A data-driven age verification system

Designing a better and faster age gate.

We all know age gates. For those who are not familiar with them, they are also known as Adult Verification Systems "these are computing systems used by websites to confirm that users attempting to access their website are legally adults."

The simple fact that a feature has been around for decades does not mean that can’t be improved.

THE PROBLEM

Age gates creates a high bouncing rate on websites. By having a quick look at the client analytics we found out that most users don't get pass through the gate.

By law, alcohol-related websites must have an "Age Gate" where users must prove his or her age with their full birth date: year, month and day.

Old Gate

HYPOTHESIS

An "Age Gate" is a pain point in the user’s journey because of the time the user needs to invest before accessing the website.

On mobile, which represents 92.7% of the visits, searching for a year value in a drop-down or writing it down is time-consuming and in many cases, frustrating.

Research

Competitive Analisis:

We found out that our competitors, both national and international, are not paying enough attention to this problem. In essence, we found out 2 patterns: "The conventional drop down" (the one we were using), and the "Fill in by hand".

VS Gates

First attempt:

First, let's remove all visual distractions from the users, so they only see what they need to. Otherwise, if the content won’t be used, it is hidden. Then we are going to put both patterns against each other in a controlled experiment to see which is truly faster:

Speed1

It was then obvious that if a human is filling in the information by hand it is going to be faster. Also, when a user finishes typing their day of birth instantly passes to the month and so on until the users land to the site making it a bit faster.

But It was not fast enough on mobile. And many users will fill whatever number is on their head just to skip forward to the "real deal".

Designing with data:

After a lot of iterations on paper and low fidelity prototypes, we manage to design better input on a calendar-type layout. The product is going to ask for the year of birth first, then the month and finally the day. For an almost an instant year search, we group years on a block of 12 items, the first group of years shown represents the 92% of the traffic on the site of this particular client. Any other user won’t swipe more than 1 time to find his date of birth.

Speed Test

The final test:

Since the product got tested and iterated a lot of time through the process I was very confident that we had a better version of the "Adult Verification System" with our data-driven approach, but we had to test it against the others on the same controlled experiment to have a final result.

Speed2

The results were very satisfying, we manage to build a faster interface both on mobile and desktop. Users will past through the age gate "as if the gate was open".

Also, now that we have the exact birth date of our users, we can use this data and combine it with other sites modules to make little great experiences like surprising our customers with a free beer on their birthday.

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