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UX RESEARCH AND DESIGN
MOBILE APP
COURSE PROJECT

Helping Students Boost           
         their Financial Well-being

OVERVIEW

OVERVIEW

I worked in a team of 5 to explore the financial management behaviors of graduate students with loans/debt and developed a product concept aimed at enhancing their financial well-being.  

Oct 2022 - Dec 2022

3 Months

A team of 5 students

UX Researcher and Designer

Qualitative UX research and analysis

User experience design

DURATION

TEAM

MY ROLE

SKILLS

ABOUT THE CLIENT

Dr. Wayne Phoel, a visiting research engineer at ISR (Institute for System Research) has been providing leadership in evaluating and executing financial technology research and experimentation. He was looking for product concepts based on thorough research to help people make better financial decisions

PROBLEM

Graduate students often struggle with large financial commitments like loans, as they are faced with handling finances independently for the first time. Hence, our client's project question is:
"What kind of financial information are graduating students having loan/debt looking for, and how can we help them make better financial decisions? "

SOLUTION

A university service providing students access to financial advisors for guidance and a reliable community forum.
RESULTS

RESULTS

An university-backed app that helps you find the right financial advisor and community forum tailored to your needs

Asking a few questions to personalize the experience

Customizing recommendations and content based on your needs

Explore advisors

Find your answers in community forum

RESULTS

Key Learnings

I gained an understanding of how diverse approaches to qualitative data analysis can yield insights from various perspectives for the given context.
Various qualitative analysis approaches
I learned how to efficiently collaborate in a team environment while respecting and appreciating each other's viewpoints.
Team Collaboration
LET'S SEE HOW WE DID IT.

PROCESS MODEL

We used contextual design framework to dive deeper into the context 

Contextual framework includes empathizing with users by creating multiple experience models and collaborating with stakeholders for feedback at necessary stages.

One-on-one Interviews 

USER RESEARCH

Interpretation sessions

Affinity diagram

Experience models 

ANALYSIS

Wall walk

Visioning

IDEATION

Wireframing

Design & Prototyping

DESIGN

Led 2 Interviews

Led design work

USER RESEARCH

QUALITATIVE USER RESEARCH

Interviewing 4 graduate students to understand their finance management habits and information seeking behaviour 

We conducted semi-structured interviews with four graduate students, employing the snowball method to identify participants and utilizing a screening survey for selection.

Target Audience

Current graduate students dealing with Loans/Debt for the first time and have a current stream of income.

Research Method

We opted for the semi-structured interview research method, enabling us to engage in natural conversations with participants and adjust discussions for more valuable insights.

Research Questions

How do students currently manage their finances related to loan/debt and what are the challenges they face?

What financial service/assistance is most valuable or important to students and where do they look for trustworthy information and advice?

ANALYSIS

QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS

Analysing interviews by synthesizing an affinity diagram and finding key user needs

Our target users need assistance with managing their finances and learning about different financial matters.

I need ways in which I can interact with reliable people to get the right financial information about my loans and debt

I need alternative resources that aren't just banks to teach me about my loan/debt.

I want a system to assist me in keeping track of my loan/debt and important financial decisions

QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS

Creating personas to create a shared vision of our target users

Our target users are new to various financial products and they seek to improve their financial literacy. However, they often struggle to find the right resources.

AGE:

26 years old, Male

EDUCATIONAL STATUS

Graduate Student

TOM

"I want to learn more about credit cards, but I struggle to understand the company's documentation"

​New to the U.S., international student Tom recently obtained his first credit card. While using a debit card before, he believes credit cards offer more flexibility in the U.S. and wants to begin building his credit score.

Introduction
  • Aims to understand credit card benefits for better payment choices.

  • Seeks ways to enhance his credit score.

Goals
  • Asking people who had similar experiences​

  • Looking for opinions online chatting groups or social media

  • Asking for advice directly from bankers although, he doesn't believe they have his best interests in mind

Information Seeking Behaviour
  • Wishes that the credit card company's terms were clearer and fears unnecessary interest charges.

