CASE STUDY

FinTech

Faced with the challenge of clearly communicating client rates, we envisioned a tool that goes beyond clarity.

It not only accurately depicts true costs, but offers incentives for larger investments through cost savings, ultimately empowering clients to make informed decisions about their financial journey with us.

Design Process & Timeline

A non-linear, iterative design thinking process was followed to understand users, challenge assumptions, define problems, and create innovative solutions to prototype and test.

Empathize

UXR Workshop
Usability Interviews
Affinity Map
Research Findings

Define

Problem & Goal User Personas Empathy Map

Ideate

How Might We
Co-creation UXR

Prototype

Design Iterations
Prototype

Test

UXR Workshop Usability Interviews Research Findings  Feedback Iteration

UXR
Workshop
Usability
Interviews 1

WEEK 1-2

User
Personas
Affinity
Map
Research Findings

WEEK 3-4

How
Might We
Empathy
Map

WEEK 5-6

UXR
Workshop 2
Co-creation
Sessions
Design
Iterations

WEEK 7-8

Usability
Interviews 2
Prototype

WEEK 9-10

Affinity
Map
Research Findings

WEEK 11-12

Design
Iteration

WEEK 13-14

Prototype

WEEK 15-16

Tools

Role

UX & UI Designer
UX Researcher

Duration

4 months

EMPATHIZE

Phase1 | Stakeholder UXR Workshop

When I joined this new product team, I encountered a challenging landscape. Stakeholders were unfamiliar with UX principles, research was undervalued, and clear project objectives were lacking. Faced with low UX maturity, high resistance, and unclear goals, I took initiative to bridge the gap.

Recognizing the Need

A new researcher joined us, and stakeholders pressured them to use  leading yes/no questions without proper strategy. This prompted me to propose a research alignment workshop.

The Workshop Template in Action

The workshop brought together a diverse group, including senior leadership, product owners, business analysts, tech leads, and the UX team. My workshop template facilitated a collaborative process:

  • Collective Goal Setting: We defined research objectives, identified desired user and business outcomes, and mapped out assumptions and questions.
  • Democratic Participation: Anonymity through Mural's incognito mode ensured open participation. I encouraged everyone to contribute, emphasizing that even seemingly "silly" ideas could spark valuable insights.
  • Prioritization with Transparency: Affinity mapping grouped related thoughts, and then we used a prioritization matrix to categorize themes based on risk (if unanswered) and certainty (confidence in the answer). Stakeholder voices guided placement on the matrix.

Workshop Outcomes and Impact

  • Improved Stakeholder Buy-In: The workshop fostered immediate engagement. The product team saw the value of research and requested this approach for future projects.
  • Enterprise-Level Adoption: The template's success led to its adoption across the entire Fortune 200 company, empowering researchers company-wide to align with their product teams.

This experience showcased the power of proactive initiative and well-designed workshops in driving UX maturity and fostering a collaborative research environment.

EMPATHIZE

Phase1 |  Usability Interviews

When I joined this new product team, I encountered a challenging landscape. Stakeholders were unfamiliar with UX principles, research was undervalued, and clear project objectives were lacking. Faced with low UX maturity, high resistance, and unclear goals, I took initiative to bridge the gap.

Pilot Research Objectives

Following our workshop, we established the following objectives for this pilot user research study:

  • Gather user feedback on the enhanced user interface (UI) and user experience (UX)
  • Evaluate whether the enhanced experience effectively provides users with information that empowers their clients to achieve a deeper understanding of both portfolio holding and service type-level rates
  • Assess user comprehension of details regarding existing client portfolio holdings and the rate calculation process presented on the enhanced page

Methodology Selection

To identify the most suitable user research methodologies, we reviewed the high-risk and high-uncertainty assumptions and questions identified during the workshop brainstorming session. Given the need to collect both quantitative and qualitative data, and the possibility of encountering users unfamiliar with the system, we determined a task-based usability interview incorporating the Think Aloud protocol as the optimal approach. This methodology would be complemented by open-ended, qualitative follow-up questions focused on core themes from the workshop: ease of use, functionality, perceived value, information architecture, user expectations, and future desires.

