Cecilia Huster, User Experience Designer

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Breaking down financial data: Investment Scorecards

To help investors understand the funds and equities available to them, Financial Engines provided an Investment Scorecard for each of them. This provided added value in two ways:

This was a side project that I did together with a visual designer. A finance director helped us with the investment aspects. I led the project, wrote the content, performed user research, and, of course, designed the interactions. Because this was a side project, we decided to maximize chances of actually launching something by repackaging the information contained in the existing Scorecard in ways that better served customers and Financial Engines. That worked and our Scorecards went live in 2015.

Prior Art

My first step was to inventory the existing Scorecard and perform user research on it. The existing Scorecard was designed in the 90s. As far as I could tell, no research had been performed then. In fact, some elements were so incomprehensible that even non-financial stakeholders inside the company had trouble understanding them.

Here's a content inventory of the existing Scorecard. The first column shows the information hierarchy in the 90s Scorecard, with 1 being the most important. The second column is my proposed information hierarchy, using the same scale. The Headline and Information columns highlight where the headlines and the content are out of sync. The Notes column is editorial by me. I created this inventory as a basis for discussion when meeting with our financial consultant about the relative prominence of different types of information.

Because this project was all about helping less savvy investors understand their choices, my research focused almost exclusively on comprehension. I conducted several rounds of unfacilitated research through UserTesting.com and Survey Monkey. Here's one of the preview screens from Survey Monkey, asking a comprehension question about the peer ranking element in the 90s Scorecard. I instructed participants on UserTesting.com to talk out loud as they typed. It was very helpful to hear people reason out their answers. We knew from previous research that customers engage quite closely with these pages. So in this particular case, prompting users to look at individual page elements and tell us what they mean is realistic.

Screenshot of old Scorecard

Wireframe of new Scorecard

Screenshot of new Scorecard in Production

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