After spending time working on the Kayak for services project, I moved on to a small team focussed specifically on the task of growing revenue. The way that happens on Thumbtack is by getting visitors to the site to make a request for work that service pros pay to bid on. What I saw after an initial round of user tests was the the existing form was confusing users because of how it didn't use traditional form input elements and instead was using a design that was intended to reduce vertical height of the form. Also, mobile users we tested really struggled because of the non-standard form elements were really designed only for desktop browsers.
The first step that I took as the designer on the team was to see what effect using more traditional form elements in the mobile version would have on conversion. Using the Jquery mobile framework, I was able to create a skinned and working prototype within a couple of days. With the help of an engineer, we were able to A/B test it with our users within a week. The new form lead to a 30% increase in conversion for mobile users. Also, user tests showed us that visitors were having a much easier time getting through the flow.
The success of the mobile form made me curious on what effect using traditional form elements, without concern of keeping everything above the fold, would have conversion for desktop browsers. So, we A/B tested a new version of the request form using traditional form elements and following standard W3C protocol and saw a significant increase in conversion. Almost all of the tests we would run came from learnings from various user tests and user interviews. The combination of user testing followed by designing within an A/B test framework, left us with little doubt that our work was focussed and well intentioned on serving the visitor's needs.
Over the next few months, after adopting the form with more standard elements, we continued to A/B test various aspects of the form. Everything from button copy, form width, helper text, adding the number of steps, inserting a self-syndication flow, and more. Overall, in the time I worked on this piece of the puzzle, as well as other key flows, user conversion increased 400%, leading to record revenue and growth.