Fidelity Investments gave me the opportunity to work with their team, BELONG, as an Inclusive User Experience Design Researcher. I focused on developing an inclusive concept for their mobile Cash Management. I worked as the only intern but I've reached out to many others within the Fidelity to acquire feedback and sought mentorship.
I was tasked with a project with the idea of researching how Fidelity Investments could use Inclusive design onto their money-management page. I went out to interview others, build and design a prototype for testing. I then presented my findings and learnings from this project on the day of Fidelity's opening ceremony of BELONG initiative.
Type of Project
There were a lot of fun moments at Fidelity while doing this project. Like working with my manager and to come up with an inclusive concept for Fidelity Investments. However, there were moments where I exceeded more than I anticipated and felt very proud for pursuing more than I anticipated:
- Hosted an Inclusive Design thinking session with the UX Interns from different departments
- Presented during the opening ceremony of Fidelity’s BELONG
- Partook and assisted with the collaboration with Harvard graduate students for an Inclusive Design thinking session
- Networked and sought mentor-ship from different employees at Fidelity Investments
- Written in their internal newsletter for the spotlight intern
The Problem Statement
The current resource on Fidelity.com has the tools for money management, but does not communicate the knowledge needed to make financial decisions for now and the future. This makes it difficult for users to understand their finances and hinders their general awareness to financial opportunities. This summer, ideate(?) a solution to make money management on Fidelity.com more inclusive for all users.
Researching to Learn
Diving face first into the academic journals and articles
When I was assigned this project, I did not know much about financial wellness nor (embarrassingly) finance. Thus, instinctively my initial approach was to snoop around different sources of academic journals and as well as other financial company resources. These are some interesting facts I've learned through my research. Honestly, this was a huge shock for me.
Prudential reports 60% of employees mark financial stress as their one of their top stressors above issues related to jobs, relationships, and health
PWC reports 42% of the people in the survey take out money from their retirement fund to pay off other expenses
56% have less than $10,000 or no retirement savings- Women being even lower than men
Learning from the Interviews
For me it’s easier for me to process the situation by talking to others who are going through the experience. I wanted to learn more about other people's thoughts on their current financial habits. I focused primarily on finding out more about on what they are doing to handling their financials to attain wellness.
What does the phrase: "financial wellness" mean for you?
The interviewees did not struggle explaining what it meant nor the steps to becoming financially well. Rather, there was a trend in lack of action.
Do you use an application to manage your finances?
Majority has tried an application like Clarity Money, Mint, Excel and Acorns. However, these fin-techs were quickly dropped due to the labor of setting-up or just completing forgetting about it.
Do you invest in stocks? Why or Why not?
Most are intimidated or confused to fully commit despite the abundance of available information online. They don't really understand how the decisions made or when to invest.
Understanding the other fin-techs
After the interviews... this got pondering on what are these competitors doing to combat the lack of financial wellness.
This applications sends updates through notifications of your budgets and shows different analytics of how the person's money is spent.
- Very straight on what's being spent from the analytics
- Easy to set-up, just link the bank account
- Benefits mostly those who are financially savvy
- Kind-of useless when you have a consistent payment cycle
This application allows you to set financial goals for whatever the person is trying to budget for. There are many different variations of analytics representing the person's financial habits.
- Everything is customizible. You can move certain payments to certain categories.
- Provides visuals and specific goal buckets
- Its a lot of manual work
- Their language isn't financially friendly
This application does automated investing and invests based on different preset rankings.
- Has resources where they elaborate more on the benefits of investing
- The financial literacy is their strong point, they focus more than just wording.
- Since the investing is automated, it can be vague what is happening
- Some parts of the application becomes vague once it gets too simplified
Researching Fidelity’s current screens
This represents what Fidelity has and what they are working with.
Activity and pressing history shows the user where and when their money is being spent on.
The summary shows the user’s balance details, which includes the user’s investments and cash balance. So if the user’s investment goes up in price by 30 cents, the balance will increase to $195.09.
In the same summary panel, if the user scrolls down they will reach a section called Performance Benchmarks. This part shows the user… to be quite honest, I do not know myself. The first row is related to the amount of return from the user’s investments, but the rest is unclear to me.
My thoughts after the research
The phrase cash-management seemed to be contradicting to what the page is actually for. The cash management was designed primarily for individuals who are already knowledgeable to this sort of thing. Thus, this makes it difficult for Fidelity's customers who are as financially-savvy to get started on financial health. Another thing is that these customers aren't shallow, they know what financial wellness is, but they just struggle with taking initative to start.
The competitors are doing their best to assist others with financial wellness but it seems like its not for everyone. They take the usual route of having visual data but not enough action for these customers. Maybe for those who use Acorn, but Acorn is specifically investing. However, if Fidelity wants to create this application to be both investments and financial wellness.. its significant to have clarity in the action.
The Project Goals
This project will focus on these three areas: call to action, financial literacy and financial management.
Users would be able to track down and visually see the flow of their money.
Calling to action
Not only showing the user where their money is traveling but provide an action for them to start investing with it.
Simplifying the language would make the approach to management easier.
The Project Solution
I wanted to create an inclusive concept that will advocate excluded individuals to start investing with small amounts of money. These smaller actions of investments will likely get these individuals comfortable and understand how to approach investments. In addition, the concept will also include traditional fin-tech graphs to allow the individuals to see their money flow.
For Healthier Spending Habits
Users will be able to compare and view their spending habits throughout the month. The user will be able to select a button that will allow them to start investing.
For a Healthy Financial Future
Individuals will have the opportunity to select a button to locate them to a page that will automate the process of distributing their deposit of money into three categories of needs, wants and savings.
I wanted to make this concept to be inclusive to allow the excluded to participate in investing in their own future with Fidelity Investments.
Engaging myself with in-depth user interviews and qualitative analysis tremendously helped with creating an concept that caters to the user’s needs. Especially when the concept is not exactly working and gives lead way to pivot the concept. This project not only shown me the capability of qualitative analysis but seeking out mentor-ship and feedback when you are the only intern on the team. Being the only intern taught me a lot about my organization skills and about how to seek out others for feedback.
What I learned
I learned that I need to be more initiative about these sort of projects. I felt like I was working slow and wished I did A LOT more. I wasn't too UX-Centric as I wish I was during the wire-framing process. I definitely was sitting too much in the process of research than actually of ideating and prototyping. However, I did learn a lot about how to navigate and reach out to others professionally for assistance and getting information. I think this internship was a success at the end for me and showing me my weak spots and favorite parts of the design process.