In collaboration with Saeko Yasuda, Alexis Weber, and Justina Eng
The following project was a quick, 1-week exercise where each team had to tackle problem in the modern financial space and design a solution for it. Our team brainstormed for a day and identified a potential issue:
How can young adults learn about all the various complex investment options without risking real money?
Identifying the problem
Our users are overwhelmed and intimated to use financial services
As young adults with scant experience in actual investing, we identified key struggles from our own personal experiences around investment strategies:
I am interested in learning about investment products, but there are so many resources and I don’t know where to begin.
I would like to try investing in other products, but I’m scared of losing my own money or making bad choices.
Although there are plenty of passive investment tools out there (Acorns, Betterment, CoinBase, etc.), I want to know exactly how my money is being invested, and what that mechanism looks like (A look under the hood).
Combined with an initial competitive analysis of both educational and actual investment apps/sites, we felt that it would be important to design something that would solve all of the above statements.
The “DuoLingo” of Finance.
We wanted to create an educational app that would be manageable for all young adults. Similarly to the DuoLingo or HighBrow, we wanted to chunk up all the investment products into small 3-5 min. educational segments.
Simple, Click-through Tutorial
Each investment product would consist of small lessons, which would cover the basic elements of the investment product. On the main page, each product displays a risk level, so users can start with lower risk products in the beginning. The stars denote their knowledge level, which would be calculated by the success of their quizzes and simulation games.
At the end of each tutorial, we would have the user review the concepts and answer accordingly. If they get it wrong, the modal would explain to them what they interpreted incorrectly. The user would review realistic screens depicting the product’s performance, which would gradually help them understand more complex financial infographics.
We felt that it was important for this app to also mimic or resemble actual trading applications. Sure, financial knowledge is useful, but actually practicing and exercising that knowledge is what will help young adults retain it. Once the user felt comfortable with the lesson, we would unlock the “Simulations” feature for that specific investment product.
Reinforcing learned concepts through realstic models
As our user research described, “Despite being 8th in my fantasy league, I can admit that it has taught me a lot about understanding real world basketball and the occasional disconnect between players and their actual stat production.” We wanted to introduce gamification in a way that would also keep the user interested in continuing their education through this app.
To satisfy both the fear of risk and to reinforce learned concepts, we designed a few screens to illustrate what it would be like if a user were monitoring their investments.
Show the jargon in practice
The card attached shows a snippet, which covers a lot of basic elements included in any investment app. We tried to show the various breakdown types (time, investment allocation), as well as changes in the value. Additionally, we supplement the display with relevant lessons that could help show the relationships between the various investment instruments.
Link data to actual market movements
We want the user to feel like they can monitor the market without losing any real money. If this app were live, we’d recommend trying to tie real market movements to this game. We anticipate that it would encourage the user to watch for market movements on their own, and to check in with the app frequently.
Link to actual actual investment sites
Once the user feels confident in both the lessons and simulation section of an investment product, we have also considered the option to link them to investment sites so they can start doing it in the real world. However, this would only be available towards the very end, and only after they’ve maintained good standing in the simulations section.
Using HootVest to launch our research.
This was an exciting side project that allowed my team to express themselves more freely, and pushed us to think more about the issues our generation faces. Our plan was to use this prototype as launch pad for testing our hypothesis. Additionally, we would like to test the tutorial and simulation concept with real users so we could validate our concepts.