The design of the page necessitated an innovative approach to usability testing. To comprehensively evaluate multiple features without leading participants, we developed a single scenario encompassing various client options. Users were then asked to walk us through how they would utilize different aspects of the page to propose solutions tailored to those client options, followed by open-ended questions. This approach enabled us to gather non-leading feedback in a setting that closely mirrored real-world usage.

Example Task and Follow-Up Questions

Scenario:

Your client has the following available to use towards this holdings plan:

  • $2,000,000 additional potential assets they could add in the future
  • They have existing assets under care they could move into this new proposed account
  • They are open to exploring other account types
  • Your client is very fee conscious and is getting a lower rate at a competitor - reduce your rates.

Follow-up Questions:

  • Imagine your client wants to use existing assets under care towards this account, show me where might you find those available assets and account numbers?
  • Where might you get the tiered breakout of the rates, and how might you show and communicate them to your client?
  • In what level of detail might you discuss tiered rates?
  • Tell me about what you do NOT like about this tool and why?
  • Was any part difficult or hard to understand? Why?
  • Is there anything you think could be better? Why?
  • ​​Is there anything that you expected or wanted to see that was missing?
  • Is there anything this tool doesn’t currently offer that you wish it did?
  • Tell me about how this tool might help you, and what value it might provide to you and your clients?
  • Tell me how you might change this tool to be more usable and valuable to you and your clients?

Participant Recruitment

We recruited six participants for the study, excluding two subject matter experts with whom we initially tested and refined the discussion guide.

EMPATHIZE

Phase1 |  Affinity Map

Each session was recorded using Zoom. Following each session, I reviewed individual transcripts and transferred key insights into a Mural affinity map to identify recurring themes. A refined version of the affinity map is included below.

The research revealed a significant usability challenge with the portfolio holdings feature. Users consistently reported difficulty understanding the calculation logic, the underlying taxonomy, and the overall purpose and functionality of the feature. Additionally, participants found the interface and accompanying documents visually overwhelming.

However, the research also yielded promising opportunities for future enhancements. Users expressed a strong desire to propose fully customizable plan options, which they believed could be a powerful tool for motivating clients to consolidate holdings with their firm.

The most unexpected finding was the participants' suggestion for repurposing the tool. They envisioned using it beyond its intended planning workflow, requesting direct access outside of current workflow, PDF export for immediate client sharing, and the ability to replace an existing, less customizable PDF tool that currently fulfills a similar need.

EMPATHIZE

Phase1 |  Key Themes from Research

After applying data synthesis and affinity mapping techniques, I distilled the findings into core themes and actionable recommendations.

Top user needs trends

#1 PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS LABEL TAXONOMY LACKS CLARITY

“And this is this part is, I mean it's a little confusing to me how it's worded the way that it is.”

#2 PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS CONTENT AND FUNCTION LACK COHERENCE

“I'm getting stuck here to be honest with you. This isn't really making sense to me. I have to be honest. That doesn't make sense.”

#3 TABLE LABELS IMPLY THAT MATH IS DERIVED FROM BOLDED VALUES

“I would really like to understand how those dollar amounts are being calculated. Like I said, it doesn't make sense to me. I'm not going to use that screen until I understand that, cause if a client questioned me on it, I would have no idea how to answer”

#4 ENABLE INDIVIDUAL COLUMN DISCOUNT APPLICATION

“Allow us to be able to do it by column rather than showing the total, showing a discount applied to each one... And then if you bring me the extra money the discount is even greater.”

#5 OVERWHELMING USER INTERFACE

“It's a bit too much to be honest with you. It feels like a little too much information. This is why, this is exactly why it wouldn't show it in front of the client”

#6 DIFFICULTY LOCATING DISCOUNT

“When it comes to discounting, when I click that pencil icon, at first I would say I didn't know where to go to discount. It took me a second to notice”

Trends to keep eye on

#7 ELIMINATE SECOND COLUMN AND INCLUDE TOTAL RATES

“I would just want to see. You know, number some sort of a maybe a fifth column here that would show what they're already paying. And what they would be paying as a whole for this number, so the client doesn't feel like we're sweeping something under the rug”

