APP | Web, back-office

Product Designer Lead
UXR & Facilitator

I worked in leading the design team. I also learned and applied the company’s business needs. Led the end-to-end Product Design process:  co-creation with stakeholders, workshop facilitation, UX research, problem mapping, insights and ideation, wireframes, prototyping, user testings, and metrics monitoring.


A startup founded five years ago, which helps contractor MEIs (individual micro-entrepreneur) manage their company: accounting and finances.
Some relevant topics
• Has experience and technological structure to make bulk payments (in the thousands)
• More than 365,000 contractor MEIs were paid by SmartMEi
• Made more than 3.3 million payments in more than 4,700 municipalities across Brazil
• The main customer is Rappi, working for all their contractors, motorcycle couriers, and bikers from all over the country
• Offer companies help with their accounting, invoicing, and taxes (including Federal Income Tax)

Before my arrival, SmartMEi mapped the needs of SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) and realized that could offer his services for them, cause:
• SMBs usually hire contractors
• An emergence of new businesses (SMBs) with up to 50 employees
• There is a growing movement of hiring contractors in Brazil

SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses)
• Companies with up to 50 employees
• They are producers, design studios, advertising agencies, software houses, consultants, startups, etc.

Contractors (MEI, ME, and EIRELI)
• Has no partners or employees, provides services for one or more companies
• There may be a formal link between the company and the employee, or even a one-off service provision (freelancer)
Given SmartMEi's willingness to expand, which serves MEI, the partners realized that there was value and the potential for business growth to serve contractors with companies classified as ME (Micro company) and EIRELI (Individual Limited Liability Company).
My challenge as a Product Designer
Designing WORK’s digital products (the new company that was born from SmartMEi).


Simplify any accounting tasks for the contractor


We designed some digital products for WORK, and I would like to tell this story chapter by chapter.

1. Back-office web platform for SMBs

The company makes payments, adds contractors, sets up benefits for them, and controls bills for service provisions.

2. APP for contractors
Where the contractor receives salary payments, sends invoices, controls his personal company's taxes, and signs benefits.
3. Accountant web platform
Where the accountant manages the contractors’ accounting.


For this case, I would like to tell the story of how we designed WORK's accounting for the contractor.

Method | Discovery

The working method is based on the double diamond. This is the moment when the investigation process begins.

We used different research techniques to understand accounting needs and issues.


The contractor has their personal company to manage and to stay up to date with the government’s regulations.

The accountant is the specialist who manages the contractor’s bookkeeping needs.

CAQ Matrix

We use a CAQ matrix to help create accounting-related certainties, assumptions, and questions.
• Contractor ME has different taxes than the contractor MEI
• Every contractor ME as a company is required to have an accountant
• Taxes are the same for all regions in Brazil
• There may be more taxes
• There is no free accounting service at ME

• How do accountants settle taxes for the contractor ME?
• How do accountants perform contractor ME obligations?
• How do you offer the pro-labor (partner salary) configuration?
• Are there any other contractor ME taxes that we don't know about?

UX Research | Interview with the contractor

Understand how the contractor deals with accounting

Interviewee profile:
An individual legal entity without partners and contractors,
service provider, ME or EIRELI

Which areas will benefit from the investigation:
• Accounting and benefits sector
• Contractor as the end-user

What is the expected result?
User adherence and retention

Number of interviews:  7

Google Sheets - Tab:

Miro - Tab:

Questions in the script:
1. How do you take care of the accounting part of your company?
APP or an accountant?

2. How much do you pay for this accounting service?

3. In which situations would you get in contact with this service?
And in which situations would this service contact you?

4. How often is this service used?
Daily, weekly, monthly or yearly?

5. What accounting services do you use?
And which one do you use the most?

6. What taxes do you pay?
How often?

7. How do you receive these taxes?
How do you pay these taxes?

8. If you need to access some historical documentation or declarations, how do you do it?

9. What do you expect from an accounting system?

10. What do you not like about the accounting service you are using today?
Why would you improve it? How would you improve it?
Below are some sentences from contractors said in the interviews and organized by themes:
“Learning the laws is boring”
"We pay the counter because we don't want to deal with it, there's a certain bureaucracy"
"I wanted the accountant to do everything for me... ...I’m not organized enough to do it alone"

Service Customer Attention
"It took 5 business days to get in touch with me"

"They never got in touch with me, not even when I asked."

