Author’s Note

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Trever Santora

UX Designer

Case Study

Seagate Recovery Services

New Customer Experience


  • Agency
  • Iron-Point
  • Account Managers
  • Dan Supinski
  • Kendall Wilson
  • Project Managers
  • Anna Supinski
  • Lauren Kenney
  • Visual Design
  • Jake Wakefield
  • User Experience
  • Trever Santora
  • Developers
  • John Zupin
  • Garrett Pickrell


In early 2014, my employer, Iron-Point, received an email from a division of Seagate known as SRS or Seagate Recovery Services: “We have a new business model…we’ve made dramatic improvements to our pricing and turnaround time…we’d love your help bringing these changes to our website.”

From vintage server clusters to smartphones fallen victim to water damage, SRS specializes in the retrieval of missing data from most any storage device.

We focused on delivering an improved user experience for the pre-existing ecommerce form and the new online case tracker.

The Form

The Form

Customers use the ecommerce form to send in their device for an evaluation fee. If their data can be recovered they are charged the full fee.

The Form

The Tracker

After a successful evaluation, customers can keep tabs on the progress of their recovery using the tracker. It also doubles as a reference tool for SRS customer service.

My Role

On a tight schedule, I worked with a talented team of managers, engineers and designers. I was responsible for all aspects of the user experience.

Because user experience was one of the three tenets for our client’s new business model, I played an integral role in early kickoff meetings.

I framed initial conversations with the client, prepared aspects of the brief and scope, conducted research, designed artifacts, provided oversight after handoffs, and kept a pulse on the project’s success after we went live.

Business Challenge

Lower the form abandonment rate and take the pressure off SRS phone support.


Desk Research

Before we moved on to interviews and surveys we used secondary data to fill in any knowledge gaps. This was information we didn’t gather but had requested from the client.

We sifted through two years’ worth of server logs and found dramatic bounce rates indicative of a major speed bump on the form. We watched prerecorded interviews with SRS customers and employees who related their personal accounts. And we rounded off our research reading white papers and user generated online reviews from sites like Yelp! and

By the time we finished our desk research we understood we were dealing in matters of human welfare. Sure, losing data sounds pretty mundane, but data is business, data is precious memories, data, for a majority of the people who seek out SRS, is a very personal affair.

From photos, to film footage and even spreadsheets, data is closely tied to the welfare of everyday people from around the world. Getting to know these people helped us design an experience that was respectful of their oft panic-stricken state.


Not every repair was bound to be a success. How would we deliver bad news to a customer? And what exactly could go wrong?

To answer that question we considered the journey and the emotional state of our user. We listed potential outcomes and negative reactions a user might feel. From our list we penned out the flows in plain text and showed this simple diagram to our client.

Our lo-fi flow let us share assumptions with stakeholders and team members before investing in wireframes.

Reference material
Referencing the “Universal Principles of Design” for the tracker’s lateral timeline.


A funny thing happened on the way to the wireframes: I wrote most of the copy. SRS’ copywriters liked it enough to keep it in the final products.

We approached this project knowing that lorem ipsum just wasn’t going to cut it. After all, writing is a design tool. I tried to omit needless words to avoid room for misinterpretation.

It was also important for the copy to show an empathetic tone. Customers were waiting on pins and needles. We made a point of reassuring them real live humans were on standby to help.

The typography and white space established basic visual design elements. Previous project’s lo-fi wireframes helped the team but confused the client. We chose to use their branding to make it easier to move on to the design phase.

Each wireframe followed a progression. We prefaced them with a short description of what stage the user occupied in the flow.

The font size helps users prioritize content on the screen.
Download the Wireframes (PDF)


Traditional specification documents are weighty tomes. We described the basic details of the user experience to move the design forward.

We made the document approachable to encourage team members to take part. We used screenshots from the final design to make it realistic. We then annotated each screen with corresponding numbers for easy reference. And finally, we provided user context along with a unique ID and title for each screen.

In the specification, developers asked us to focus on conditional areas, interactive states, and responsive design recommendations.

Video Walk-Through

I recorded a screencast and walked the client through the wireframes. This approach helped us win over a difficult stakeholder who needed have things explained slowly.

One unexpected benefit of presenting our work in a screencast was catching those unanticipated “gotchas” we would have missed if we’d jumped right in to a meeting. We smoothed them over before passing it along to our project manager and quality assurance crew.

The client was delighted by the concept and we moved to gathering feedback in Notable.

Video tutorial
In the past few years I’ve published screencasts for clients or internal teams. We’ve found it helps foster inclusion and buy-in from both sides.

Project Tools

Pen and paper Pen & Paper I sketched and whiteboarded throughout the research and design phases.
Omnigraffle Omnigraffle I turned concepts on paper into digital wireframes and user flows.
Notable Notable I organized several rounds of feedback for our internal team and the client.
Screenflow Screenflow I walked the client through our initial wireframes with narrated videos.
Photoshop Photoshop I collaborated on the final visual design with the Creative Director.


The Form

The form would need to be translated in 7 other languages for some 18 countries.

Separate regions of the world handled payment processing differently. Adapting to these challenges was difficult because new requests arrived piece-meal almost weekly.

To overcome the disjointed requests we adapted to a more agile approach and worked in tandem with front-end developers and engineers to see them through to completion.

The Tracker

We originally planned to use the color red for failed recoveries. But we learned from customers that red invoked a harsh reaction.

We opted for yellow instead and informed customers in the status message below that they could call SRS anytime, or SRS would be in touch within 48 hours.


The Form

A lack of upfront pricing was a major deterrent for prospects. We remedied this by asking prospects for two vital pieces of information at the top of the form: country and media type. Once chosen, an estimate appeared for the evaluation and final cost.

The upfront pricing regained customer’s momentum.

To keep them in motion a large number of redundant form fields were removed thanks in part to conditional logic. Thus reducing the average form completion time from 9m 30s to 2m 10s. The form’s conversion rate increased in the first quarter by 130%.

The Tracker

The tracker itself was the solution to reducing high call volumes. By integrating the UPS API into our checkout form new customers were given immediate access to the tracker. This bumped up customer engagement online by 200% and reduced call load significantly.

Because we chose not to use passwords for the tracker’s login page — instead, case numbers — reps could now look up a customer’s case status without asking them to divulge a password.

SRS Tracker
SRS Tracker
SRS Tracker
Different status updates seen on the tracker over the course of 8 to 14 business days.

Continual Improvement

After identifying which KPIs to measure, we used A/B testing to slowly improve the conversation rate for the ecommerce form.