Improving Financial Literacy, Together

Empowering millennials to take control of their financial freedom and feel supported while doing so.

Screen Shot 2021-09-30 at 2.09.07 PM.png

Often I see friends on social media promoting products and services they offer outside of working a full-time job. Through conversations with these small business entrepreneurs, the common denominator was acquiring more money to become financially secure.​ Yet, when I dug a little deeper to understand their strategies, what I uncovered sparked the idea for Flourish.​ They were just winging it. A majority of them had no formal business education, mountains of student loan debt to pay off, and varying circumstances that required more money to live comfortably. They spoke of wanting to invest but not knowing where to start, needing to save money for big purchases like their first home, and not being able to openly speak to family about their money out of fear of judgement or jealousy.​ Not so surprising, all of these people are also heavy users of social media. Saying that they typically check social media from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. ​

So it got me thinking...

Problem Statement

Feb – Apr 2021 (8 weeks)

Project Information

UX Designer
Project Manager

Capstone project for M.P.S. in UX Design at MICA


Methodologies Explored

  • User Research

  • Competitive Analysis

  • Affinity Mapping

  • User Personas

  • Feature List

  • User Flow

  • Sketching

  • High-Fidelity Prototype

Feb – Apr 2021 (8 weeks)

How might we leverage social media functionality to improve financial literacy and discussion amongst millennials who actively seek financial freedom?

Play the pitch video for an overview of the project.

Research     >      Discovery      >     Design

Research Goals

Desk Research

What information already exists regarding how millennials manage their money?

User Interviews

  • How do users get the information they need?

  • How effective are those methods?​

  • What are their needs and pain points?

Competitive Analysis

  • What products exist that teach financial literacy?​

  • For projects that teach other topics, what did
    they get right? What are their painpoints?

Research Revealed Millennials Are...

Uninformed

Only 16% of Millennials are financially literate. Having a poor understanding of the economy and the importance of money leads to poor quality of life.

Unaware

Only 19% of those who perceive themselves as having high financial literacy are actually financially literate. Delusional about finances leads to irrational spending and decision-making.

Unprepared

37% of millennials are not able to come up with $2,000 within 30 days in the event of an emergency. Assistance must come from family, friends, loans, or credit cards.

Unhappy

68% of millennials report feeling anxious or stressed about their personal finances. Anxiety and stress often lead to strained relationships and can manifest into physical health concerns.

...and want financial information sources that are easy to:

Access

  • central location for information

  • effective search results

  • no paywalls

Understand

  • information that's void of difficult financial jargon

  • consumable in small amounts

Talk About

  • transparency into others decision-making and successes

  • support when unsure about financial strategies

  • opinions to aid in decision-making

Competitors Have Useful Features

Incentivized learning through short lessons and quizzes. Users swipe through lesson screens on mobile devices and are awarded cryptocurrencies upon completion.

b22ce90b-35ef-4046-99de-b4edb09560de.png

Message Boards to accompany courses on cryptocurrency. Users connect with each other to stay motivated through the courses that span several weeks.

Research     >      Discovery      >     Design

User Persona

Screen Shot 2021-04-14 at 8.15.02 PM.png

A typical Flourish user has a desire to improve their financial circumstances. They may or may not have multiple sources of income, but they do maintain a steady full-time position. Their living circumstances can vary, but is not their ideal situation (e.g., renting, living with parents, roommates). They constantly worry about money, desire to make more money, yet splurge on things or vacations in order to maintain a level of happiness. 

27 | Elementary School Teacher | Small Business Entrepreneur | Substantial Student Loan Debt | Living with Parents

Motivations

  • Growing small business

  • Paying off student loans

  • Moving out of parents home

Goals

  • Scale her small business and leave teaching career

  • Save for down payment on a home

  • Network with dual-careered small business owners

  • Improve time management with business and work

Behaviors

  • Frequently reads finance articles and watches videos

  • DMs other small business owners on social media

  • Avoids making life plans too far into the future because she doesn’t know where to start

Pain Points

  • Doesn't know how to create a budget

  • Struggles to understand financial articles

  • Lack of like-minded friends/associates

User Flow

To illustrate the solution within the prototype, I created two user flows: accessing a lesson within the learn tab, and interacting with others users within the community tab. This flow later determined the screens to sketch and build for the prototype.

Screen Shot 2021-04-14 at 8.36.54 PM.png

Research     >      Discovery      >     Design

Sketches

Screen Shot 2021-04-14 at 8.45.43 PM.png

Prototype Screens

To allow for ease of use, I pulled inspiration from popular social media apps such as Reddit and Instagram to design community features such as message boards, group profiles, and main feeds. I also chose a color palette with purple, green, and blue tones because of their ability to give feelings of hope, prominence, and wealth. 

Screen Shot 2021-04-14 at 8.48.58 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-04-14 at 6.34.28 PM.png

Next Steps for the Project

Reflections