"Nothing is self-explanatory, it's very difficult"

"They wanted me to transmit my earnings on a part of the site that isn’t designed well for the user and I ended up filling it in incorrectly"


"I hired the online accounting service. It wasn’t very good, so I decided to do it myself, but I don't like that"
"For six months they didn't anything for me"
"The site looked pretty cool, but it didn't work"
"The accountant was hardworking, too bad it failed on the INSS side…"
"There's only one thing that bothers me, it's that they're too disorganized"

"I had an accountant, but I couldn't keep paying for his services"
"Since it's a company that doesn't demand much, I think the price could be better"
"BRL 180 / month + consultations", "BRL 250 / month", "one minimum wage", "BRL 150", "BRL 600"
"half minimum wage + from BRL 50 to BRL 80 per additional service"
"My main problem is the price"

"There's nothing that organizes all the accounting information and keeps it in one place"

"The DAS and rent are taxes that I hate because you can't put have them as an automatic debit"

"My dream accounting system would have to be more automated"

"The system would need to tell me everything I have to pay, give me directions step by step because I don't understand anything about accounting ... I need access to know everything that came in and everything that came out, almost like internet banking"

"Payment should be made easier, like Netflix"
"I, as a consumer, want it to be an invisible service. If I could, I would even add DAS to an automatic debit service"
"Register all my data and have everything done automatically and by automatic debit"
"To improve an accounting system, there would have to be a notification that such a tax will expire on the Xth day"

UX Research | Interview with accountants

Understand how contractor accounting works (ME and EIRELI)

Interviewee Profile:

Which areas will benefit from the investigation:
• Accounting and benefits sector
• Contractor as the end-user

What is the expected result:
User adherence and retention

Mounting quantity: 6
Questions in the script:
1. How do you offer taxation for retirement (pension) for the contractor ME?

2. What is the proportion of contractors ME who opt for the pro-labor minimum payment?

3. What is the proportion of contractors ME who choose to pay for the pro-labor ceiling?

4. Are there any contractors who have opted for the midway, that is, a social security contribution between the minimum and the ceiling?

5. Dividend is a common term used when explaining to the contractor (ME or EIRELI) how to configure the GPS collection?

Miro - Tab:

Below you’ll find the feedback from the interviews with accountants:
Subject: pro-labor and social security
• 3 out of 6 accountants claim that tax payments for retirement are made based on pro-labor

• 1 out of 6 accountants claim that contractor ME doesn't care about retirement and when they do, they pay as little as possible

• 2 out of 6 accountants offer the option of payment in accordance with the CNIS (National Register of Social Information) based on the amount that fits the social security value ranges

• 2 out of 10 contractors ME choose to pay the social security contribution between the ceiling and the minimum

• 100% of the accountants interviewed do not use the dividend to set the GPS tax (Social Security Guide). They set it using the pro-labor as a reference number

Goal | Keep in mind

Simplify any accounting tasks for the contractor

Problems | Insights

• Organization of problems and insights in a prioritization matrix.
• The Product Head | CEO and designers prioritized problem-solving that directly impacts the business objective.


By mapping the relationship between the SMB company, the contractor, and the accountant, we understand where WORK stands.

• Back-office web platform for SMBs:
request invoice, approve or decline invoice for payment of work

• APP for contractors: sending an invoice through the work and accounting area where the contractor locates taxes and obligations to the government

• Accountant web platform: activities related to contractor's accounting and the communication channel between the accountant and the contractor

Method | Co-creation

Use of co-creation methodology in order to:
• Understand how to get quick feedback
• Stay on the same page as the stakeholders
• Implement other ways to approach problem-solving
• Work collaboratively and encourage others to have a sense of ownership
• Develop the most complete product possible


The draft (paperless and wireframe) is key for a good understanding of the basic structure of scenarios, flows, and screen content.
I interviewed the Head of Products a few times. From our conversations, I got a better understanding of the company’s business needs.
They were subjective and complex talks, and the feedback I got was essential for making improvements.

Latest wireframe version

Medium fidelity in Figma:


The prototype helps us to better understand navigation and interaction.

1. WORK Accounting

Medium fidelity in Marvel APP:

Goal | Keep in mind

Simplify any accounting tasks for the contractor

UX Research | Usability Test

We did a qualitative survey in order to analyze how the user interacts with Accounting WORK.

Goal: simple and intuitive usability
Format: remote and moderate
Tools: Marvel APP, Lookback, Google Meet, Docs, and Sheets

User profile: individual legal entity, ME or EIRELI, without employees and without partners

Number of tests: 5
Areas directly or indirectly benefited from the investigation:
• Accounting sector
• Contractor as the end-user

Expected result: positive satisfaction rate
Script - Google Docs:

Test result

Problems found:
• not understanding how to set up automatic debit for paying taxes
• not understanding that the annual and monthly obligations are made by the accountant
• do not report that there is a channel to talk directly to the accountant
Satisfaction rate:
All users were satisfied
Phrases from users during the test:
"Simple, there's a little bell with information. I liked the pro-labor description. The fact that the information was very clear was the best part. I didn't have any accounting app, only a web platform, and that was very good for me."
"What I liked was that the payment was done automatically, that's it, it was paid. Making the payment takes time, I'm migrating from a system to a human accountant. I want everything done for me, I would pay triple the price to have everything automated and done for me.”
"I especially liked the language. I’m not very good at accounting and I don’t have a financial education background. When I added my first pro-labor I didn't know what I was doing. The platform on the other hand was all very summarized, it was simple. It was the simplest way I've ever seen it done, comparing it to the accounts I had done previously .."
"It was very simple, very easy to use because it generated the guide and I received it every month. It's a  handy tool, a tool that completes tasks automatically. I don't need to look around for things."

