"I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again." — F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Currently reading: Bewilderment // Made for Love // 101 Essays That Will Change Your Life
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Raleigh, NC
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"I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again." — F. Scott Fitzgerald
☀︎☀︎☀︎
Currently reading: Bewilderment // Made for Love // 101 Essays That Will Change Your Life
☀︎☀︎☀︎
Raleigh, NC
☀︎☀︎☀︎
Guideline —

Savers experience research

Background
Up to this point, Guideline had been focused primarily on 401(k)s and building a great experience for employers. We started to shift to focus more on what we called, "the Savers" — the people who were using Guideline to save for retirement via their employer-sponsored 401(k), as well as personal IRAs.

The only problem was that we had a lot of assumptions about how people liked to save, but we didn't have actual data. So another designer and I spent an entire quarter digging into the Savers experience by:
  • leading 18 45-minute user interview calls
  • launching multiple surveys
  • and facilitating three different idea-generating & prioritization workshops
Notes and themes from the financial pro's I interviewed

Notes and themes from the "Financial Amateurs"

The goal
The main goal in conducting this research was to have a large bank of features, improvements, and new ideas to influence future roadmaps. This wasn't just to find out what users liked/disliked about our product. We wanted to learn what people needed to become more educated and confident when it came to their retirement saving strategy.
User interviews
As any UX designer or researcher will tell you, the hardest part about conducting research is getting folks to participate. Luckily, we had the budget to use a tool like UserInterviews.com to select folks from different demographics.

We broke our interviewees into two groups: Financial Amateurs (FA) and Financial Pros (FP). The other designer, Katie, led the calls for the FA group while I took notes, and I led the calls for the FP group while she took notes.

We spoke with Guideline users and non-Guideline users. What I really wanted to find out from the FP group was how they became FPs. I was looking for ways in which Guideline could help take in FA individuals and help them become closer to FPs.

From the 8 FPs I spoke to, I synthesized the notes to create larger themes that were common throughout the interviews. Those themes were:
  • They had an interest in finances/saving
  • They use third party tools—or their own systems—to regularly check that they are on track to achieve their financial goals
  • They work with financial advisors/someone they trust
  • They aren't looking for education on financial institution websites, they look elsewhere. Many have a community they belong to or use for advice
  • They have multiple retirement accounts
  • They look at more information than just their balance
  • They are the financial influence to their friends and family members
Screenshot of one of the old supervisor dashboards

Notes and themes from the "Financial Pros"

Workshops
Now that we knew our users a little better, it was time to generate ideas on how to better serve the two groups. We held three different workshops with Guideline employees to think about the longterm vision, generate practical ideas to achieve said vision, and then prioritize those ideas so we could influence our upcoming roadmaps.

First was the vision workshop.
Screenshot of one of the old supervisor dashboards

Laying out the agenda for the vision workshop

Screenshot of one of the old supervisor dashboards

Various exercises from the workshop covering the FA goals, FP goals, and our brand/company goals

First pass of the in-chat experience

Winning votes from the FP Goal mad lib

The vision workshop helped us align with key stakeholders on the future everyone wanted for Guideline. We asked participants to fill out mad libs for four different areas.
  • Brand Perception: We want our participants to describe Guideline as [1-3 adjectives]
  • FA Goals: Guideline best addresses [FA's most important goals] by [what we should do to help them achieve said goals]
  • Fp Goals: Guideline best addresses [FP's most important goals] by [what we should do to help them achieve said goals]
  • Guideline Differentiators: We are better at [competitive advantage] than our competitors, [list 1-3 competitors].
We then voted on answers. The winners helped me and Katie decide what was most important to focus on going into the next workshop, The Ideation Workshop.
First pass of the dashboard

How Might We's from the Ideation Workshop

This workshop is where we got to let the creative juices flow. We set up How Might We's (HMWs) for each area of focus from the vision workshop. Then we let our attendees (key stakeholders) run wild with ideas on how we might solve each problem. As they wrote their ideas, I gathered similar ideas together and created themes in real time so we could discuss at the end of each section.

So what did we do with all of these ideas? I'm glad you asked. We added them to an idea bank—a database of ideas that we could use for the foreseeable future to improve our products.

But how did we know which ideas would be the best ones to tackle? You're asking great questions here. That brings us to our third and final workshop, The Prioritization Workshop.
Embedding a resource

Our idea bank, ranked.

This workshop only consisted of myself, Katie, our PMs, and our Engineering Lead. We had over 180 ideas, so we each took a range of ideas and individually went through the ranking system. We eventually got our high impact/low effort ideas.

These ideas made it on to our following quarter's roadmap. Some were very small, but had big impacts. For example, we noticed in one of the sessions that our IRA onboarding email was prompting users to add their bank account information so they could make a contribution, but when we directed them to their dashboard, we didn't have a clear CTA on where to complete this task.

So I worked with our engineering team to quickly add a dynamic button to our IRA dashboard. If a user hadn't added a bank account yet, the CTA called them to add one. If they had added a bank account, but it wasn't verified, the CTA called them to verify the account. And if they added a bank account and it was verified, the CTA called them to make a contribution.

This button alone reduced the time from account open to first contribution by 700%.
Embedding a resource

Adding a simple button to our dashboard reduced time to first contribution by over 700%

Summary
These workshops not only produced real improvements to our products, it also produced a bank of over 180 prioritized ideas — an artifact that can live with Guideline product teams well into the future. Ideas that help us achieve the vision we originally set in our first workshop.
"I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again." — F. Scott Fitzgerald
☀︎☀︎☀︎
Currently reading: Bewilderment // Made for Love // 101 Essays That Will Change Your Life
☀︎☀︎☀︎
Raleigh, NC
☀︎☀︎☀︎
"I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again." — F. Scott Fitzgerald
☀︎☀︎☀︎
Currently reading: Bewilderment // Made for Love // 101 Essays That Will Change Your Life
☀︎☀︎☀︎
Raleigh, NC
☀︎☀︎☀︎