  • Worries that his lack of understanding about the credit card system may harm his credit scores.

Pain-Points

QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS

Synthesizing a relationship model to understand the influence of external factors

When seeking financial advice, our users prioritize both reliability and personalization, appreciating insights from others' experiences or expertise.

We found out that our participants' financial choices are mostly influenced by outside factors. So, we decided to create a model to understand these relationships better.

Level 1 - Inner circle

I talk to my close friends and family every day and trust their personalized financial advice because they know me well. 

Most Trust

Significant Other
Parents
Close friend group

Level 2 - Professionals, Acquaintances

I seek help from people who aren't close but have expertise or experience. I trust them for specific advice and reach out when needed, asking targeted questions.

Moderate Trust

Bank Representative
Financial Advisor
Real Estate Agents
Aquaintances/seniors from college

Level 3 - Social media, Platforms

I occasionally use social media and apps for financial help as they are accessible. While some communities provide useful advice, I prefer getting information directly from banks, considering the reliability of content on these platforms.

Less Trust

Reddit
Google Search
Third party apps
Youtube
Instagram

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Consolidating the final takeaways for our main research questions

Having key insights to concentrate on during ideation helps the team remain focused on the main problem space.

Our target users want resources and ways to interact with reliable people to get the right financial information about loans/debt

Need for reliable Resources

Our target users value closed ones for their trust and personalization, experts/advisors for their expertise, and online communities for their accessibility and multiple perspectives/experiences.

Value of trust and accessibility

Our target users want a system to help them keep track of their leans/debt and get information about important decisions during the process.

Need a way to keep track

IDEATION

COLLABORATIVE ANALYSIS AND BRAINSTORMING

Organizing collaborative brainstorming sessions to ideate

Wall walk helped our team involve others with the data and brainstorm design/How Might We ideas from different angles. It also pinpointed research gaps and helped us find areas for improvement. We consolidated all the feedback and refined our research analysis and key insights.

The visioning stage was crucial in inspiring everyone to unleash their creativity and imagine a multitude of potential product concepts.

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OPPORTUNITY SPACES

Turning insights into concepts

PROBLEM SPACE  1

While financial advisors are reliable and valuable, they are less accessible.

SOLUTION SPACE 1

Make Financial advisors more accessible.

PROBLEM SPACE  2

Online communities offer accessibility and diverse perspectives from individuals facing similar experiences, but credibility remains a concern.

SOLUTION SPACE 2

Provide access to a credible online community.

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SOLUTION

A university-backed mobile app for financial advisors and a trustworthy community forum.

DESIGN

DESIGN DECISIONS

Most Efficient Platform - Mobile App

We decided to go with mobile app as it's the most accessible to students considering community forum and keeping track of appointments. It serves as an outstanding platform for staying updated on various information without location constraints. The high utilization rates among students make it a preferred choice for communication and engagement.

WIREFRAMING

We sketched out basic wireframes to make the concept clear

We developed wireframes, including their user flow, to establish a final concept that serves as the foundation for our upcoming visual design phase.

DESIGN DIRECTION

Visual Identity

HEADER TEXT

Clash Grotesk

BODY TEXT

General Sans

COLORS

HIGH FIDELITY DESIGNS

Design Solutions

01

On-boarding questions to personalize

Users will be asked a few questions regarding their goals and preferences. We’re not collecting detailed information as we encourage users to have actual conversations with professional financial advisors. These questions are only needed to personalize the content for users.

02

Personalized home page

The home page is personalized based on their goals and preferences. It shows recommended advisors and related forum posts to save the tie for searching the right information.

03

Explore advisors and book/chat

Users can explore advisors by searching or filtering. Advisor profile gives them all the necessary information about the advisor to start a chat or book an appointment.

04

Other Screens

PROTOTYPING

Final Prototype

LET'S CONNECT

Get in touch for opportunities or just to say hi!

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