#8 ENABLE TOOL ACCESSIBILITY BEYOND PLANNER SYSTEM

“The easier I have access to that without having to go into the system and click a bunch of places and google it on the help center, the better... a quicker or at a more accessible area of the tool, instead of having to scroll down or click other links to open windows”

#9 IMPLEMENT PDF SAVING AND/OR PRINT FEATURE

“I really wouldn't want to do this on the fly with the client watching this, so it'd be nice to be able to generate a client facing PDF”

#10 INCLUDE SAVE BUTTON IN DISCOUNT EDITOR

“May be easier to have a save button because I don't know if people pay attention to it... What about if you just want to play with the numbers and then you forget to push it back, and then you're stuck with discounting them“

Identified Behaviors

#1 HALF OF ADVISORS INFREQUENTLY PROVIDE DISCOUNTS

“I don't discount. I've never done discount. We bring enough value to our clients for the cost that we ask and honestly, if I were to start discounting, I don't think we are discounting for the right reason and I think it's just gonna be a mess.”

#2 HALF OF ADVISORS FREQUENTLY OFFER DISCOUNTS

“Say I'm discounting 20%, which I do pretty often, I'd say, OK, starts around 1% and the more we have in our management, it's a tiered system. So every you know every dollar above X amount is going to be a lower percentage.”

#3 HALF OF ADVISORS OFTEN UTILIZE THE TOOL FOR CLIENT INTERACTIONS

“I verbalize it, but also have the visual way to go with it. If you just say it to someone verbally that's going to go in one ear. If they can see it, it helps to cement the concept”

#4 HALF OF ADVISORS RARELY UTILIZE THE TOOL FOR CLIENT INTERACTIONS

“As soon as you show on the screen, you're paying attention to the screen and not to what you're saying”

#5 ADVISORS PRIORITIZE HIGH-LEVEL OVER DETAILS

“I understand you want to be transparent, but if you go in too much in depth, it's just gonna confuse the client”

#6 ADVISORS GENERATE SUMMARY RATE REPORTS

“I spend a good amount of time talking about the summary of rates report”

Identified Value

#1 NEW TOOL HELPS INCENTIVIZE CLIENTS TO CONSOLIDATE ASSETS

“The biggest thing is probably the first thing I noticed and that's just the ability to show them the value of investing more with us.”

#2 ADVISORS NO LONGER REQUIRE MANUAL DATA CALCULATIONS

“Compared to what we had in the past where we were having to manually calculate things and then we couldn't show anyone...”

#3 ADVISORS SEE MORE ACCURATE INFORMATION AND RATES

“It'll show them realistically what they're going to be paying because of the total pricing... I didn't like that previously we showed it as only as an annual number because I had to say, just FYI it's gonna come out monthly.”

#4 NEW TOOL ENHANCES VALUE WITH EXISTING INFORMATION

“I think you get get a lot more out of it for pretty much the same amount of information... I feel like this gives way more information than what we had, so I feel like it's definitely an improvement.”

#5 USERS PREFER THE ENHANCED TOOL OVER THE OLD ONE

“I would use the enhanced version. Even the aspects of this tool now, I think it's better than what we had before.”

#6 TOOL FACILITATES ENHANCED ADVISOR CONVERSATIONS

“I find it to be useful, you can conceptualize with prospect or client how the rate structure works, but until they have some sort of visual rating, it’s hard for them to really understand.”

Hypothesis Validation

Given the pilot study's limited scope, user interviews served as the primary validation method. Consequently, hypothesis statements did not incorporate specific success signals or metrics.

Users effectively leverage the tool

The total holdings feature is user-friendly

The enhanced tool delivers significant user value

The asset planner maximizes user benefits as the ideal tool location

Improved user experience streamlines daily tasks

The portfolio holdings feature experiences high usage among users

Users prefer the new tool for accessing rates over existing options

The user interface is intuitive, facilitating user comprehension

The enhanced tool eases fee discussions, tackling a common pain point

The tool's functionality is clear and easily understood by users

The output document is clear and logically structured

The allocation mathematical logic is both robust and intuitive to users

Users accurately identify appropriate rates based on program

The first column offers both practicality and benefits to users

The asset planner primarily serves as a data entry tool

Users find the taxonomy system intuitive and easy to navigate

DEFINE

Problem & Goal Statements

Following the presentation of findings reports to stakeholders, I formulated problem and goal statements based on the core insights.

