Pathfinder Homepage - Lite

Phase 1: Research

Competitive Benchmark

Competitive Benchmark

We started by conducting a competitive analysis to see how other websites structured their glossary pages. Because Pathfinder is an internally facing product designed to quickly and accurately answer client's questions, our main priorities were clarity and speed. We wanted users to quickly find terms, see the definition, and then get back to serving their client.

Another consideration was how the terms broke down by starting letter (or number) and character length. Most characters had under 600 terms, and the average term length was about 28 characters. While we did explore the option of grouping letters (A-C, D-F, etc.), we opted to instead have a link for every character. This made it faster and easier for the user to find the letter they were looking for.

After gathering various glossary examples, and reviewing the existing database of terms, we began exploring designs.

Phase 2: Design

User FlowMockup

User Flow

We developed a user flow to visualize how a user would go about searching for a term. We explored a landing page for the glossary as well as it being included in the global search.


We explored two designs for the glossary page; one with an accordion layout and one with a list. While the accordion option allowed for more terms to be viewed on the page, the added step of expanding and collapsing definitions was ultimately thought to be too cumbersome, and the list view was selected.

We also designed mobile comps for the glossary page to accompany the Pathfinder mobile experience. We put the filter in between the search bar and the results for ease of use.

Phase 3 - Test and Iterate

User InterviewsIteration

User Interviews

My team interviewed five Rocket employees who use Pathfinder on a daily basis in the banking and underwriting context. We learned that instances of not knowing a term were relatively rare, but depended on experience level. We also learned that in the case of needing to find a definition to a term, the users would open up another tab in their browser and Google the term.

We also asked users if they would prefer a dedicated landing page for the glossary or if they would want that functionality to be built into the existing search feature. All participants said that they would prefer the glossary functionality to be built into the global search. This made sense, as it saves a click and allows the user to search even when they are not at the homepage.


After taking into account the user feedback, we made a few minor tweaks to the designs. First, we incorporated the glossary search into the global navigation and also provided a landing page in case the user didn't know exactly what the term was that they were looking for. Secondly, in the mobile view, we removed the search bar above the filter and instead used the global search bar at the top of the screen. This confused users who didn't know what the difference between the two search bars was.

Overall, the users found the glossary page and filter feature to be intuitive. They quickly grasped how to search for a term, or find a term from the filter list.

Lessons Learned

Identical features should be built differently in order to align with specific user goals. When designing the glossary page, our key priorities were speed and accuracy. We wanted users to be able to find the term they were looking for, even if they didn't know exactly what the term was listed as (think 203K vs 2055). We wanted users to stay in the Pathfinder application instead of opening a new tab and searching Google because the information could be inaccurate our outdated.

What I'd Do Differently

When we validated the designs in user feedback, we only showed the user the version with the list view and not the version with the accordion view. This was because we felt that the list view was more intuitive and reduced the number of clicks needed to find the definition of a term. While I still agree with our decision, having users validate that the list view was in fact the proper design would have been good to check. I will note however that at no time during the user interviews did a participant say the would want the terms to be in an accordion view.

What's Next?

After the minor iterations were completed for this project, another round of user testing to validate that our updates solved user needs would be advised. We may want to follow-up with the original interviewees, or find new users to see if they found the process to be intuitive.

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