Seeing Green

During my first semester of the Georgia Tech HCI program, I collaborated with my team and our industry sponsor to research and design a mobile application to address wealth inequity for adults of low socioeconomic status.

  • Sponsor
  • Length
  • Team
  • Role
  • Fiserv
  • August - December 2021
  • Ejeh Okorafor, Nathalie Ye, Bingrui Zong
  • Lead UX Designer / Support UX Researcher

Summary

Problem

The rampant wealth inequity experienced by adults of low socioeconomic status in the United States detrimentally limits the financial opportunities they have throughout life. This circumstance presented the opportunity to engage in the process of research and design to best understand and provide for the assets and needs of this vulnerable population.

Solution

Seeing Green is a mobile savings visualization platform that addresses the wealth inequity experienced by adults of low socioeconomic status in the United States. It accomplishes this by promoting long-term financial goals, encouraging beneficial savings habits, and rewarding savings progress with positive encouragement and data visualizations.

Define

Throughout the United States, adults of low socioeconomic status earn less total income and experience regular financial volatility with their earned wages. Many are inhibited from necessary financial knowledge, which further limits their ability to increase their wealth. These unfortunate circumstances leave people in a repeating cycle of financial instability that perpetuates widespread wealth inequity as it decreases overall opportunity in life. Due to these unjust circumstances, my team and I were passionate about using this project's opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the wealth inequity of low socioeconomic status adults to provide more financial opportunity and improve wealth equity.

How might we address widespread wealth inequity faced by adults of low socioeconomic status?

Research

Competitive Analysis

We conducted a competitive analysis of four prominent financial applications that we selected based on the advisement we received from our industry sponsor.

The goal of the competitive analysis was to understand the features, functionalities, and trends of leading financial applications to serve as a foundation from which to develop our next stages of design and research.

The competitive analysis demonstrated the homogeneity of current financial applications and the opportunity to develop a solution that specifically addresses people of low socioeconomic status.

Cash App

Chime

Dave

Robinhood

Task Analysis

We conducted a hierarchical task analysis of payday loans and check cashing services as these are financial services commonly used by people from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

The goal of this task analysis was to understand how people navigate alternative financial services and the potential difficulties that they might encounter in this process.

The findings from the task analysis highlighted the confusing and often predatory nature of alternative financial services that further the current wealth inequities faced by people from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Surveys

To reach our target population of low socioeconomic status adults, we collaborated with Fiserv to distribute an online survey across to members of our target population, which resulted in a total of 25 responses.

The goal of the survey was to understand members of our target population's attitudes and beliefs about financial services as well as assess their financial service usage patterns and preferences.

The surveys provided insight into the common attitudes and beliefs about financial services shared among low socioeconomic status adults and demonstrated their common financial service patterns and preferences.

96%

of respondents hope to amass financial assets to save for the future and improve their lives.

Mobile

is the most commonly used platform to access financial services amongst respondents.

76%

of respondents want to learn more financial knowledge about the services they use.

Interviews

We remotely conducted a total of three semi-structured interviews with adults of low socioeconomic status who we recruited based on their responses to our posting on Craigslist.

The goal of the interviews was to gain in-depth insight into the attitudes, beliefs, and experiences related to financial services amongst members of our target population.

The interviews demonstrated specific attitudes and beliefs about financial services held by members of our target population as well as provided insight into the financial experiences of their day-to-day lives.

Findings

Following the conclusion of our primary and secondary research practices, I led my project team in aggregating disparate information and findings from each individual research method. Through this aggregation process, we distilled our overall research findings into these essential points.

1

Convenience

Adults of low socioeconomic status want their financial services to be convenient.

2

Investment

Adults of low socioeconomic status have limited investments, but understand the power of investing.

3

Knowledge

Adults of low socioeconomic status want easy-to-understand and accessible financial knowledge.

4

Lack of Trust

Adults of low socioeconomic status are not trusting of financial institutions.

5

Mobile Access

Adults of low socioeconomic status overwhelmingly utilize their mobile devices for their financial activities.

6

Quality of Life

Adults of low socioeconomic status work to save for their future to increase their quality of life.

7

Self Awareness

Adults of low socioeconomic status are self-aware of their financial knowledge understanding.

8

Transparency

Adults of low socioeconomic status desire transparency in their financial services.

Design

Requirements

To initiate the design process, I next led my team members in translating our essential research findings into a series of actionable design requirements. These design requirements were the key guiding factors throughout the conception, development, and evaluation of our solution.

Convenient

The design solution should be convenient and simple to use in order to not be obtrusive in their daily financial practices.

Encouraging

The design solution should make users feel safe and provide encouragement as they strive to achieve their financial goals.

Growthful

The solution should help users achieve long-term financial stability and growth as they work towards achieving their financial goals.

Mobile

The solution should be mobile-based so as to best integrate with the current financial interactions that users are used to.

Respectful

The design solution should be respectful of users’ capabilities and knowledge so as to not be condescending towards them.

Supportive

The solution should support users in their pursuits to meet their financial goals, even when they might encounter difficulties..

Transparent

The design solution should be transparent about how it operates and affects users so as to establish trust in its usage in their lives.

Visual

The solution should utilize visualizations to convey financial information to users in order to clearly and easily understand.

Conception

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Heading

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User Flow

After assessing and selecting our design concept, Seeing Green, I next led my team members in establishing the user flow through which our potential users would navigate the application. The user flow was essential to next developing the wireframes, design system, and final prototype.

Wireframes

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Design System

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Prototype

Following the development of our design system, I led my team in applying the established guidelines to our series of wireframes and assigning prototype interactions to develop a mid-to-high fidelity prototype that demonstrated the core functionality of Seeing Green.

Visualization

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Encouragement

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Foresight

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Evaluate

Expert Walkthrough

We conducted four remote expert cognitive walkthroughs with graduate students who had expertise in the fields of human-computer interaction and user-experience design.

The goal of these walkthroughs was to assess our prototype's implementation of its core functionalities in order to develop iterative design recommendations.

The expert cognitive walkthroughs validated our successful implementation of the prototype's core functionality and offered detailed design recommendations to further improve the execution of the prototype.

Future Iteration

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Reflect

Seeing Green serves as a mobile-based savings visualization platform focused on the assets and needs of adults of low socioeconomic status. By promoting long-term financial goals, encouraging beneficial savings habits, and rewarding progress with positive encouragement and data visualizations, the features of this platform work towards establishing financial stability for members of our target population. The establishment of financial stability amongst adults of low socioeconomic status is a vital step towards rectifying wealth inequity and creating financial opportunities for all.

I am proud to have contributed to the development of this solution with the collaboration of my teammates in conjunction with our industry sponsor, Fiserv. It was quite difficult to research and design a solution for a vulnerable and underrepresented community, but I felt that made the work that much more rewarding as it has the potential to enact meaningful change. This project provided me with a sense of purpose in my pursuit of understanding and designing a solution that is vital to the wellbeing of our society.

Jake Luebeck © 2022