Financial Savings App: Seeing Green

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Timeline

September - December 2021

Role

UX design, UX research

Team

Jake Lueback

Ejeh Okorafor

Bingrui Zong

Tools

Figma, Miro, Adobe Illustrator

The Challenge

How can we help adults from low socio-economic status background gain practical financial skills in order to increase wealth equity?

The Solution

A financial app that encourages users to develop and maintain money-saving habits by visualizing the financial goals they wish to achieve.

📄 Overview

In light of the theme of our HCI Foundations course, sustainability, we have chosen to focus on social sustainability. Specifically, within social sustainability our team has narrowed our interest to issues involving wealth equity. Additionally, our team has decided to partner with Fiserv, a financial services company, to guide and mentor us along the way.

🧐 Problem

Wealth inequality is the worst it has ever been and the gap continues to grow, creating an even larger divide between the rich and poor. Research has shown that higher income inequality contributes to slower or negative economic growth. Therefore, improving the wealth outcomes for those in low SES households actually improves outcomes for everyone.

To begin our data collection process, we conducted academic research through reputable databases to obtain articles from peer-reviewed journals that offered insight into our respective problem space of wealth inequity amongst low socioeconomic status young adults.

As a result, we came up with this problem space:

“We aim to help adults from low socioeconomic status backgrounds gain practical financial skills and knowledge in order to increase wealth equity.”

What we found in our desk research is that people from lower SES (socio-economic status) backgrounds:

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🔍 Research

Survey

We needed to develop a thorough understanding of our target users’ banking status, financial services usage, and expectations for future financial services. Considering the breadth of available financial services and the quantitative data necessary to understand their financial ability and mindset, we decide that survey was a fitting medium. We collaborated with our industry partner, Fiserv, to recruit participants and distribute the survey. In total, we collected 25 responses. Click here to view survey questions and results →

Semi-Structured Interviews

We completed our interview recruitment process by posting a wanted ad on the New York City craigslist. We were able to conduct three total interviews from our target user group. These interviews were conducted through Microsoft Teams and over the phone, depending on what the interviewee preferred. Each interview followed a series of pre-written questions along with potential follow-up questions. In total, each interview lasted between thirty minutes to one hour. Click here to view interview questions →

To analyze interview results, we created an affinity map to extract central themes of the interviews.

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Research Findings

Based on our survey and interview results, we compiled a list of research findings.

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Design Requirements

We then came up with a list of design requirements based on our user research:

  • Functional Requirements

    • The product should support users in their pursuits to meet their financial goals.

    • The product should help users achieve long-term financial stability and growth.

    • The product should utilize visualizations to convey financial information to users.

  • Non-functional Requirements

    • The product should be mobile-based.

    • The product should be transparent about how it operates and affects users.

    • The product should be convenient and simple to use.

    • The product should be respectful of users’ capabilities and knowledge.

    • The product should make users feel safe and provide them encouragement.

🖍 Ideation

We initiated our design process by having each team member write down a potential design idea onto a sticky note. This process continued until we had a randomized pool of twenty-five total design ideas to draw from. We then grouped sticky notes that we think can be merged into one idea together. We ended up with 10 project ideas that fit our design requirements.

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To decide on our top two design ideas to move forward with, each team member was allowed to have three votes to select their top three design ideas. Based on the final vote count, there were two clear top design ideas for which every team member voted: Money Talks and Seeing Green.

Next, collaborating with my teammates, I drew a storyboard for both Money Talks and Seeing Green so that we can get a better idea of which project we want to proceed with. We also analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of each and discussed with Fiserv’s design team. In the end, we decided to go with Seeing Green.

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📱 Prototype

User Flow

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💭 Reflection

The semester was overall very rewarding and we learned so much as a group. If we could do it again, we would definitely start the recruitment process for research participants earlier in the process. As the deadlines of the project were tight, we did not have enough time to conduct user testing on a low or mid-fidelity prototype; we had to create the final prototype once we finished ideation. If we had more time, we would have gone through more iterations. Finally, a key component of the team’s journey this semester was our industry partner, Fiserv. The expertise and support provided to us were extremely helpful. We are thankful to Fiserv and the partners we worked with for their efforts. In all, we are all very proud of the work we produced and I am so proud of my group :)

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