delacruz DYNAMICS
Kristian Dela Cruz // Product Designer

IRS Auctions

Simplified UX focusing on core interactions of purchasing, simplified navigation, and search.


I was the Lead UX Designer on a small team of 5 consultants to research, analyze, design and rapid prototype IRS Auctions.We dramatically simplified the user experience, focusing on core interactions of purchasing, simplified navigation and search.  

The problem we wanted to solve is to provide users a consistent experience from an interest of an item to purchase.

Oh, we have to research and create the prototype in 11 days and IRS Deputy Executives adored the process and designs.


"This is going to be an aggressive timeline are you up for the challenge?


- IRS Auctions Product Manager


Blast from the past 

The team received a competitive analysis report from the Booz Allen IRS Team and found out that top-tier features: Bidding & Buying, Payment and Support are the top features we will work on. In addition, we wanted to enhance the user experience with responsive design, conduct usability testing processes and creating a design principle on making the user feel important on the life cycle of the prototype.

Current website: 


11 day deadline? Set the major goals 

1. Create an experience that is consistent with IRS brand standards
2. Utilize 18F's U.S. Web Standards Design system to reuse UI components for quicker design iterations
3. Prioritize features and create a prototype focusing on Bidding & Buying, Payment and Support
4. Focus on responsive design for users on all devices
5. Initiate human-centered processes to keep our focused user groups in mind along the process
6. Provide a design and prototype for IRS Executive's to foster for future design efforts


Personas and process flow hypothesis

The team started with creating personas to grasp an understanding of our user group. Our data was provided from a IRS Subject Matter Expert that knew the information from the current IRS Auction website. The team continued to empathize with our users by digging deeper and focused on one persona to experiment on a specific flow. This exercise gave the team an holistic view on a hypothesis flow for one of our personas.

Experimenting our ideas numerous times

The team iterated on three rounds of wireframes which included usability testing with 4 users.
This provided some insights for the team which gave us the opportunity to iterate from user feedback
and further flesh out the wireframes to high-fidelity mockups.

IRS9 Wires_1.png

Challenges, usability testing and insights

With a team that had minimal knowledge of usability testing. Another colleague and I had a
opportunity to coach the team on facilitating paper usability test sessions with potential users.
With the limited timeline we did hallway usability testing in the Booz Allen building to gather
insights on the wireframes. 

Users: 4
Timeline: 1-2 hours
Tasks: 3
Data sets: 20-30

First Reaction
75% of reviewers were able to immediately identify this is a place to buy things
• Match the site's function to the user's mental model (expectations) to improve their experience
• It's interesting that the site gives me featured items
• It looks simple and clean. Not your ordinary government website

Advanced Search
• Discover how users would navigate the site with a specific item in mind.
• Users were able to correctly choose the navigational element
• Some elements of the advanced search function were unclear
• Discovered certain pain-points in the current design
• Since testing was done early in the design process, iterations will be a simple task

Registration and Bidding
• This scenario revealed users' bidding behavior preferences and privacy concerns•Users were able to registered and bid
• The usability testing provided insight on how users reacted to the various features of the site

  1. Flagging items
  2. The function of a deposit
  3. Whether anyone actually read the descriptions on the site

Home and Search
• All participants demonstrated varying methods of exploration:

  1. browsing homepage content and carousel
  2. filtering by popularity
  3. filtering by price
  4. filtering by category

• It is critical to make sure the site helps the users find what they need

Prototype and continue to iterate

With limited resources I was able to compile our usability testing findings and incorporated them to mockups. With the tight-deadline I was able to create the responsive design and create a prototype on InVision to showcase the work to the IRS Executive Deputy. Internal Leadership was happy on the teams output and as a result IRS was pleased following came with following work that involved a redesign and other product development.