Fintech Equity Product
My team worked with Citi Ventures, our sponsor on a given problem statement and formulated an evidence-based design solution.
I led the design decision-making based on the user flow, style guides, and UI components in order to create a consistent product design within the team. Also, I crafted an overall brand system and conducted interactive prototyping.
Additionally, I conducted secondary research, 10 stakeholder interviews, co-design workshops with four target users, did research synthesis and produced viable design ideas.
Figma, Slack, Miro, Illustrator, After Effect
Free credit building & financial goal planning application
Finana allows users to create personalized financial plans and improve financial literacy by participating in community forums, talking with financial advisors, and taking short financial lessons.
from our sponsor
"How might we (Citi) develop an innovative fintech product that increases racial equity, expands financial inclusion, and empowers people of color?"
Developed our product through the following four phases: Define, Discover, Design, and Deploy
We moved back and forth among the four phases as the design process was not linear. We needed to go back and redefine our project scope while learning more about our given problem statement.
Many low-income people of color use financial services that don't build their credit and cost them more money.
To learn more about the problem space, we took a trip to the Bronx area, to see and experience our target users' living environment. When we explored the neighborhood, we saw a lot of check cashing services that are usually not as present in central Manhattan. These services allow individuals to cash their paycheck without a bank account in exchange for a high fee.
Without access to traditional banking services,
Why does it matter?
Many of our user's long-term financial goals are to own a house, get a better car, or even start a business. All of these goals require a good credit score.
How might we help low-income people of color build or improve their credit scores so that they can plan and make progress towards their long-term financial goals?
Conducted 10 In-Depth Stakeholder Interviews
We conducted six semi-structured interviews with target users and four expert (community expert, banking representatives) interviews to understand how low-income people manage their money, the challenges they face, and how we can help.
To further understand the users’ financial situation and needs, we tried an activity using Likert Scale during the interview.
After the user interviews, we wrote down transcripts immediately and then moved to the empathy map to highlight the key insights.
Why don't low-income people of color use traditional banking services?
Had negative banking experience in their home country
Unable to meet minimum balance requirements
Ecosystem Map to Determine Complicated Relationships between Influential Actors and Users
With help from the financial experts we interviewed, we were able to better understand the complicated relationships between various actors who possess social, financial, informational influences on the user.
Click on the image to enlarge
Co-created four design principles that served as the core values of our design with the help of Qualitas of Life
We talked to an expert in the field, Qualitas of Life. They have provided financial education workshops to the Latinx community for 14 years as a non-profit organization. With their extensive knowledge and experience in the field, we co-created these four design principles that catered to the community’s pain points.
Interview with Qualitas of Life
Four design principles
Brainstormed some potential features to solve the challenges users face based on the four design principles
Potential features are: how to sign up with minimum identification requirements, how to make a personalized plan, how to engage in the online community forum; and how we can provide financial resources.
Click on the image to enlarge
Support multiple languages & minimum identification requirements
When one signs up, one has the ability to access the online community forum and resources without entering personal and banking information.
Assistive tools: Translation, Financial Dictionary, Bookmark
You can get assistive tools to translate, search in a dictionary, and bookmark words or sentences to learn more by pressing with a finger.
User-Centeredness & Cultural Competence
Don't hesitate to ask questions
You can ask any questions related to finance. Your profile is anonymous. Many financial advisors and experts are ready to hear your voice. We also give you tips to receive good answers.
User-Centeredness & Cultural Competence
Receive professional advice from trusted financial advisors & community experts
Build a sense of belonging by sharing financial experiences in our online community and receive professional advice from trusted financial advisors and community experts.
Learn financial jargon in a more digestible way
You can easily figure out difficult financial language through easy examples and related lessons.
Trust & Empowerment
Create a personalized financial plan unique to each user’s situation
Let’s create a personalized financial plan to achieve long-term financial goals. What information do we collect and why? We will show you our transparent data collection policy as well.
Achieve long-term financial success
You can easily track your current financial situation and achieve long term financial success by breaking down goals into actionable steps.
Recommend the best financial advisor and product for you.
We will give you some recommendations with trusted and transparent data based on your financial situation and credit score to help you achieve your goals.
Promised design guidelines to make a consistent product and increase time efficiency within the team.
We only had three weeks to the final pitch after creating the user flow and wireframe together. Although not even a design system for development, we need promised guidelines between designers to design our product consistently and work efficiently within a limited time.
Takeaways & Next Steps
Understand users and define our focus
It took us much time to define our project scope. We needed to consider diverse factors users faced, such as unpredictable income and living situations. However, it was helpful for me to lay out the whole user journey from the user’s current financial standing to where they want to be in the next 5-10 years and see what would be the first step we can help them in the journey.
A new try, co-design workshop
We hosted co-design workshops, and I doubted how much this would help as it was the first time for me. However, I realized that my thinking was wrong. I could understand users' priorities towards the ideas derived from the brainstorming session in co-design workshops and had a chance to get honest and more detailed users' opinions. It would be a great tool to verify assumptions-based solutions for users.
Come up with a new product name
Our product name, Finana, was inspired by one of our users in co-design workshops. However, after the final presentation, we received feedback saying that it might not be appropriate to use a banana to symbolize a product directed towards the African American community. Therefore, even though it's unintentional, it's important not to cause any confusion or misunderstanding.
Special thanks to:
Qualitas of Life
Strategic Design Lead at Citi Ventures
Head of UX Research at Citi Ventures
Melvin Washington II
Racial Equity, Data, and Technology at Citi Ventures
Misty Bell Stiers
VP, Creative Director - Inclusion at Citigroup
First Vice President at Royal Business Bank
Roger Madar, Criswell Lapin, IXD Cohort
2021 Ted Taehyun Lee. All rights reserved.