The company required us to sign an NDA, and as such we cannot share all our findings. I will, however, explain the process that we followed to satisfy our client and confirm to them their customers’ needs.
Spaceship is a relatively new Fintech on the financial scene. They successfully launched their first products in Superannuation in 2016 accessed via desktop only and in April 2018 they launched another completely separate product called Spaceship Voyager which is a financial portfolio investment fund accessed only via an app.
the product — spaceship voyager
Spaceship Voyager offers its customers two global investment portfolios, which can be quickly joined and accessed via an app. The two portfolios are Spaceship Index Portfolio and Spaceship Universe Portfolio. The app targets millennials and encourages regular investing with no minimum investment, no entry or exit fees and no fees for investments under $5000.
Our team consisted of 4 UX Design students at Academy Xi. We all had different strengths. Leah Bayndrian with experience in the banking industry in Sydney and London and an uncompromising, questioning mindset, Hilbert Ho as an accomplished Graphic designer with a passion for UI, I have a background in Architecture, client experience and a knowledge of investing, Tracy Wu with a degree in Graphic design and highly skilled at UI.
our clients/stakeholders at spaceship
Julio Castellano — Product Design lead at Spaceship — responsively engaged with us regularly giving us support and feedback throughout the two-week agile period which we separated into 2 one week sprints. He assisted invaluably with the MVP after our first series of user interviews. Clint Humphreys — Product designer at Spaceship — also provided valuable feedback at the standups.
While the process of registering and investing in one of the two portfolios is simple, the feedback from Spaceship customers identified that they would like more information about their overall investment shown in the dashboard which currently has a heavily focused news content. This became our ‘Why’.
the brief from the client
From this problem, we were to identify the key features that the customer desired on the dashboard and design the dashboard so that it included these features, which we usability tested with the customer in sprint 2. We were also encouraged to design and usability test a gamification and rewards page with customers. The word ‘easter eggs’ was used heavily in the first week to describe the emphasis on gamification.
the project framework
The project framework was agile, and we ran a kanban board in conjunction with a trello board. One of my roles was to keep the trello board up to date. I took to this like a duck to water…it felt so natural that I have spent quite a bit of time researching scrum since and have enrolled in a scrum master course after our industry night on Thursday, May 2nd.
I love that scrum wants you to “fail fast and learn fast” “Failure is okay if you are learning from it”.
by Kelley OConnell. Available at: Scrum: Advanced (LinkedIn)
This project framework made me think about Architecture and how the creative design process and outcomes could be vastly improved on big infrastructure projects with an agile and scrum framework before it eventually evolves into a possible waterfall project framework in the construction phase. We operated in one-week sprints because of the short two week time frame of the project, and we were fortunate to have both Julio and Clint contribute enormously to both our stand-ups.
A list of user stories and insights were provided to our team by Spaceship from their previous customer research. Those insights summarised that customers wanted to see their overall performance on the dashboard visually represented in dollar amounts, percentages and graphs. A word ‘milestone’ was in the user stories and without a definition we debated furiously as a team over what this could mean. We then conducted our first round of user interviews and tested the meaning of ‘milestone’ and alternative words as a better fit for the business and for the customers understanding. We also tested images and icons to represent ‘milestones’. We went about testing this research in our first user interviews.
An insight summary in my own words:
“As a Spaceship Portfolio Customer and user of the app…I need a dashboard with x features…so that I can have insights into my investments when I open the app.”
Competitor references and teardowns of the competitors’ apps were provided by the client, which we used in conjunction with our own competitor research. Our research focused on other financial dashboards as well as dashboards and websites that had information summarised in graphs and charts. The research was of interest to me from the perspective of the tech industry disrupting the conservative finance industry. The ‘barrier to entry’ is minimised by an app and an easy sign-up process. The investor did not seem to be asking the traditional questions to invest their hard earned cash. Why…I can only guess? It could be that an app is ‘so easy’ and there is ‘no barrier to entry’. The ease alone is fascinating and deserves a separate research piece. A perfect example of when technology meets the customers’ needs.
The client provided us with a persona which was a millennial. A group discussion ensued into “what is the birth date range of a millennial?” 1981–1996 was the consensus from our online research; however, this would make our customer 23–38 years old and it seemed like the customer needs of a 23-year-old would be very different to the needs of a 38-year-old customer. We liked to question and debate as a group, so this discussion kept going for several days while we worked on our user questions and prototypes for testing for sprint 1.
the process - first sprint
client meeting and agile project framework — kanban and trello
First client meeting with Julio and pre-prepared questions for our client. The questions were essential as we realised we had not fully understood the brief from the documents provided. Despite the documents being detailed and concise. From this meeting, we were given direction to focus on the dashboard design and features and the user stories that the client gave to us. We were also asked to dig deeper and define what ‘milestone’ meant in the context of the client research. The client also gave us the gift of carte blanche on creativity.
client quote below:
“We would like the students to be creative with the output, so they don’t feel locked into references at all just a helper.”
