This project was for a cutting-edge Robo-advisor, which leverages digital technology to provide comprehensive financial planning and money management services entirely online. The service is tailored to the needs of those who seek digital guidance and possess moderate levels of complexity in their financial matters, be it saving, spending, or investing towards specific goals like retirement, education, or debt repayment.
According to Grand View Research, the global robo advisory market size was valued at USD 4.13 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.7% from 2022 to 2030.
In 2021, the direct plan-based/goal-based segment emerged as the dominant force in the market, capturing over 68.0% of the market share. This is largely attributed to investors' appreciation of the robo-advisor's robust goal planning, portfolio management and security features. A large financial services client wanted to capitalize on this trend by enhancing its goal planning features in order to future-proof its position in the robo-advisor space.
I worked as part of the Financial Goals team. Our focus was to deliver measurable outcomes to support investors. This included personalizing the goal planning experience, educating investors on factors to consider, and maximizing overall utilization of our goals-based framework.
Our process focused on answering three key questions:
How do we help clients build their financial goals?
How do we help clients evaluate tradeoffs to achieve financial goals?
How do we help clients balance paying off debt, saving and spending?
The team employed a combination of agile and lean UX practices to deliver an intuitive, modern, and digitally-centric experience. Our discovery process included a series of user and stakeholder interviews, as well as competitive analysis to find out what clients mental models were when it came to creating financial goals, what they considered to be goals versus expenses, as well as how they stayed motivated to reach their set goals. Our key objectives were to build an experience that fosters healthy behaviors and improves investor outcomes, which in-turn builds brand loyalty.
In an unmoderated session with 115 participants, we explored the methods they currently employ to save for their goals. Recurring themes surfaced, indicating a preference for strategies such as earmarking funds, using spreadsheets, and, in some instances, leveraging apps. It was noteworthy that non-retirement goals were frequently perceived not as long-term investments but rather as impending, short-term expenses.
Informed by our extensive research, we embarked on a journey to strategize around a dynamic, goals-based investing model. This approach empowered clients to establish goals and contribute to any account, entrusting our sophisticated algorithm with the task of strategic oversight. The algorithm surveyed all assets, formulating a growth-maximizing strategy that would proficiently allocate resources across all goals. The optimal account for each goal was determined by considering factors such as target dates and tax implications. This holistic approach to investment management blended innovation with intelligence, tailoring financial growth paths to suit individual client goals.
For this case study, we’ll hone in on Goal Creation. I worked alongside a UX strategist to define the flow for a user who has financial goals they want to plan and save for before retirement. This could be anything from a down payment on a house or car to funding a child’s tuition.
Design mid to high fidelity interfaces and prototypes.
Collaborate with User Research, Content Strategy and UX Strategy in discovery efforts.
Own implementation of client's design system and collaborate with developers and QA to implement designs to code.
Collaboration across product teams to ensure consistent UI patterns.
Participate in continuous discovery efforts as well as lead and contribute to design critiques.
Upon finalizing the user flow, I proceeded to construct low-fidelity wireframes. These preliminary drafts were circulated among product stakeholders and the development team to garner consensus and elicit feedback on the employed design patterns. This collaborative process ensured a seamless integration of our designs with the prevailing architecture and an alignment with our overarching business objectives.
After the user flows and wireframes were completed, I moved on to creating high fidelity screens using the client's established design system as a guide. I created components that didn’t already exist in the design system making sure they aligned with the overall brand guidelines. I provided different options for each screen as well as creating both web and mobile responsive versions. Subsequently, I worked with the teams UX Researcher to take the high fidelity screens through usability testing. Using feedback from these sessions, I iterated on designs as needed until they were ready to be handed over to the dev team.
Multiple sessions of both live and unmoderated studies were conducted to test the experience in order to determine whether the mobile and desktop designs were understandable, that the contributions suggestions and funding statuses resonated, and the projection chart added value.
We conducted accessibility audits and invited real users for usability testing, allowing us to identify potential barriers and continually refine our application to deliver an inclusive user experience. This attention to detail culminated in an application that was not only aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly but also accessible to the widest possible audience.
Abstract, Sketch, Invision, Figma, Mural, Jira, Confluence, Principle, UXPin
We enabled users to achieve these core actions in their Robo Advisor journey:
Add personal financial goals with their retirement goal to understand their likelihood of financial success.
Evaluate tradeoffs to understand options to achieve financial success.
Replan to stay on track and improve their financial success (evaluate tradeoffs and complete goals).
Our continuous discovery approach provided us the ability to iteratively deliver value while ensuring stability of platform performance. We employed a system of discovery + design to development sprint cycles ingrained with usability studies that ensured overall client satisfaction and utilization of tools.