Fidelity Investments is well-known for its retirement planning, wealth management, and brokerage services. With a wide range of products, Fidelity constantly strives to improve its services to meet its diverse customers' needs, including the Millennials'.
Through existing market and user research, we learned that Millennials (age 21-35) have trouble saving and planning for their financial futures when handling immediate living expenses are their priority. As a result, the goal of this project was to design a product that will engage existing and potential Millennial customers which will ultimately help them make better financial choices in a long run.
Given Fidelity already has a lot of well-designed products, my team and I decided to design for the experience (i.e. two Alexa skills) to bridge the gap in between existing products and our end-users. I took charge of the overall project management, concept prototyping, visual design, and user testing planning and flow.
User Experience Designer
Engage New Users
This project was given to all User Experience summer interns at Fidelity Investments. I teamed up with a Reseach intern and an Engineer intern to work on this project. To start off the project, I facilitated a mini Design Thinking workshop where we looked at our assumptions, conducted some light user interviews, and made some low-fidelity prototypes to ensure we share the same understanding of the design process. By having this Design Thinking session, my team and I were able to move forward with the shared goals in mind — which were 1) we should interview more users 2) we have to leverage on existing Fidelity products (e.g. Fidelity Go and Fidelity MyMoney) to add more values to the business, and 3) we need to take technical feasibilities into consideration when narrowing down our ideas.
— some of our initial assumptions —
Before going into the field to interview more users, we each did some secondary research on our target users, market analysis, and technology trends. During this time, we agreed that building another website or mobile application will not help us engage our end-users because there are plenty existed in the market; therefore, we decided to look into how emerging technologies could help. In the meantime, I also set up varies meetings with senior researchers in the firm to pick their brains on the research they have done on Millennial customers. Additionally, we also designed a survey that was sent out to 119 users, age 21-35.
— how might we bridge the gap? —
To understand the emotion, motivation, and pain points of our end-users, we decided we need to talk to more real humans! Although I was the designer on the team, neither of my teammates had experience in field research. Due to limited time and budget, I suggested we do Guerilla Interviews around college campuses. Initially, my team was skeptical about my method and did not think strangers would be willing to share their stories with us. I managed to convince them and led the team to Washington Square Park where we successfully interviewed numerous college and post-college young adults who provided honest and useful insights that really helped to shape our project later on.
— photo of me talking to some recent college grads —
Some things we've heard...
"I don't want to sacrifice my personal hobbies or goals in order to become financially stable."
"I'm interested in investing because I want to make some more money, but I don't know how to get started."
"I've already started saving up. I'm not really sure what I could be doing differently."
"I was never really exposed to investing or stocks before, so it's not something that I often think about."
"I don't really have any expenses of my own because I'm not expected to as a college student. My parents pay for necessities for now. But I don't know what's gonna happen once I graduate!"
Synthesis & Strategy
From our initial research to our user interviews, we synthesized our data and learned that Millennials are technologically savvy, easily impressionable, and prioritize their current selves over their future selves. So we moved along to make Personas based on the insights we gathered.
— our primary and secondary personas —
Here are some quantitative data we gathered through our survey that helped us making our design decisions.
50% of Millennials receive their financial information from the Internet
40% of Millennials are most excited about Artificial Intelligence & Voice Interface technologies
The #1 reason for not investing among Millennials is due to not being knowledgeable enough about it
Our focus & Strategy
Coupled with our initial concept and our research results, we decided to focus on building a voice interaction experience that will be part of the digital touch point in the customer journey. We will leverage existing Fidelity products (e.g. Fidelity Go and MyMoney) which are already targeting the Millennial generation. By doing so, we will be able to cut cost and time when it comes to technical development. We also want to focus on tackling the "lack of knowledge" aspect of the problem in our design.
— some post-its from our ideations —
Nothing beats paper prototypes. But how do we design for voice on paper? It was all our first time designing voice interaction. As the designer of the team, I decided to make "short skits" as our first prototype where I designed the content and the flow that allowed us to quickly go outside to test with users. There are two concepts I designed — 1) an interactive skill and 2) a flash-briefing skill.
— front of the paper prototype —
— back of he paper prototype —
Test & Iterate
Lunchtime is the best time to test! We spent 3 lunch sessions walking around the office area to test our concept. Same as guerilla interviews, my team was skeptical about this randomly approaching stranger idea but at the end, we learned so much from this process!
— user testing in session —
Some things we've heard...
"I could definitely see myself finding this useful in the future as I'm getting ready for work in the morning."
"I don't know if I have the patience to listen for 5 minutes."
"I think there are something like this existed already."
All the feedback we received here validated the idea of utilizing emerging technology to engage our end-users. With the remaining time on our project, we then moved on to the next levels of prototyping and rounds and rounds of testings. As the process went on, we're better at designing user intents and error messages. Additionally, we also designed visual fallbacks to complete the user journey.
— prototyping tool —
— actual Alexa skill code —
After many iterations, we presented our two Alexa skills at the end of our internship. Due to NDA, I'm not able to show the final prototype but below is an example of the user journey that our primary persona goes through with one of our Alexa skills.
— user journey + touch points —
This particular project ended as our internship came to an end; however, we have contributed new method of research and prototyping for voice interaction design — which is certainly something Fidelity continues to develop today. During our final presentation, one senior manager asked me how did we decide to go out and do field testing? I told him that "user testing itself is a test, the worst thing that could happen is when someone said no then you continue to test and iterate your approach". I know for sure the value of our project definitely moved the team a step closer to better serve the Millennial generation!
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