Financial Literacy Platform for College Students

B2C and B2B platform for helping students make better financial decisions and helping college staff to create and promote financial education courses. This portfolio piece covers the concept development work for the platform module responsible for setting up financial goals and analyzing financial and career choices.

My work: extensive user studies to understand the underlying reasons for bad financial decisions and deep analysis on the opportunities to turn bad decisions into positive financial habits. This project involved conducting intensive research on behavioral economics and financial planning habits.

Methods: quantitative (surveys, analytics data) and qualitative (interviews, behavioral studies) research, field research (behavioral economics, psychological biases, states of psychological habit creation), user persona development, behavior modeling, affinity diagrams, user journey mapping, user flows. 

Process in short: The goal of the project was to gain a good understanding of the obstacles students face when dealing with important financial decisions (student, credit card, car loans, financial paperwork, career assessments, etc) and uncover opportunities for the product to alleviate those obstacles. This project started with the design of the survey to determine user personas - demographics, family situation, financial situation, financial aspirations, current obstacles and financial biases. The survey was paired with extensive research in the field of behavioral sciences to determine common biases related to making negative financial decisions. I worked in tandem with the analyst who created reports based on the survey findings and I studied the field independently as well (I've made part of my research sources public for other researchers to benefit from this study as well)

Research phase was followed by analysis and creation of personas, their needs, goals and obstacles. During this analysis I've also created three primary behavioral models according to the psychological biases - Prochaska states of behavioral change, Present Bias and Financial Bias. As a result I mapped our personas to these behavioral models creating correlations between personas and common biases they have when it comes to money management.

Analysis phase was followed by creation of affinity diagrams where I mapped user needs to potential technology & design solutions that would be able to help users to overcome their biases and start forming healthier relationships with money. This analysis was followed by user flows that defined product sections that would need to be designed in the next ideation phase. 

Top challenges: necessity to dig deeper into behavioral economics to truly understand what makes people make bad financial decisions, what type of approaches have been used successfully to form positive habits and how to apply all this understanding to product interface.

Samples of persona & biases matrix and affinity diagram: