How Starting A Business Made Me A Better UX Designer
Being on top of a high tech career, a millennial and also making sure your financial situation is under control for you is not an easy task to manage. At Deane Financial we know that and do at least some of it for you, with professionalism, high attention to detail, and a pinch of wit.
The identity for Deane Financial needed to show just that to attract smart, multitasking millennials and let them know that there is a better way. To that end, we developed an identity that flows; not in a stereotypical soft way but rather with edge to illustrate structure, development and simplicity with a modern style.
How we got here…
As Co-Founder of Deane Financial, I entered the financial services industry as a financial advisor until I realized that the firms I worked for weren’t serving the clientele that I felt needed me most. I decided to do what any smart, bold, woman who wants to serve would have done: I started my own. Today, my profession has pivoted even further, from a client facing role as a financial planner to UX Designer where my passion lies. As a entrepreneur building a business from the ground up, I quickly realized how all those years of serving as a liaison between big financial institutions and human beings were. How hearing their stories of financial needs, desires, struggles and challenges helped me empathize better with my clients. It made me a better at my job because I could speak to their desires and provide solutions to their challenges and pain points that they weren’t able to identify on their own. This knowledge alone allowed me to build the practice I have today, well so I thought…
Our first big mistake.
Our first big mistake cost us $1,500.00. Now that may not seem like a lot to some, but for two people who just quit their jobs and living off of a fixed budget from savings, this was a huge loss and setback in our launch. The website looked great on desktop but we never considered how it would look and feel on mobile until we started getting feedback from our network of friends, family and old colleagues. The feedback wasn’t bad, but we weren’t converting site visitors into clients and we couldn’t figure out why. In looking a little closer, we realized the majority of site visitors were viewing our site from a mobile device and thats when I had my Aha moment, we hadn’t considered what our site experience was like on mobile ONLY on desktop. When our site loaded on my phone screen I was not impressed at all. The site was too formal and not bright and welcoming, It didn’t reflect who we were nor did it reflect our users. We needed to go back to the drawing board and figure out what the root of the problem was and quickly develop a solution.
How we came up with a solution.
An early misconception we had was believing that because we were millennials looking to service millennials, we fully understood what our clients wanted and what challenges they were facing. We failed to realize that we had experience working with Gen X and Baby Boomers, they were the ones with a minimum of a quarter million dollars in assets to qualify for our services not millennials who were in debt and just starting off in their careers. So although we learned the importance of empathy, we quickly understood we needed to do more homework on our target market (millennials).
This is where UX Design became The Holy Grail…
Workshop Design & Facilitation
Focus: We identified key factors and opportunities to enhance the client journey and on-boarding experience from both the client and Advisor’s point of view.
Purpose: To assess and recommend improvements to the client journey and on-boarding experience through digital capabilities built for Deane Financial.
Significance: Guide the client to strengthen and differentiate the Advisor experience in a way that builds relevance for the brand through an enhanced experience for clients.
So we developed a Persona…
The problem we were trying to solve for at this point was; “How could we convert more website visitors into clients?”
I decided to put our website through Several user testing enabling users to give us feedback on how they felt while going through our site, how they interpreted some of the visuals and content, and had them complete three different tasks to gauge the navigation of the site. Not only were we collecting data that was directly correlated to our niche market, we were also establishing trust with our users by incorporating their feedback into our practice and building around their needs and desires.
Over the course of two months, we iterated on the web design three times and ran usability testing for all versions. We developed two persona types, a primary and secondary, ran heuristic evaluation on our competitors sites and designed for mobile FIRST (because our data told us to)!
We came up with a style guide with colors that express the knowledge, boldness, strength and energy of a millennial in control. Which, is exactly the type of client Deane Financial works with. We brought our new visual identity into all the different marketing pieces, from business card to website, in order to be consistent, professional and build a stronger brand to connect with our audience.
The results have been amazing since we’ve implemented a UX Design thinking process to our branding and operations. Today, we work with Millennials in Tech virtually nationwide and continue collecting feedback from our clients to ensure that their needs are consistently at the forefront of our minds when setting business goals.