"The automation of things is very cool, informative change and activity need notifications..."
"I really liked it, the platform is able to anticipate how much GPS I'll have to pay per month."

"I thought it was simple, I thought it was good..."
Google Docs - Completed script (example):
Google Sheets - Test Tab:

Insights from surveys

1. Interview with contractors
Insight: doesn't want to learn about accounting.

"I wanted the accountant to do everything for me... ...I don't have the control or organizational skills for that."
"My dream accounting system would have to be more automated"
"Register all my data and have everything done automatically and by automatic debit"

2. Interview with users of the competitor's product

Insight: adding a system default value when the contractor doesn’t enter anything.

3. Interview with accountants

Insight: Custom pro-labor configurations are not common.

4. Usability Test with contractors ME or EIRELI

Insight: wants as much service automation as possible, less interference from the contractor

"What I liked most was having this payment done automatically, that's it, it was paid..."
"...I would pay triple the price to have everything automated and done for me."
"... a tool that does this automatically is really cool..."
"The automation of things is very cool..."

Take away / What I learned

1. Annual statement of the contractor ME

Before the research
The Product Head Hypothesis | The CEO was planning to replicate the features of the contractor ME annual statement from the way it was designed for the contractor MEI in the SmartMEi APP, where the user fills in the statement of their accounting year and sends it to the government.
Previous medium-fidelity wireframe version in Figma:
After the research
After we show the results of the surveys to the Head of Product | CEO, we realize that the best hypothesis for designing the ME annual declaration is for it to be completed by the WORK accountant partner, thus having the minimum involvement of the contractor managing their accounting.
When the contractor receives the statement from the accountant, they can see what was done and if they want to change something before the governmental submission deadline. At this point, if there are any changes needed they are able to just contact the accountant and ask for the change to be made. Even after the documentation is sent to the government, it’s possible to change something with an edited statement, made by the WORK accountant partner.
Last medium-fidelity wireframe version in Figma:
2. Contractor ME Pro-labor Configuration

Before the research
The product team’s hypothesis was based on the contractor setting the value of their pro-labor and consequently
seeing how much GPS tax they would pay (Social Security Tax that reflects on their retirement).
Previous medium-fidelity wireframe version in Figma:
After the research
We realize that the best hypothesis is that the value of the pro-labor comes pre-configured based on the minimum salary by default.
It is also based on if the user is interested in changing this setting which is possible to do according to their profile.
Doing it this way, we leave WORK Accounting automated and with minimal intervention by the contractor.
Last medium-fidelity wireframe version in Figma:

Goal | Keep in mind

Simplify any accounting tasks for the contractor

UI Design

High fidelity screens
Payment complexity

Assumption / Possible solution
Give more payment options, in addition to the bank bill
The contractors don't want to learn to account

Assumption / Possible solution
Solve accounting issues without much contractor intervention
The contractors don’t remember when the tax bills are due

Assumption / Possible solution
Notice with the due date, alert notifications rule in the APP and warning emails that are close in time to the due date
Contractors have difficulty understanding accounting technical terms

Assumption / Possible solution
Simple text and tone-of-voice communication with informal language
High price for accounting services

Assumption / Possible solution
Affordable price
Lack of quality customer service

Assumption / Possible solution

Ability to contact accountant by email or phone using a service accounting channel

User Map Flow

• Documentation for stakeholders with the UI screens
• Browsable streams separated by sessions
• Usage scenarios: normal, success, go back and error
• Notes to developers with business and product rules

Accounting in Overflow with all flows:

APP Contractor Invoice in Overflow:



AARRR | Pirate metrics
• Acquisition: an offer is made manually by the sales specialist
• Activation:
22 client companies contracted the payment service
845 contractors received payments through APP
2 accounting plans purchased by contractors
6 health plans were sold
• Retention: 16 customers (6 churns - these were cases in which the customers’ departure was expected)
• Reference: 2 clients converted by referral
• Revenue: it was almost zero

When I left the company, the Benefits and Accounting APP’s feature hadn’t been totally launched. Because of this, I didn’t have the opportunity to measure its results. WORK was expecting to generate revenue from the contractors (B2C) and to also have them purchase additional plans and benefits.

Takeaways / What I learned

• Co-creation: because of the successful collaboration by the team the project was completed ahead of schedule, enriched with information. It really generated a sense of belonging to all who participated

• Planning: work more on the macro scenario, before moving on to the screen level

• Writing: be more careful with content text and microcopy

• Testing: there is always something to be learned when people use the product and next share feedback

Let's create something together