Next Generation Tax Prep

GRD partnered with Don Norman to help H&R Block design an entirely new and emotionally engaging approach to online tax preparation. We were given a seemingly impossible charge: “Make it fun to do your taxes!”


Tax season isn’t met with great enthusiasm or positive emotions. We looked closely at the reasons why, and set out to change the way people feel about taxes.

People were getting lost, not knowing how far along they were and how much they had left to do. We wanted to make the process feel more like an interview with a friendly tax advisor, with flexibility to start and stop, and able to jump around without getting lost.



We built a story behind the flow of information, elegant interactions, and a visual interface to excite even the most skeptical tax filer.

We uncluttered the screen and designed navigation for users to see where they are and what’s left to do, guiding users with cues and feedback to gently assist them throughout the process. We increased feelings of confidence, using indicators of completion, line-level help, chats with professionals, and contextual interactive tools. A realtime refund/owe meter felt like a game to encourage the user toward the end, where they could submit their taxes with ease.

In addition, we worked with the development team to build interactive prototypes and test new concepts iteratively and work out the kinks, so that the final application felt highly refined.

“The online service’s sleek and stylish interface is one of the best looking, most intuitive, and easiest to navigate that we’ve seen.”

- Computerworld

lasting impact

H&R Block was so happy with the results from our first project, they invited us back repeatedly to help
with other efforts:

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“At Home” Visual Refresh

When it came time to update the look and feel of the User Interface, H&R Block asked for our help. We had documented our design rationale and UI structure in a style guide, and were able to refresh the visuals without losing key elements of the design.

Taxcut Online + Taxcut Desktop Software

Other H&R Block’s tax preparation products also needed to be retouched to reflect the new style and functionality consistently. The GRD team presented a wide range of concepts to improve the visuals and reinforce brand confidence.

HRBlock.com Information Architecture

GRD took a long look at H&R Block’s diverse products and services, including brick & mortar offices, tax software, mortgage lending, wealth management, banking, and more. We studied the range of customers H&R Block aims to reach. Then we reorganize content and optimize information flow on HRBlock.com, the public’s online source for all things H&R Block.

Data Visualization for In-Office Consultations

H&R Block hired us a fourth time to create data visualizations used by tax preparers to show clients who come into their offices. The content needed to elegantly represent the client’s tax return in a glance, as a tax expert explained the numbers. We designed simple, easy-to-understand visuals to break down any tax scenario.

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