© 2019 by Kemberly Eliscar

LeapFar

Helping You Better Plan for Your Child's Higher Education Expenses

LeapFar is a website concept developed by Intuary, Inc. with the aim of creating a "Parenting Roadmap" feature to allow parents or expecting parents to view and plan for potential expenses.
Challenge
Help Intuary Inc., bring to life their proposed solution, a simple-to-use website for new or expecting parents who want to better select college savings plans
(529 plans) for their children.

OVERVIEW

Solution

Role
 UX Designers with two stakeholders
Details
 Client Project, 3 weeks
Tools Used
Sketch,Illustrator, Invision, Keynote, Pencil & Paper
Problem
How might we help parents of young children or expecting parents  learn 529 pan and select the option that is tailored to their needs?
Users
LeapFar subscribers, Expecting Parents & Existing Parents

How it Works

Being a new parent is difficult and saving for your children’s financial future can be extremely daunting. There are an overwhelming number of options available, but most are often hard for ordinary people to understand and digest.
The solution presented is of a design on a desktop platform that allows the user to calculate and compare different 529 plans that best suits their needs while maintaining a warm and easy to understand interface. The features implemented into the interface is a reflection of all the insights gathered from our research and usability testings. 
Below are some features:
529 Calculator Tool - Step 1
Designing a simple and easy to input form to empower the user with straight forward questions and usability 
529 Calculator Tool - Step 2
Second step of the tool that asks for users goals
529 Calculator Tool- Results Page
Compared plans that were best tailored to users' needs
529s Explained - FAQs
We created a page dedicated to explaining the details of 529s for users who seek further details on the college savings account
Articles
Articles related to 529 plans and news
Articles
A more specific look at the blog content with social channel sharing features and subscription option

High-Level Process

ANALYSIS

User Interviews

Competitive Analysis

Task Analysis

User Reviews Analysis

DEFINE

Persona Creation

Potential User Flows

Information Architecture

LOFI DESIGN

User Flows

Wireframes

Clickable Prototype

USER FEEDBACK

 

Feedback Sessions

Feedback Analysis

HIFI DESIGN

User Flow Refinement

Sketch Mockups

Invision Prototyping

VISUALS

Iconography

Illustrations

Color Palette

UNDERSTANDING THE USER

Research

In order to understand LeapFar's potential customers I conduced research to see where it fit in the market. My main goal for Leap Far’s website was to have users find and compare the best 529 plans tailored to their needs using the on-boarding tool.

User Interview Guide

Asked questions regarding parents financial goals and literacy as well as specific questions relating to 529 plans.

18 User Interviews

Used our interview guide to interview 18 users - 5 provided by the client, the rest from our own various networks.

Feature Analysis

Conducted features analysis of 8 competitors also providing college savings plan advice and 4 comparators with similar business models.

SYNTHESIS

Key User Insights

We successfully validated our client's initial assumptions of how parents were overwhelmed by the college savings process for their children.
56%
of users have a 529 savings plan for their children

Users Wants

  • To pay for as much of their children's higher education as possible
  • 529 savings plan that is uniquely tailored to their financial situation
39%
of users have a poor understanding of 529 plans

Users Needs

  • A singular platform where they can research 529 plans and identify which plan is best for their needs
  • Unbiased and intuitive website that they can trust
39%
of users with 529 plans were gifted them from their relatives or friends

Users Pain Points

  • Overwhelmed by the vast amount of information in the market

  • Financial institutions that try to sell users their products

Methods

Affinity Mapping

Plotted nearly 200 data points, our team grouped our findings into 5 main groups
  1. Demographics
  2. Research Behaviors
  3. Financial Behaviors
  4. Frustrations / Pain Points
  5. Specifically Related to 529 Plans

Persona Creation

Broke the 5 groups down further using "I" statements to better represent our users needs, wants, behaviors, and pain points which led to the creation of our primary and secondary personas.

Journey Mapping

In order to visualize Paula's (our primary persona) journey through discovering, researching, and saving for a 529 plan for her child, I walked through her current journey without LeapFar as well as her possible future journey with LeapFar.

Analyzing competitive landscape

Because information on college savings accounts do exist on other sites, I wanted to scope out the competitive landscape before starting to think about design. I looked at companies that offer 529 plans and some form of comparison tools or calculators.

Competitive Matrix

After analyzing our competitors, I found the need for a financial website that offers both relevant content and tools related to 529 plans - this is where LeapFar has a competitive advantage and can make the difference.

Competitive Feature Analysis

In order to get an idea of which features were common in a financial planning or 529 web tool, I conducted a competitive feature analysis. This allowed me to see which features were common across the board and which ones are unique to certain companies.

Comparative Feature Analysis

In addition to my competitive analysis, I wanted to learn about the features that comparable companies are using. Although these companies do not provide 529 services, they are tailored towards making their traditionally intimidating industries more approachable to younger, new customers.

How Would Our Users Us It?

Task Flow

I created the task flow (below) to visualize the "happy path" users take when finding and using the on-boarding tool from the home screen to get to the 529 results and comparison page. 

User Flow

Similar to the task flow, the user flow includes two other paths, adjacent to our intended path, that could also get to the same endpoint. It includes our primary persona's happy path as User 1 as well as two other user' possible path.

Site Map

Once we had our layout for LeapFar's MVP, we created a site map. This allowed us to diagram every possible place a user could go within the site and the various paths they could take to get there. 
Design Direction
Using a features prioritization matrix and the MoSCoW analysis method, our team determined the main features to include in this minimum viable product (MVP):
  • Explanation of 529 plans
  • On-boarding wizard
  • Calculator/compare tool
  • Share options (via social media and email)
  • Articles
Layout Comparison
I compared the information architecture and layout on a deeper level to better cater information in a non-intimidating and digestible way for the user. 
Prototyping and Iterating
Finally, LeapFar came to life in the design phase when our team began creating screens of what the desktop site could look like. I recruited 6 new users for each round of usability testing to test the functionality and efficacy of our site's features.
Highlights
2
Rounds of sketches in design studio by each team member
1
Round of mid-fi wireframes created by the team and made consistent by me
3
Rounds of hi-fi wireframes that I designed & managed
3
Rounds of usability testing after the mid-fi and 2 hi-fi prototypes
Style Guide
I developed a style guide that met our client's vision of a friendly and modern website that is inviting for users. Our team followed this guide in the creation of our deliverables.
Final Designs
(Latest HiFi Wireframes- Hover over each screen to learn more, click to see it enlarged)
Reflection
I found incredible improvements after each round of usability testing, with 100% success rate. Users took less time to complete each task, primarily the first 2 tasks, which means that our main focus for the site - to find information about 529 plans and discover best tailored plans for them - are becoming more clear for users.​
Users remarked that they found the website to be friendly and welcoming (regarding the look, tone, colors) and found the calculator tool easy to use - all of which was the experience our client envisioned for LeapFar. 
Next Project
Deane Financial