Role: Design Lead, UX/UI Design, Prototyping
Duration: Jan 2020 - Aug 2020
DeliverableBriefDiscoveryDesignOutcomeReflection

Project Vision

Learning to manage your finances is always a tricky task. For individuals who haven't had the chance to learn much about personal finance it can be daunting to try and pick it up as you get older.

Clique Advisor addresses this issue by helping individuals build a personal finance roadmap based on advice from professionals and tailored to their specific financial goals.

My role encompassed design, research, product and marketing. I worked alongside 1 UX Designer, 3 Engineers and the business founder.

Deliverable

Research Notes
Increased new user sign-up 24% from previous quarter
Weekly active users up 39% from previous quarter
Task engagement up 238% from previous quarter

Brief

Clique reached out to me looking for help in understanding why users were struggling to find the advice & information that was being tailed specifically for them. They had received many complaints around the complexity and overall lack of intuitive navigation on the platform and wanted to re-design from the ground up to address these concerns before committing too heavily into their MVP.

These challenges were exacerbated by the lack of responsive behavior and letting accessibility fall to the wayside while building out their initial concept.

Research

We kicked off the project with a series of calls with the project owner & development team to help us understand how they had arrived at the current iteration of Clique Advisor. Our biggest takeaway from these meetings was that the team had approached problems by asking the question "what would I want" and often missed thinking about what would be best for their users.

In addition to this, the team hadn't collaborated with a designer before and based the majority of design decisions off different products they liked which created conflicting design styles across the platform.

To address these concerns, we conducted a design & usability audit of Clique Advisor and then put those notes aside to see if our assumptions would align with the learning that came from speaking with active users.

User Interviews

We wanted to speak with current Clique users and because of their varying locations across Canada we settled on remote video interviews. We conducted 9 interviews with users across a large spectrum of financial literacy to understand their frustrations, pain points and the things they love about Clique.

In addition to these interviews we sent out a follow-up questionnaire that checked in on how they felt about the changes we had implemented a few months after the initial interviews.

The following are some of the key takeaways from speaking with users.

Research Notes

From these interviews we found that our users shared a few key problems that lined up with the issues we'd heard from speaking with the product team.

Clarity of information was our first major challenge. We heard from multiple users that the presented information was too complex and used terminology outside of the average persons financial vocabulary. This advice was also being presented in large paragraphs that made it challenging to pull tasks & specific goals out of it.

Onboarding new users was another frequent complaint. It took between 5-20 minutes and it failed to provide a clear picture of the users goals even after completion.

Contributing to both of these challenges was the navigation & application structure. Every Clique user, both accountants and individuals, were unsure of how to complete simple objectives such as changing the status of a task. This was due to those interactions being buried or hidden within unnecessary navigation structures or settings panels.

Research Notes

Context of Use

Alongside the general feedback. we wanted to learn how and where people are using Clique. The context of use would help inform the use cases that we could tackle first and give us more clarity around the situations that people are in when they're thinking about personal finance.

We found that our interviewees fell into two primary types of use patterns.

  • People with more personal finance experience, who kept budgets or were frequently checking their accounts strongly preferred to use laptops or desktop computers with space to have multiple tabs & items open at once.
  • Younger users and people with less financial experience often relied entirely on their mobile devices for checking banking, sending money and managing their personal finances.

These two primary groups showed us the importance of having an application that was not only responsive but build with mobile behaviors in mind. One of the clients primary goals was to expand into younger demographics and mobile is a strong contributor for growth in that area.

Wireframes

I built out rough wireframes to get a better understanding of the content on each page and the feature set that was feasible for the MVP. I reviewed all these features with the development team and identified which were necessary, stretch goals and completely unnecessary.

Alongside the wireframes we created a sitemap that clearly defined the connections and IA of Clique. This gave us a much better understanding of the existing navigation issues and we simplified it down to a streamlined journey.

Research Notes

Iterative Testing

We transitioned from wireframes to a high fidelity interactive Figma prototype for user testing with three of our previous interviewees. Using a Figma prototype allowed us to share the link with remote testers, change permissions and hide it once the testing was done to maintain confidentiality.

The goal of these testing sessions was to validate our solutions for the primary challenges called out in our initial interviews & research. These were improved navigation / IA, clearer presentation of information and a streamlined onboarding process.

Research Notes

The feedback was overall quite positive but we still had a lot of room for improvement in the way we were presenting financial advice. Our users wanted multiple avenues of learning for advice and having explainer videos or audio recordings was an item requested by multiple testers.

With this feedback in mind we broke out each piece of advice into multiple stages for easier reading and comprehension. The stages were

  • The what (what it is)
  • The who (who it helps) 
  • The how (how to get started)

Shifting to this more compartmentalized approach meant that the team needed to adjust the copy across every piece of advice. This was a massive ask but they came through and were able to get newly formatted copy in the platform just in time for the beta launch.

Outcome

The finalized high fidelity screens addressed the concerns we had with the original platform and in testing our users were extremely excited to see the changes they'd get to be using in the near future.

Onboarding

Building an intuitive onboarding experience was an especially challenging part of this project for us. Each new user had a ton of financial information that needed to be processed and assigned accordingly.

The original version of onboarding was made up of a single extremely long screen that accountants had to scroll through without the opportunity to come back to it later if something was inputted incorrectly or they didn't have time to finish it.

We tackled these challenges by working with the product team to break up onboarding into a series of steps. Each step saved their progress and had clear guidelines to ensure information was correctly inputted.

Research Notes

Information Clarity

Building on our initial concept we incorporated users feedback and created a advice details page that clearly explained what a task is, why it's beneficial and how to successfully start working on it. We designed the screen with responsive behavior in mind, opening up the possibility for swiping through cards on touch devices and giving users the opportunity to learn through instructor videos.

The advice details page was one of the most complained about parts of the Clique experience and every user that worked through the prototype with this next experience enjoyed the simplicity and straightforward presentation of information.

Research Notes

Navigation & IA

On the clients side, we made getting around the platform as simple as possible by removing the primary nav and giving them all the information within sub tabs of their home page. This is the only screen clients will have access to and we've relegated the complex actions to the advisors side to who are trained on the platforms features.

Creating an intuitive and clean client experience was something that a number of our interview subjects had asked for. Client's didn't need a settings panel or complex analytics screen and trimming that fat let us drive home the important aspects of the platform.

Research Notes

Looking Back

When I first started on this project I knew we would be faced with a tight timeline and being a startup Clique needed to move quickly & efficiently. We struggled a bit initially because it was tough to balance business goals with the limited effort that was available from the engineering team.

This project taught me a lot about how to make trade-off's at the MVP level and how to effectively discuss & prioritize design decisions with clients to arrive at a decision that everyone was happy with.