A Client Project

fINEQUITY

Financial education for formerly incarcerated individuals.


The Problem Area

Over 19,000 people in NY’s prison system are serving at least a ten-year sentence. A person who hasn’t used credit in the past seven years has invisible or stale credit.

If an individual is barred from leasing an apartment, opening a bank account or getting a phone plan, they have difficulty integrating into society.

Client Objective

fINEQUITY came to us looking for a solution to help energize previously incarcerated people to build their credit.

Proposed Challenge

  • Develop mobile first wireframes that provide a joyous experience for existing users.
  • Confirm that the perceived problem space is that “Users don’t use mobile apps consistently and need an enjoyable way to learn and build credit.

The Research

Interviews

6 interviews gave us over 100 data points relating to credit building and financial education.

Synthesis

The data points, using Miro, were organized into categories to identify trends and inform the problem.

The Persona

The data and its synthesis informed the goals, pain points and behaviors of a “typical” user.

Interviews

Collecting a grouping data points enabled me to view users holistically and identify habits, pain points, and goals .

Synthesis

Data points were pulled to inform Insights and the problem that I was charged to solve

The Persona

I assembled the I statements and insights into a Persona. This personified the problem and ensured the User, Damian, was the motivator for all aspects of the Design.

Meet Damian

34, lives in New York City, works at FeDex

Behaviors

  • Driven by tangible goals-a phone, car, apartment.
  • Knows credit is important, but it’s not Damian’s top priority.

Pain Points

  • Doesn’t know where to start to build my credit.
  • Banks and stores reject him due to “bad” credit.
  • Feels like he has little control over his life.

I want to walk into a bank or stores and not have to worry about credit.

Now that I have the chance, I’m going to build a better life for myself and kids.”

“I planning on moving out of my parents and getting an apartment this year.”

The Solution

The Design

The Testing


The Design

The UX design process was a marriage of business and user needs.

Design Constraints

  • One person programming team at fINEQUITY
  • TIME-Two week design sprint
  • Users limited experience with technology
  • The time user have to invest in education
  • User’s literacy levels

3 our of 5 people in US prisons can’t read.

Mid Fidelity Usability Testing

The Objective

5 Users were asked to complete five tasks. Users were provided with a scenario that centered around their goals.

  • Task 1: Set your goals
  • Task 2: Build your credit
  • Task 3: Learn about credit
  • Task 4: Complete credit Simulation
  • Task 5: Pay your loan

The tests uncovered one Major Issue and and a number of Minor Issues.

Reports were created for each task to communicate findings to stakeholders and to make our design team accountable for recommendation implementation. Download the full reports below.

Minor Issue Recommendations

  • Increase delight throughout the educational components to enhance engagement and motivation.
  • Provide onboarding for the digital wallet for both purpose and how to use it.
  • Add labels to goals to minimize errors

Mid-Sprint meeting with fINEQUITY

The Challenge: Balance the business needs and user needs.

I presented the the preliminary research to fINEQUITY to ensure the the mid-fi designs were aligned with their business goals. The following information conveys the outcome of the meeting in regards to three specific features-the credit builder, the calculator and the digital wallet.

FEATURE: Credit Builder

BUSINESS NEEDUSER NEEDOUTCOME
Questioned the workload vs benefit to user. Wanted to remove credit building from site as users can get this from other places.User research showed that individuals want to build their credit, but don’t know where to start. They are looking for tips and tricks based on their own credit score.Relocate Credit Building recommendations into the simulator rather than have a whole feature for it.

FEATURE: The Calculator

BUSINESS NEEDUSER NEEDOUTCOME
Is this feature needed? We don’t see users wanting to use this and we don’t have the man-power to create this.Users were ambivalent about the feature as many are yet to have any loan repayments or interest rates to calculateRemove feature when moving into high fidelity.

FEATURE: Digital Wallet

BUSINESS NEEDUSER NEEDOUTCOME
We have the resources and capacity for the digital wallet to be a credit building product and would use PLAID to link the bank account.Users were apathetic to a digital wallet that is purely an educational tool and will not use it in its current form. We suggest the tool be linked to the user’s bank account where they are given a small “loan” that they repay monthly to build credit.Design a digital wallet that enables loan repayment to build good financial habits and credit.

A Move to High Fidelity

I took command of the user goals and educational modules from mid to high fidelity.

Even though the goals nor the entry assessment were flagged as an issue in mid-fi testing, it was important to clean up the interface and ensure the homepage had onboarding to accommodate the users reduced technical literacy.

Elevate of functionality and Design and Increase Delight

I ensured that every feature under my command considered the user’s tech saviness and literacy skills. Due to my keen interest in what motivates users, I worked on the goals, the curriculum and the home page independently.

  • Highlight Keywords
  • Bulleted lists vs paragraphs of text
  • Clear page headings
  • Visualize information
  • Clear iconography
  • Zero distractions


Next Steps

The high fidelity prototype along with annotations across 89 slides were provided to stakeholders at the handover. I created all annotations to ensure that fINEQUITY had a strong launchpad for implementing our product.

Click here to view the full prototype

The Priority Matrix

A priority matrix was created to visualize the hiearchary of features and their implementation workload.

Create frames for the three major breakpoints.

Ensure every frame is responsive


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