Research audit and brand ambassador portal
for a fintech startup.
My Role: User Researcher, UX & Product Designer. My Timeline: 4 weeks, Team Project
Untangle Money is a fintech startup with a mission to provide financial education and planning tools tailored to women. Their platform centres around three main pillars: Tailored advice, interactive dashboards, and money masterclasses. Based in Canada, Untangle Money won People's Choice at their Founder Institute graduation, and two days later they won Top Pitch at Volition Pitch Competition. They’ve also been accepted into Western University's Accelerator for the Fall!
In September 2020, I met with Untangle Money’s CEO, COO, and engineer. Their ask was two-fold:
Conduct a research audit to help us better understand our target demographic and to prioritize the development of product features for our interactive dashboard.
Design a brand ambassador portal to help build a sense of community and shared purpose while creating a more informed and organized system for us to interact with them.
An online survey was sent out to women in Untangle Money’s immediate network from newsletter subscribers, LinkedIn/Facebook/Instagram postings, and their Volition pitch viewers. 90 women responded. The survey consisted of 10 questions around comfort level with personal finances and the importance of developing a financial plan. Interviews were conducted with 4 target users as a follow-up to the survey.
KEY RESEARCH FINDINGS
36% of women say they haven’t been able to find a good tool to manage their personal finances.
44% of women say they need a tool that allows them to build their own custom financial plan.
Not feeling comfortable to have conversations with investment advisors, mortgage brokers, etc., is the common pain point among all respondents & interviewees.
“Coach me” to help manage finances themselves is the common want/need among all respondents & interviewees.
Saving and investing for big purchases, retirement, and paying less taxes are the top three priorities among all respondents & interviewees.
Untangle Money had initially determined their target demographic to be women between 25-35 years old, but based on my research audit we learned that women under 25 years old also have the need to learn to better manage their finances. Other key demographic information includes:
Currently not married and have no children
Pre-mortgage, either living at home with parents or renting their own place
Recently entered the workforce, steady income
New to the Canadian financial market
I plotted a list of possible features to include in Untangle Money's interactive dashboard, so the team could narrow down what’s crucial for delivering an MVP and what could be built upon further down the road. These were the common wants & needs I pulled from the user interviews and survey results.
The research phase of this project was about a week, I was limited in what I could address and the problems I could solve. So, to further help Untangle Money develop new product solutions down the road and spark creative brainstorming among their team, I framed more of their design challenges into How Might We questions for them.
1. How might we balance a personal language that builds trust as well as communicates the importance around the topic of personal finances to young women?
2. How might we provide important information around the topic of saving money tailored to young women without overloading their experience?
Phase 2 - Brand Ambassador Portal
The Untangle Money brand ambassador portal is intended to help build a sense of community and shared purpose among brand ambassadors. It also allows the Untangle Money team to interact with brand ambassadors 1-on-1 to answer questions about finances, track their activities, and provide formal feedback on marketing and product initiatives.
The portal would be accessible via login from Untangle Money’s main website, so it needed to be responsive for desktop and mobile. Currently, Untangle Money is building in different platforms (Wix, Wix portals, Slack, app.untangle.money) which limits their ability to provide a consistent experience.
I started brainstorming with the engineer and COO to figure out the most important features that should be available to brand ambassadors. Once we had a good idea of the features to include I mapped out the general structure of the portal. The first page we started working on was the dashboard view upon signing in. We wanted this view to be a "quick visual" of a brand ambassador's tasks, events, and answers to FAQ’s from members.
FAQ / HELP TOPICS
One of the most important features of the portal is the ability for Brand Ambassadors to ask questions anonymously about their finances. We knew from my research audit that the target demographic feels uncomfortable, embarrassed, and isn't confident speaking with financial experts. Providing a feature so they can ask anonymous questions about their finances, no matter how silly they think it may be, and get the answers they’re seeking is critical to the experience.
We came up with two solutions:
1 A chatbot paired with a FAQ’s widget, so members can see what others are asking, all anonymous of course. We felt if members could see the other questions being asked then this might encourage them to ask more questions of their own.
2 A search/help topic widget that provides answers to money topics based on what the user is inputting into the search field. I included what this experience could look like in my prototype below.
WIREFRAMES & PROTOTYPE
I then began wireframing the different pages and where each feature would live on the dashboard. We decided to go with a floating widget format and left-aligned navigation. We felt this layout works best since the portal is fairly simple and brand ambassadors would be navigating between a few key pages quickly.
View clickable prototype of the main dashboard:
HIGH FIDELITY DESIGN MOCKS
Untangle Money was working with another designer to develop their style guide and logo treatment. When I finished wireframing the portal, their style guide only included a few key colors and fonts, but the team asked if I could design a mock of the dashboard for desktop and mobile so they could see how things could start to look like visually.
I spent 4 weeks working with Untangle Money and it was a great opportunity to see a hungry start-up in action with a very important mission. There are many possibilities for Untangle Money, but I had to be very smart about what we could achieve in a short amount of time to develop an MVP. It was a great lesson in designing for very specific needs for specific users while also thinking about how to eventually monetize the experience and grow market share.