Problem Statement

Financial advisors and branch managers seek a simple and efficient solution to propose flexible holdings plans to their clients. They desire a clear interface that minimizes confusion, simplifies calculations, and reduces unnecessary clicks and pop-ups, ensuring an efficient and easy-to-navigate experience for both advisors and clients.

Goal Statement

Provide rapid interface updates to facilitate seamless and swift completion of holdings plans, enhancing flexibility, and minimizing friction and cognitive load. Additionally, effectiveness will be assessed through adoption rate analysis, A/B usability testing, and qualitative feedback.

DEFINE

User Personas

Gallery Left Navigation ArrowGallery Right Navigation Arrow

Interview findings confirmed the target audience, leading to the creation of two user personas outlining the needs of our customer base.

Persona user photo

Well, I think it's just a lot of information to look at, visually... it just gets clunky and opens up for confusion.

Joe

SENIOR FINANCIAL ADVISOR

AGE

59

STATUS

MARRIED

LOCATION

DENVER, CO

EDUCATION

MASTERS

BIO

Joe is engineer-turned-advisor, who yearns to transcend data analysis and delve deeper into meaningful client relationships. This $200M+ branch reflects his desire for personalized wealth management, where data serves as a tool, not a barrier; championing human connection and storytelling to confidently navigate client financial journeys.

PAIN POINTS

• Too many clicks, busy screens • Too many details, doesn’t want client asking unuseful questions • Manually calculating estimates • Navigating back and forth 3 pages to create different options

GOALS

• Limit what clients sees to steer the conversation productively • Reduce clicks/pop-ups • Motivate clients to consolidate funds • Story and context over details

GOALS

Introvert
Extrovert
Introvert vs Extrovented Bar
Analytical
Creative
Analytical vs Creative bar
Loyal
Fickle
Loyal vs Fickle Bar
Passive
Active
Passive vs Active bar

FAVORITE BRANDS

Favorite brands bar
Persona user photo

Transparency is the whole direction this industry is growing and you know we want to be ahead of it, right?

Celia

BRANCH MANAGER

AGE

34

STATUS

SINGLE

LOCATION

RALEIGH, NC

EDUCATION

BACHELORS

BIO

Branch Manager Celia, leads a team managing $60M+ in assets. Focused on client trust, her branch balances disclosure and clarity, delivering valuable insights without overwhelming complexity. Her personalized approach anticipates client demands, ensuring bespoke service for each investor.

PAIN POINTS

• Inability to split allocation into multiple accounts • Managing billing when discounting clients • Avoid discounting to prevent cost-sharing among clients

GOALS

• Allocate multiple accounts • Radical transparency/accuracy • Show clients both dollar and percent amounts • Have a visual she can use to facilitate client conversations

GOALS

Introvert
Extrovert
Introvert vs Extrovented Bar
Analytical
Creative
Analytical vs Creative bar
Loyal
Fickle
Loyal vs Fickle Bar
Passive
Active
Passive vs Active bar

FAVORITE BRANDS

Favorite brands bar

DEFINE

Empathy Map

Following user research and analysis, user attitudes and behaviors were identified to gain insights into their needs.

Says

• If you're giving clients all this information you're going to lose them
• I’ll usually tell them the highest amount it could be, it could be less than that
• I like the simplicity of it, the potential savings is nice as well
• I just want to articulate that to them as accurately as possible [the rates], right up front
• We never had a way of showing visually the aggregate the reduction in rates
• I want a quicker, more accessible area of the tool

Thinks

• It's a lot of information to look at visually
• It wasn't too big of a change, none of that seemed too foreign or anything like that
• Until they have some sort of visual rating, hard for them to really understand
• This gives me like another arrow in the quiver of why consolidating would be beneficial to clients
• It's more accurate of their exact expenses
• It'll just help the conversation be a little smoother
• The easier I have access without having to go into the system and click a bunch, the better

