Syfe – Digital wealth management platform

Leading the vision for a wealth management platform to increase trust and ultimately build the AUM

About

Syfe is a digital wealth manager built for investors who expect more – greater transparency, smarter portfolios, and better investment outcomes. They combine leading investment strategies with cutting-edge technology to help you grow your wealth. And unlike traditional investment management, there are no high fees or hidden costs involved.

Summary

While working as a Product design lead for fin-tech startup, setup by a team with great industry experience, the process of getting products out the door was a set of steps that were unique to the culture and history of the founders.

I was part of this process and used different methods to get design proposals released. This article provides insights into these methods and what was necessary to get designs implemented.

The Story; Why the Product?

The idea came to the founder being industry insider to eliminate middlemen from an industry which was only accessible to a few and to bring the service to everyone.

As the brand was starting out in Singapore we wanted to know whether people understand how Syfe works and calculate their willingness to use the product or talk to someone about it.

The strategy

To stay competitive and stand out among competition, the company needed to display the use of the new technologies. Our approach? A free to try platform, backed by best technologies, along with experienced professionals available for users to understand more.

The product

We wanted to be a solution for people, to help them invest. To bring service to everyone that was till now reserved for a privileged few, who could afford it. The initial thought was to go live with a mobile ready, web application as users were comfortable using such platforms on their desktops. Just to keep a watch users wanted the platform to be responsive,

Business Objective

Onboard new users and get them to invest

UX Objective
  • Make platform persuasive, to encourage users to invest 
  • Build user’s trust in the platform  
  • Users should be able to quickly and easily onboard on the platform  (Automated onboarding process)

The users

To understand how the experience can offer value to future customers, I needed to comprehend what we know and don’t know about the real needs and goals of our users. So, who are they:

Designing for Joel and Juan helped in making informed design decisions like as we always had these users in mind.

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The insights gathered helped identify our next steps:

  • Users felt the onboarding process was too long and too many unnecessary details were being asked
  • Users felt the details felt too technical and they felt as though Syfe was trying to hide information

Requested Features

Through marketing analysis, Product Managers provided a list of requirements of what customers needed or wanted from the product. For designers, these are useful insights into the types of information that the design may need to support.

But, these are not user goals!

The Assumptions — Obtaining User Goals Through Conceptual Models…

After working with stakeholders to learn about the product, its architecture, the logistics, users, and constraints, I put together a Conceptual Model to showcase how the product fits into the users’ requirements and how it helps them to achieve their goals.

The model described components of the platform, user data needs, and the relationship among them to create portfolio and fund their accounts.

Other Benefits. Sharing this conceptual model with the product team helped identify the overlapping of information among many different areas of the product and how we needed to align to have a cohesive experience.

In the end, it provided other designers and developers a framework to look at.

Keeping Joel and Juan in mind, we mapped their behavioral flow. We then created a content map, to give meaning to the defined features, and a site map to organise the pages, information, and navigation of the platform. Understanding their decision making and the tasks they perform allowed us to brainstorm the necessary features and opportunities required for Joel and Juan to successfully navigate through the platform.

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And then it began…

It was time to validate our assumptions with users.

Usability Study #1

Time Frame: About 2 weeks

Learning Goal

  • Validate our assumptions about the structure and feature areas that users will need to create and fund their portfolios
  • Identify critical tasks to understand users’ mental model.
  • Understand what users’ perspectives are about and how the solution will help them achieve their goals as well as meet their expectations.

Method And Participants

30 customers reviewed the product vision, who had experience with investments and were thinking to use a new product in the future at some point.

The Study

We asked our participants what their expectations were in terms of an investment product. What do they seek when they look at investing options? What makes them hesitate from increasing their investments?

Learnings And Findings

Customers validated that the conceptual model met their expectations and aligned with their mental models.

Across the platform, and website, customers provided new critical use cases to be considered while modelling workflow patterns.

We tested our wireframes against key tasks with our Invision prototype. This helped us identify user frustrations we needed to address so we could improve our designs.

Based on the feedback received we then went back to the drawing board to adjust key task flows accordingly.

Ideation

The generation of ideas starts the moment you are on a new project. While you understand more about the problem, you begin connecting the dots, and majority of the time, these dots start on a paper. I say, this phase is the confidence building phase to begin developing the first design ideas.

Study #2 – Analytical Hierarchy Process

Time Frame: About 2 months

To understand which design identity (colours, imagery, fonts) invokes desired emotions for Syfe. For round 2 we decided to use the Analytic hierarchy process (AHP) which is a structured technique for organizing and analyzing complex decisions, based on mathematics and psychology.

Round – 1

Next step – How do we decide on the theme to take to create our website?

We created 3 visual themes. We wanted to test with our users which theme resonates with them. We asked our users to rate the following parameters:

Profitable
Trustworthy
Transparent
Efficient 

These parameters were identified as being crucial for evaluating any financial product. We ask the users “When you consider using a Financial digital product, which parameter is more important to you?”

We got users to compare and rate parameters to better understand the ratio of importance.

Then, we showed them two design identities to compare and rate on each parameter on a scale of 1 to 9.

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Round – 2 

We created 3 visual themes. We asked the users to then rate these themes basis the parameters they rated earlier

Basis of the previous round we came down to 2 designs, we further iterated the 2 new identities.

The result of the survey revealed a tie between the two design identities and we understood that trust was more important than any of the other parameters, even profitability and that cannot be bought.

Design A rated high on Trust

Round – 3 

The merged design from the previous round was then tested against competition platform. Again, we asked the users to rate basis the parameters they rated earlier

Phase 2: Iterate

Organizing and using the data collected to be categorized into scenarios provided insights into flow patterns, their components, and their relations.

The loop – Refining the design

Time Frame: We are always iterating.

Once I updated the design by merging the 2 from previous round, I would request feedback from the team to get new data, and the cycle would repeat until we felt we had a useful input structure that we can test with users to generate new ideas.

The Outcome. The idea to do this was to create ownership of the design across all stakeholders, which in turn provided an opportunity for me to have the authority to make design decisions and earn their trust. The team assumed responsibility for the choices made, reducing the risk of failure in developing a product that customers will not use.

And I leave you with…

  • Post data collection and the knowledge acquisition from the discovery phase, the design aim is to provide the ideal experience which brings the best benefits to the users and at the same time could compete and be innovative in the market.
  • We as designers need to practice detachment. Incorporating gradual constraints may limit our designs. But we shouldn’t expect that our vision will be implemented. We must be prepared to break it and adjust it for multiple releases.
  • We should aim for the team to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to the market trends and what we should offer in the product.
  • Sometimes team members are much more than their designations. Seek these teammates, share your thoughts, discuss. These people can advocate for the best user experience with you, and that could be an advantage for your design proposal at every stage of the design process.