator
- Retrieve and create secure notes
- Retrieve and create payment information
- Offer clear and compelling value propositions: convenience and security.
- Make the process of retrieving, creating, and generating information as simple and smooth as possible.
- When the experience is enjoyable, users are more likely to upgrade to a paid plan to access the full value of the app.
Problems & Solutions
What did users find most challenging about the app? What slowed them down or even prevented them from completing tasks? Here are the five most critical problems I found based on findings from the user tests.
Problem 1: Poor Navigation
When users were trying to add a new item, all were frustrated to find that they were not allowed to go back to the previous step in their process. Their only choice was “Cancel,” taking them all the way back to the beginning of the process. One user remarked that this was the most frustrating aspect of the entire app.
Solution 1: Back Button
There was an obvious need for a back button, but why? Giving users the option to go back allows them to explore without consequences. While adding a new item, it makes the process feels much smoother, resulting in less frustration, fewer drop-offs, and increased engagement.
Problem 2: Difficulty Finding Items
Users were tasked to find an item and went through multi-step processes. They found that the organization of items was unintuitive and most said that the chronological order of accounts was not helpful.
Solution 2: Segmented view
The flows shown above do not contain very many steps, but how could it be even shorter? By adding a “Favorites” segment, I added a familiar, more intuitive option for users to view their items. This also removed an extra tap during the flow and may eliminate any scrolling, thus reducing the time and number of steps the user must go through.
Problem 3: Unhelpful Password Feedback
The area of the app that generated the most questions and confusion was the password feedback, which was unclear, not actionable, and provided no guidance. Users also experienced friction when adding a new password or editing an existing one.
Solution 3: Call to Actions, Constructive Feedback, & More
The most significant improvements come in the form of feedback that users can take action upon and straight-forward steps on how to improve the safety of their password. I also reduced friction during this flow by making buttons more obvious and making sure they don’t disappear, improving the consistency of the copy, and making the app more accessible to those with color deficiencies.
Problem 4: Inconsistency
When tasked with adding a new alarm code (task #4), many users experienced difficulty due to a small but vital inconsistency. When they eventually arrived at the screen to add a note, users also noticed that the icon for “Categories” did not match its label.
Solution 4: Consistency
These improvements include changing the names of links or icons to match their corresponding screens, which also match user’s expectations.
Problem 5: Redundancy
When users were adding a new password, websites on the list were duplicated, taking up precious mobile screen space with no real purpose and cluttering the user’s view.
Solution 5: Clarity
Redundant sites were removed from the list and in its place, a more practical option.
Dashlane stores more than just passwords and payment information. It also stores personal information (for form fills) and various ID cards. Although I only focused on the main use cases for the app, I would like to explore the usability of the other features available to users if I had more time. I'd also like to conduct usability testing on the prototype I created and iterate based on that feedback and data.
I am not affiliated with Dashlane, Inc. This study was put forth unsolicited, for educational purposes and in an effort to create value for users and for Dashlane, Inc.