Case Study— Where design meets user needs!
Yet another fintech case study at RED and I am back in the finance mode again. This time the client was VaultCircle, a one of its kind digital lending investment firm that provides short-term, high-yield small business loans in the form of their new promissory notes. Vault Circle is an affiliate of Lendified Inc — premier online provider of working capital loans to Canadian small businesses
Team: Anton Itkin (UI), Kiersten P. Mosley (UX), Sucheta Mehra (UX)
VaultCircle, was founded to overcome the issues concerning investment market. Even though the concept of investing in a fixed income promissory note existed in the UK and US for long, it is the first time that it will be introduced in the Canadian market through VaultCircle.
We met with Marcel Schroder, Managing Director at VaultCircle for a Kickoff meeting and got to know it was just a concept as of now and hasn’t even been introduced to the marketplace. The opportunity for us was to find a niche marketplace, design a responsive website to install trust, knowledge, acquire new investors and also an investor dashboard to keep track of investments.
Identifying primary audience
From all the data we had, we could now laser filter our primary audience. One-third women are millionaires and 31% are the primary bread winners. A majority of them are immigrants and foreign investors. They are well-educated and well informed. They like to read and enhance their knowledge on evolving investment trends. More so, they are always on a lookout for better investment products to increase cash flows. They are extremely hard-working and do not boast or show around their money — could be your next door neighbour sharing the same life style as yours.
When there’s little or no information known, Google is your friend. Kiersten and me started working on the bare bones of this project with our research about — what is a note, what’s in a promissory note, what are the different asset classes and how this kind of a setup benefits investors. After familiarizing ourselves with the landscape, we jumped on to an intensive domain research with reading case studies, conducting comparative competitive analysis and surveys/interviews.
Conducting surveys was a bit daunting as our target audience had to be very specific — Institutions or Accredited Investors who had a minimum income of $200,000 and/or $5,000,00 in assets. We tried getting in touch with VaultCircle’s list of investors, used focussed groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and Reddit. I even used my husband’s (who is a financial advisor) contact list to get the survey filled out. We received a handful of responses out of which we had only two investors who would potentially qualify as our users. With minimal data from surveys, we shifted our focus again to research. Focus was on comparing user expectations with business goals and striking a balance between both.
We found a huge disparity between user expectations and business offerings. Here’s what our user expects:
The first thing our potential user will do is check the financial services register to see if your firm is authorized and is doing its due diligence to industry regulations. He/she might also check the FCA warning list of firms.
Secondly, if you are new to the industry and looking for your first customer, they are also interested in learning that you are constantly innovating and changing existing products based on their recommendations.
What does their user acquisition model look like? Is it working? Would also be interested to know who else is investing in the same investor note as me?
45% investors agreed that investment opportunities are more attractive if you know of others who have made similar investments
Planning and Design
Next, we quickly moved over to putting things on paper and designing a compelling user interface. I personally took charge of the dashboard while Kiersten worked on the landing page. I compared different dashboards, looked at my own with RBC, even signed up for some platforms using dummy information to get a glimpse of what should be on an investment dashboard and listed all the must-have’s and nice to have features on the dashboard. After a few iterations and first-click testing, here’s what we had for our minimal viable product —
Design and Usability Testing
“If you want a great site, you’ve got to test.” — ― Steve Krug
We directly jumped on to mid fidelity wireframes and realized some A/B testing could be done levearging the existing website for Lendified, which is performing well already. We used first click testing to see how both versions performed in terms of usability and functionality. The new layout we created performed 40% better and had a 20% higher conversion rate than its Lendified counterpart. Apparently, in-depth research showed results!
As we are still in the seeding phase of the business, based on our research and business UX strategy, we have a list of recommendations and considerations for future phases —
Giving the dashboard a unique name that resonates with the brand as well as our user needs can address two needs — Instill trust and credibility and, show VaultCircle’s long-term commitment to the industry.
Financial products by default demand a high level security and it is always more comforting and convincing to know before hand that user information will be 100% confidential. More information and facts about the unique asset — “Lendified Note” will be really helpful in retaining existing investors and also aquiring new ones.
Based on our research, we also suggested the next cities for expansion should be Vancouver and Calgary.
It was a uphill journey from a non-productive, non-responsive two website (majorly content) web page to a mobile responsive website cum landing page with a dashboard, more substance over copy, user-centered design and a brand style that positively impacts overall success of the company. The idea was to mitigate issues bothering investors in the Canadian investment market with the new offering. With reduced design and usability obstacles, investors will now be able to crawl through the website quickly and efficiently.
Click here to walk through the Invision Prototype for the final product.
Overall, the investors will now be able to understand the concept more receptively, will see a positive hype about it on social media and feel confident and more convinced about the company, their offerings and their commitment to continued growth and innovation.