After the meeting, we set up the Kanban board and Trello board. Our ‘backlog’ was written on post its, and we started transferring the tasks into ‘to be done’ and ‘doing’ with our avatars connected to each task.
struggle street — needed client direction
We struggled for direction, needing client help as to which client user stories were the most important for us to focus our time and talent. Our client is super busy, but finally, we secure him for a Wednesday morning meeting. Hurrah!
mvp and ideation — six up one up
Our second client meeting clarified the most important client user stories by MVP. Followed by six up one up ideation with everyone getting a red dot and the client getting two red dots. Once we had identified the ideas to focus on we rapidly set our helm to working up the ideations and then writing our first user interview questions for the first round of interviews booked for Thursday and Friday. Leah and I greatly appreciated the UI talents of Hilbert and Tracy although we also had a go at the wireframes on Sketch and it was not that difficult. Sketch is an intuitive program that with a little practice a lot can be done.
first user testing interviews — client meeting
Our group user tested four people. Hilbert and Leah formed an interviewing partnership and Tracy, and I formed the second group for interviewing and scribing. On Thursday I scribed for Tracy interviewing a millennial customer of spaceship superannuation, not the app. Not ideal as we required users of the app. The validity of the results of this user test was limited.
further user testing — client stand up sprint 1
I conducted an interview Friday morning at Spaceship head office with the head of Customer Relations at Spaceship as my interviewee was homesick. While he was a millennial he was a compromised interviewee as he was an employee of the company and not a user of thier app; however, we did gain some useful insights from the interview such as an alternative word for ‘milestones’.
I encouraged the person I usability tested to sketch their thoughts before we moved onto the next page. I find this very useful when bringing the analysis and affinity mapping together as it appeals to my visual understanding and context. It also gives the interviewee a sense of value opening them up to being even more engaged and relaxing into the interview process.
We hurried back and added our findings to the rest of the clusters forming our affinity map and confirming our hunches before we met with Julio and Clint for our first client stand up in the afternoon. From that client meeting, we had confirmation that we were heading in the right direction. The questioning of the word ‘milestone’ still perplexed us, and our client as we had identified conflicting information from our user interviews and we needed to incubate on this conundrum further.
the process - second sprint
‘milestone’ debate — 6 up one up ideation
The word ‘milestone’ we debated again and Leah came up with an alternative word defining what it may mean, which was ‘rewards’. ‘Rewards’ resonated with all of us and we decided to test this word in the 2nd round of usability testing. We then did’ 6 up one up again around the visual representation of a rewards page. We also ideated with six up one up on the design of the dashboard home page, transact funds page and projection page including the features which we identified as important to the customer in the first sprint of user testing.
wireframe prototypes — usability script for interviews
We distributed the workload for wireframes with each of us taking on the responsibility of a page/pages. Hilbert wire framed the projection page and rewards concept 1, Tracy wire framed rewards concept 2, Leah wire framed the dashboard/home page, and I wireframed the transact funds page. I also wrote up the usability questions which Leah then edited.
The transact funds wireframe I completed for the project including all the features, which we identified in the first phase of user testing. I tried to keep it simple with the most important features at the top. However, this was changed by the group for user testing. Through user testing, we identified that these features did need to be near the top to meet the customers’ needs. It became clear that this is why we test and we need to be open to failing as it opens the door to understanding and confirmation.
Our group usability tested four people. Hilbert and Tracy formed an interviewing partnership and Leah, and I formed the second duo for interviewing and scribing. Leah usability tested a millennial male who used financial apps while I scribed. I then usability tested a millennial female who was a user of financial apps while Leah scribed. Once again I encouraged the person I was usability testing to sketch their thoughts before we moved onto the next page of testing.
likes — wants — confusion
We mapped the results of our 2ndround of user testing clustering the likes, wants and confusion surrounding each page we tested. From that, we identified areas that worked for the customer, and that did not work, or that needed the client to investigate further.
Client stand up sprint 2
We presented our findings to the client. We identified areas that needed further investigation such as rewards and any of the features that were missing or confusing to the users.
The client feedback was invaluable at this meeting as it confirmed we had uncovered similar issues that they were facing. We took this as confirmation of success by the end of the second week of the sprint. I would have loved to have kept going with this project with many more sprints to come.
A quote from our client Julio Castellano at the end of our project.
I thoroughly enjoyed working with Tracy, Christina, Leah and Hilbert who formed the Academy Xi project team to work with us at Spaceship Financial Services during their final project. They proved to us that they were able to take a Product Brief and run it through a solid user research and design process to come up with insights and professional wireframes that solved business and customer needs. They were punctual and professional in their project dynamics and delivery and I believe they will be able to use the skills they have acquired working with us on other projects to produce professional outcomes.
Julio Castellano — Product Design Lead — Spaceship Financial Services
I enjoyed being part of this team. Having client engagement and critiquing throughout the process was rewarding. We worked together through our initial frustrations and paced ourselves, sharing our workload with ease. We gained invaluable experience in UX design through the two-week sprint of the agile project framework, and…we got a T-shirt!!!