American Express Serve - Tax Season

Tax season is one of the biggest initiatives that Serve tackles every year. It is an opportunity to provide an important service to people who need to get their tax refund quickly and efficiently. It helps users get money onto a digital platform and is great exposure for Serve to showcase its strength and features as a digital banking alternative.


Serve is an alternative banking solution. It is a prepaid debit account that allows users unable or unwilling to get a credit card or bank account to receive all of the benefits of an online account. During my time working as American Express I have worked on many initiatives within Serve. Due to ownership of proprietary information, some designs or process must be left out. 

The initiative for tax season was to update the dedicated tax page within the Serve experience that would easily convey how and why users should load their tax refund onto their account. Other experiences across Serve had to be updated to match the design as well, including the log in page seen above and various screens in the app.


I worked with a content strategist and design manager on the tax initiative for 2015. As such, I was the only designer on the project. In leading the design process from beginning to end, I was in charge of auditing and researching, synthesizing, running design workshops, wire framing, and final designs. However, I did not work as a siloed designer. I employed the help of the entire design team when conducting workshops and seeking collaborative feedback on direction.



I performed a full audit of the Serve tax experience from 2014 as well as competitor experiences. Each experience was broken down into categories that could be used in the new design.



Sketching and Ideating

I sketched on my own as well as led groups to propose different flows and layouts for the experience. 


Wireframing and Testing

With the results of research and sketching I put together various wireframes that were tested in front of users.



With the results from testing I was able create a final design that aligned with business units, contained all relevant copy, incorporated the successes of the 2014 design, and intuitively lead users through the experience. This year, the day with the highest load of tax refunds on Serve has already reached four times that of any day from last year.