Does

• I try not to get into too much detail other than it is a tiered schedule
• I verbalize it, but also have the visual, if they can see it, it helps to cement concept
• I don't discount. It's about the last thing I do
• In the past we had to manually calculate things and couldn't show anyone
• I don't think I really even have the conversation right now about bringing additional assets
• I really wouldn't want to do this on the fly with the client watching this

Feels

• It feels like a little too much information
• The biggest thing is the ability to show them the value of investing more with us
• There's always so many clicks... minimize clicks and minimize pop ups to the largest degree
• I didn't like that previously we only showed the annual number
• I'm comfortable. I don't switch back to the old version, I'm comfortable using it
• I feel like this gives way more information than what we had, definitely an improvement

IDEATE

How Might We

After identifying design challenges through user research, I transformed these statements into aspirational “How Might We” questions to explore innovative ideas and solutions.

HOW MIGHT WE

simplify visual information presentation?

HOW MIGHT WE

clarify the purpose of the portfolio allocation?

HOW MIGHT WE

enable users to view rates for all accounts?

HOW MIGHT WE

improve table headers for clearer data distinctions

HOW MIGHT WE

minimize the number of pages in documents?

HOW MIGHT WE

ensure that the existing portfolio allocation feature is intuitive?

HOW MIGHT WE

enable users to apply discounts to individual columns?

IDEATE

Co-creation with Financial Advisors

In response to user research uncovering significant challenges with the portfolio allocations feature, we reconvened three financial advisors for individual co-creation sessions. These sessions aimed to gain a deeper understanding of why users struggled with the feature.

We began by collaboratively exploring the feature's purpose and functionality with the financial advisors. This was followed by an iterative design process where we explored various potential solutions.

One valuable suggestion emerged from the first financial advisor. They recommended adding a clear question: "Are all the assets new to the portfolio?" with corresponding "Yes/No" radio buttons. This initial step would guide users towards the appropriate path within the feature, fostering a better understanding of its purpose. Additionally, based on feedback, we relocated the form to sit alongside the portfolio holdings. This physical proximity would visually reinforce the connection between the two elements.

"Ask that as a yes, no question, and then take you down that path. So like are they any new? Any current, you know, assets being converted, yes, no."

First design iteration: adding radio buttons and updated copy

Following our initial co-creation sessions, we implemented two key changes: [1)]updated the feature's copy for improved clarity and [2] introduced selection options within the design to guide user flow. We then conducted a new session with a different financial advisor (FA) to assess the impact of these modifications.

The revised copy and design elements resulted in a significant improvement in user understanding of the feature's overall purpose and functionality. However, a persistent challenge emerged: users continued to struggle with comprehending the underlying math calculations. In response to this feedback, the FA suggested incorporating a calculator-style display to provide users with a transparent view of the calculations involved.

"You hit the button and it can just bring up the calculator. It's something that pops out says here's what it [the math] is. It shows it to him and then you can close it down and it just totals it up over here."

Second design iteration: adding calculator to display math

Following the implementation of a calculator-style display [3], a user raised concerns regarding the underlying mathematical logic. Specifically, the original calculation methodology focused on determining how much of the planned capital allocation was comprised of existing assets. If the planned allocation exceeded existing assets, the user could enter the full amount. This logic, however, presented usability challenges. Users found it counterintuitive as it implied the ability to add more than the available existing assets.

"So something's like reverse math here. It's like it's taking it away when it really should just be keeping it the same... Because I just, I guess I just don't understand the math, which doesn't make any sense"

In response to user feedback regarding the initial calculation approach [4], we implemented a revised mathematical logic. The new approach focuses on determining how much of the user's existing assets will be allocated towards the proposed plan. This ensures the entered amount cannot exceed the user's current investments. Additionally, an error message now appears if a user attempts to enter a value exceeding the planned assets [4].

Third design iteration: reversing math calculation logic

DESIGN

Phase1 |  Design Iteration

Following co-creation sessions and research analysis, I developed design iterations. Mock-ups were reviewed with accessibility and development teams to ensure feasibility and adherence to accessibility standards. Collaborating with the content strategist, copy was adjusted based on research for clarity. Finally, design prioritization with the product and development teams categorized features as quick wins or requiring further validation through prototypes.

