HSBC Originations

Designing a single channel account opening service for one of the world's leading financial institutions.

Interaction Design, Research & Team Leadership



At the time of starting the project, global conversion rates for current account openings were under 5% for HSBC, requiring applicants to complete the application journey in a single branch.

With challenger banks and innovative fintech startups leading the way in reshaping customer expectations and allowing customers to open an account in seconds, HSBC made seeking parity with these user experiences a priority to ensure continued success in the sector. The proposed solution was to be rolled out in Hong Kong, while shaping the Global design that would later be scaled up for release in all regions.

Section of a user journey for the service.


Working as an integral member of a cross-functional delivery team, including product designers, developers, back-end integration experts, Enterprise Agile delivery leads, and software testers, we combined design thinking methods and agile approaches, placing increased value for customers as primary indicator of success.

Designing journeys for financial services presents some unique challenges. Our initial research revealed to us that users can be intimidated by the amount of detail required for a successful application.

With the aim to reduce the cognitive load of the application, we hypothesised that users are more likely to abandon the on-boarding journey prematurely due to this, and used prototypes to validate the theory for the client and their customer due diligence team, encouraging them to review the amount of questions needed.

We also tested a ‘progressive reveal pattern’, only revealing certain questions to a user based on how they answered the preceding questions and found that breaking up the question sets into distinct thematic sections (such as, personal, residential, employment, financial and account usage details) also had a measurably calming effect on users, who were then far more inclined to complete the application process.

After initial research, we began designing and developing live alpha versions of the service. We worked in sprints focused on identifying and addressing technical, integration, usability and accessibility issues in advance of the final product launch. This gave us the ability to validate our ideal journey with users at a far higher level of fidelity, and across multiple regions.

In an effort to reduce fraudulent behaviour, we also implemented proprieatry facial and ID documentation recognition features as part of the onboarding journey.


Since launch, there has been a consistent 40% increase in conversion rates and the time taken to open an account has been reduced to around 12 minutes (Account opening journeys in -branch could take up to an hour if not longer)

Prototyping in Axure.


As a consultant working for SPARCK/BJSS, but also alongside permanent HSBC team members, my postion was as Head of Design for UK and HK Domestic Customer Onboarding.

My duties included but were not limited to:

  • Providing support for the Design Manager and the wider design community
  • Ensuring the integrity of the global design system
  • Interpreting research outcomes into meaningful design descisions
  • Assisting with global user research activities
  • Creating fully clickable prototypes that allowed for the parsing of data and states (Axure)
  • Performing usability testing sessions
  • Delivering fully annotated design assets to our delivery team
  • Exercising a level of quality control over the final product as well as ensuring it met AA accessibilty standards