Design Assignment Scope:

In this design assignment, I am going to re-imagine the Mint Credit Score experience, by using the information from a customer’s Credit Report, to make actionable recommendations to improve their score.

I will include the use of Mint’s existing tools (e.g., bill tracking and payment, budgets, credit card offers, goals, etc.) as part of my recommendations to make improvements to the customer’s score and increase their monthly engagement with Mint.

Discovery Phase:

When starting a new project, I usually begin with the discovery phase where my goal is to match user needs with business goals.

Defining the Business Goals

Typically I am in close contact with the business stakeholders, project manager or product owner who would give input on the definition of the business problem we need to solve. For this case, Mint has already pre-defined the goals.

Goals:

  1. Re-imagine the Mint Credit Score Experience
  2. Improve a customer’s Credit Score by using Mint’s existing tools
  3. Increase retention (using info from Credit Report to make actionable recommendations)

Conduct User Research:

After defining the business goals, I would then need to identify who the potential users were and understand their needs. Mint provided the following info:

  • Many people are turning to Credit Score services like Mint to better understand what their score is, why it is what it is, and what they should do to improve it.
  • Lack of financial knowledge, poor habits, and life events contribute to poor Credit Scores for tens of millions of Americans.

  • The most common life events that affect people’s credit usage and ability to make payments on time are; a sudden reduction in income, loss of job and illness.

I had some initial information but I still needed to connect the dots with what the real customer’s PAIN was in order to provide value and retention in my proposed solution:

I assumed that if we are targeting people with negitive financial life events (loss of job, loss of income, illness ect) they were experiencing pain financially or going to be feeling it soon (this was their PAIN). These customers were looking for an insight to their current financial situation and options to mitigate risk or remedy an existing issue.
But, I couldn’t just assume I needed to get that validated. So I aimed to put it into a hypothesis.

I found these stats:

These helped quantify that  my assumption was pretty close. I also needed to capture some real user feedback so I crafted up a survey to send to this demographic.

My survey goals were:

  • To capture the usage scenarios – understanding the context of use
  • To capture the user goals and needs – understanding their motivations
  • To capture the user problems – understanding their pain points
  • To capture existing user behaviors – understanding their journey

Here are all of my results and questions: https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-Y922YJ5M/

And based on these and the demographic info I was able to pull together a quick persona of the potential user.

Competitive Analysis:

The persona also included input from existing App Reviews from the top 3 stylist apps I researched in the beginning. I wanted to get real data from actual users of the pain points on existing functionality relating to this process scope.

The top pain points were:

  1. System stability
  2. Communication availability
  3. Poor customer service
  4. Poor quality of product
  5. Price exceeds quality
  6. Auto charge mistakes
  7. Lack of size variety

Research Analysis:

Potential Users are looking to purchase fashion frequently, if the item fits and is offered at a good price. They are not married to an app or online shopping experience as long as the return process is easy and they have a large variety of items. Pricing seems to be a high point, offering items that are on sale or offering point programs. They DO want some validation and assistance with their shopping experience, but value fit & flatter over anything else.

Existing Users know that they are paying a premium for delivery and stylist assistance so, they expect increased customer service. They also, expect a decent level of quality if the items are expensive, or to honor existing preferences setup. Instant access to the stylist and robust options to customize shipments is their highest concern.

Define Phase:

Now that I have a good understanding of the users and their needs, I need to define the design foundation.

Define Structure:

I want to quickly visualize the process of the try-on phase post-delivery.

Define Scope: Feature Map

Based on the research insights, I mapped out the information architecture of the app, and identified some key opportunity areas.

Sizing Assistant: Giving the user a way to take easy measurements or gauge their new fashion against their favorite fits.

Quick Fashion Fix: Allowing the user to get fashion necessities at their fingertips, input the quick fix and get an instant response with a lower price point.

B.Y.O.O. Build Your Own Outfit: Giving the user a set of items (from stylist) to build their own outfit with their style preferences in mind.

Ping Your Stylist: An instant message feature for the user to ping their stylist and get a message back instantly. No more waiting around for a response, and giving user an option to rate their stylist on service and accuracy.

Fashion Budget: Allowing a user to input budget preferences and subscribe to sale alerts on fashion items. Notifying the user when items go on sale or highlighting fashion budget for the month.

Summary:

In summary, I thought a lot about how I would begin to approach an assignment where the goal was to define a phase that isn’t exactly in the beginning of the UX thought process.

I wanted to truly understand whom this app was for and who currently uses apps like this. I needed to know what questions I would ask to which users, and why. I also, wanted to know what the business goals were in getting an optimized try-on process.

So, I started with some quick online validated research and took some assumptions from my experience as a designer. I was pretty close with my assumptions on who the users were and what they wanted. I sent out a quick survey via Facebook to my closest friends both female and male in this demographic.

This helped me develop a persona that I could then use to map out user needs, wants and opportunities for a better experience.

I took these ideas and mapped them to a user journey that would tell a story of my proposed experience. I even gave a quick map of these features so the business and developers can see how these all fit together into a robust application.

Whew! Now, with all this ammunition in hand, I have a solid case to explain to my business stakeholders and development team my proposed solution based on user research in this scenario.

They can poke holes in it, ask me why, ask me how and I’ll have some solid answers to give for my recommendations. I can speak for and about the users, referencing my survey and app reviews.

They can ask me how it all fits together, and I can show them my feature map & the conceptual model of user experience I hope to give. I can even scale back with the items I identified as needs vs. wants.

And finally I can speak about the opportunities; the golden nuggets of information that will help the business succeed in creating not only a usable app, but also a meaningful one.