Design improvements

#1 ENHANCED PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS COPY AND DESIGN FOR LOGICAL COHERENCE

Revisions to selection options and content improved the functionality of this area, ensuring logical coherence.

#2 INTEGRATED CALCULATOR TO ENHANCE MATHEMATICAL UNDERSTANDING

The addition of a calculator improved user comprehension of mathematical logic and simplified the interface.

#3 MINIMIZED COGNITIVE LOAD BY STREAMLINING USER INTERFACE

By merging sections into a single entity instead of separate ones, we decreased vertical space and cognitive load.

#4 ENHANCED CLARITY IN HEADERS BY BOLDING TOTAL ALLOCATION

Switching the bolding hierarchy from total holdings to capital allocation provided clarity regarding the basis of rates.

#5 ENHANCED DISCOUNT VISIBILITY AND ADDED COLUMN-SPECIFIC FEATURE

To accommodate the financial advisor's preference for discretion regarding discounts, we introduced an "edit" text for easier spotting of the option. Furthermore, we incorporated functionality to apply discounts to individual columns, enabling advisors to incentivize higher investments discreetly.

#6 REDUCED COGNITIVE LOAD BY CONVERTING DISCLAIMERS TO DROPDOWN

Simplified busy user interface by converting frequently ignored legal disclaimers into a dropdown function, thus reducing cognitive load and vertical space.

EMPATHIZE

Phase2 | Stakeholder UXR Workshop

To enhance the effectiveness of our upcoming research sessions, I led a pre-research workshop with key stakeholders, including product owners, business analysts, technical leads, accessibility specialists, content strategists, and the UX team. This collaborative session realigned everyone on the project's objectives through discussions, enabling us to define and prioritize new research questions and assumptions. Together, we selected the most suitable research methodologies to gather the most valuable insights possible.

EMPATHIZE

Phase2 |  Usability Interviews

When I joined this new product team, I encountered a challenging landscape. Stakeholders were unfamiliar with UX principles, research was undervalued, and clear project objectives were lacking. Faced with low UX maturity, high resistance, and unclear goals, I took initiative to bridge the gap.

Phase 2 Research Objectives

Following the pre-research workshop, we established the following objectives for Phase 2:

  • Gather user feedback on the updated UI and UX to determine if the product is ready for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) general release
  • Evaluate if the enhanced experience empowers users' clients to gain a deeper understanding of both portfolio holding and service type-level rates
  • Conduct an A/B prototype usability test comparing the existing UI and document state against the updated version. This test would also assess the perceived value of potential solutions if the updated design is chosen for implementation

Methodology Selection

To ensure effective data collection for these objectives, I reviewed the high-risk and high-uncertainty assumptions and research questions identified during the workshop. Given the need for mixed data (quantitative and qualitative) and the limited release nature of the product, I determined that continuing with a task-based usability study was optimal. This approach mirrors Phase 1 research, utilizing the Think Aloud method followed by open-ended qualitative questions. The questions will focus on core themes established in the workshop, including: ease of use, Functionality, Perceived Value, Information Architecture (Taxonomy), User Expectations and Future Wishes, Document Testing

Participant Recruitment

We recruited six participants for the study, excluding two subject matter experts who participated in an initial test to refine the discussion guide.

EMPATHIZE

Phase2 |  Affinity Map

Each session was recorded in Zoom, and afterward, I meticulously reviewed individual transcripts, extracting insights to be transferred into Mural for affinity mapping to identify common themes. Below is the refined affinity map.

With many usability issues resolved in portfolio holdings, new themes emerged, primarily focusing on adding new features to support whole-level planning. Previous smaller themes from earlier research gained momentum, including removing the second column, adding a fourth column with total rates, making the tool accessible without entering the planning flow, and adding the ability to save as a PDF. Additionally, we validated that the improved taxonomy now made clear sense to users, that the calculator feature helped users understand the logic behind the math, the ability to spot discounts easily, and improved cognitive load in interface design.

During these sessions, we further validated user behaviors observed in previous sessions and reaffirmed the value proposition behind the tool.

Furthermore, at the conclusion of the interview sessions, we tested new prototypes with users, including A/B comparison testing of the existing and new document. Users expressed a preference for the updated document state as it reduced the number of pages needing to be printed/read and eliminated the need to flip pages back and forth for comparison, especially since they are double-sided printed. This change also allowed clients to more easily compare rates while seeing the benefits of investing more with the firm.

EMPATHIZE

Phase2 |  Key Themes from Research

After synthesizing and affinity mapping the data, I distilled the findings into key themes and recommendations.

Top user needs trends

#1 ELIMINATE SECOND COLUMN

“That's the one thing that to me kind of throws me out. I have had to reread this a couple of times to kind of understand the difference on the three options... so then the first, the first column here, it's useless at that point.”

#2 INCLUDE “TOTAL” RATES COLUMN

“In that probably another column here or like after prior to these or somewhere show the total rates... like probably on the left hand side or somewhere that gives me benchmarks with current versus proposed.”

#3 INCORPORATE NEW FEATURES FOR COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING

“I mean I would be interested to see if it was a little more complex situation and what that might look like, I would love it if we could have maybe add like a total relationship... if there is a way for a branch team to toggle back and forth, maybe account and then relationship and kind of give both.”

#4 ENABLE TOOL ACCESSIBILITY BEYOND PLANNER SYSTEM

“I would like to see this not just a step of planning the proposal, but I'd like to have like a cheat sheet so that when I'm talking to a client about transferring to advisory that I can pull these numbers.”

#5 IMPLEMENT PDF SAVING AND/OR PRINT FUNCTIONALITY

“I would like something for them to take home, especially if it's a client I'm trying to bring new assets over or move them from another firm, it'd be something tangible that they could actually look at... Can we say save and continue? I mean, does it have a print out?”

#6 INCLUDE SAVE BUTTON WITHIN DISCOUNT EDITOR

“When I added the discount in, I expected to see what the fee would change with a 20% discount...A save button or an enter button.”

Trends to keep eye on

#7 INCORPORATE A TOGGLE FOR COLUMN TYPE VISIBILITY MANAGEMENT

“But I would love to see it If we were able to put in a toggle so that we could show them that if they wanted to see it, but we don't have to show them if they're not asking for it, if it's appropriate, then we can flash it. If not, then we don't.”

#8 INTRODUCE A TOGGLE FOR CALCULATOR VISIBILITY MANAGEMENT

“Well, I just like the linear flow of kind of like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom (without calculator). But I like having this (calculator) up here because it would allow the client to see what we're adding in, so maybe give me the option to switch between the two”

#9 EXPAND COMPARISON OPTIONS WITH ADDITIONAL COLUMNS

“I'd like to compare that fee versus the expected discount because of the tiers when they bring in additional money, so I'd like to see if my discount on the fee program is close to them bringing in the additional money as well.”

#10 ENRICH USER EXPERIENCE WITH BRANCH BIO/VALUE PROPOSITION

“Something along the value proposition, if I could click maybe in the bottom to say here is my branches value proposition or here is our biography to kind of tie it back to what the service is that we're doing for the client.”

Document findings

#1 NEW DOCUMENT FACILITATES COMPARING SAVINGS ON INVESTMENTS MORE EFFICIENTLY

“Clients might be able to understand the difference quicker because the numbers are side by side... the benefit of working with us in a larger scale than you currently are, we're saying not only are we helping you manage more of your assets in one place, but on top of that we're also saving you on the fee side”

#2 SAVED PRINTING COSTS AND FRUSTRATION FLIPPING PAGES FOR COMPARISON

“Consolidated is easy to read. I mean, we hit that print button so much prints out. That having one page that are not trying to to flip through to try to find those pages. This would be it would be so much easier to show them -just one page”

#3 USERS SHOW PREFERENCE TOWARDS THE NEW DESIGN AND HEADER.

“Yeah, definitely the second one (condensed design). The second one would be what I would prefer to show clients... But they could also see the breakdown clearly”

#4 ENHANCE THE FIRST PAGE BY ADDING TOTAL FEES FOR QUICK REFERENCE

“I would still be concerned about flipping pages, so putting this up here, just the totals at top of first page would help”

Old design: 4 pages, hard to flip when double-sided, missing calculation info
New design: 2 pages (from 4), easier to compare, clear calculation info in header
Hypothesis Validation

Since this is a small pilot study, user interviews will be our primary method for validating our hypotheses.  Metrics will not be incorporated into the hypothesis statements at this stage.

Users will proficiently utilize the tool, leveraging its features effectively

Majority of users will perceive the calculator as practical and valuable

Streamlined user interface will alleviate cognitive load

Users will features self-explanatory, requiring no further clarification

Revised header hierarchy will enhance clarity regarding the basis of rates

Updated taxonomy will promote ease of comprehension

Introduction of the calculator will facilitate users' grasp of calculation logic

Redesigned portfolio holdings layout will offer clarity and simplicity to users

Condensed document will enable clients and advisors to easily compare rates

Users will prefer condensed documents for their reduced printing needs

Users will favor the enhanced tool over the legacy experience for reviewing rates

Enhanced placement and wording of discounts will improve visibility

DESIGN

Phase2 |  Design Iteration

Following key research findings, I created design iterations through mockups. A review meeting with accessibility and development teams ensured feasibility and adherence to technical and accessibility requirements. Collaborative adjustments were made.

Next, prioritizing with product and development, we categorized designs as quick-follows, backlog items, or requiring further prototype validation based on implementation complexity.

Design improvements

#1 IMPLEMENTED PDF SAVING AND PRINT FUNCTIONALITY

Implemented the ability to print and generate output rates documents without requiring a client signature plan generation. This eliminates unnecessary steps and streamlines the workflow for users

#2 INTRODUCED A TOGGLE FOR CALCULATOR VISIBILITY CONTROL

Feedback indicated a mixed response to the calculator feature. To address this, we implemented user-controlled visibility based on individual preferences. Users can now choose to display or hide the calculator based on their needs.

#3 INTRODUCED TOTAL COLUMN with TOGGLE VISIBILITY CONTROLS

Responding to user feedback, we added a total rates column displaying the current client rates. This allows users to easily compare rates and make informed decisions.

#4 INTRODUCED SECOND COLUMN TOGGLE VISIBILITY CONTROLS

User research revealed a preference for a customizable interface, we implemented the ability to hide or display the second column based on individual user needs

DESIGN

Prototypes

Following the identification of features requiring further validation, I refined the prototype to clearly communicate the intended design and final product behavior. This included adding interactive elements to facilitate a more comprehensive user testing experience.

Prototypes for Comparison (Below):

  • Enhanced experience
  • Original experience
Mobile Prototypes
Enhanced experience

Tap/click once on the screen to view clickable, interactive elements.

Original experience

Tap/click once on the screen to view clickable, interactive elements.

Next Steps

Prioritize High-Impact Features: Before development, we'll focus on validating and refining high-impact features through updated prototypes. This includes:

  • Column Visibility Controls: Users will gain control over hiding or displaying columns via settings.
  • Optional Calculator: User preferences will be met with a toggleable calculator in the settings.

Stakeholder Workshop: To define future research objectives, a workshop will be conducted with stakeholders. Key topics include:

  • Tool Accessibility: Exploring alternative locations outside the planner for tool availability.
  • Standalone Tool Needs: Identifying user requirements if the tool functions independently.
  • Relationship-Level Planning: Investigating user needs for planning rates at a relationship level (vs. account level).
  • Tool Enhancement: Determining additional improvements for the tool.
  • Prototype-Based Validation: Develop and user-test new features validated through prototypes.
  • New User Onboarding: Evaluate the clarity of updated tool sections. Consider adding tooltips or walkthroughs to improve the user experience for new users.
Mobile Prototypes

Let's be friends

Sign-up to be the first to know of new releases, subscriber exclusives, and insider scoop!

It's official, you're in!
Oops! Something went wrong, please try again!
Instagram Social IconLinked Social IconPinterest Social IconFacebook Social Icon