Brief: Design the microsite that will show customers the new funds we’re introducing

Translation: Help customers understand investing so they feel comfortable with choosing from our range of different investment funds.  


1. Exploration and research  

As we picked this project up, we quickly realised we were fairly research light. our third party had been briefed and had begun work, and we needed to define the problem. We brought the team together, made sure everyone understood the goals, and put together a plan to to make it happen.  

We had our hands on some user group information, some emotional journey maps, but really needed to understand the brief. We understood the basics;  there were a range of new investments being launched we needed to help users compare them Although, we didn’t understand why a microsite was needed to do this. So we went back to the drawing board to Redefine the problem.  

Personas  

We created three basic personas which were based on the user group research to guide our project team throughout the journey.  “I am a ______, who wants to _____ so I can _______.”
Competitor research  

We not only covered other institutions, but looked at other industries involved in education. We used a trello board to house all of this information to ensure it was accessible for the whole project team. This evolved, and we started to identify what we were calling ‘content gaps’.
Observations  

My colleague and I were able to observe some interactions between a Financial Advisor and a user who had current investments and was looking to invest further. This was absolutely invaluable – it allowed us to understand not only the language, the level of understanding, the common misconceptions, and how guidance can be different from advice.    


Stakeholder workshops  

We ran, oh, about 100 stakeholder workshops. From uncovering their specialist knowledge, to helping us all redefine the problem. 
2. Design, design, redesign.  

Here was where the fun started. Our stakeholders had a really clear idea of what they wanted. Our third party were halfway through their design phase when we (the in house Digital Team) were brought into the loop. 

We needed to align this to the redesign of our own site which was happening in parallel to this project.  So we kept everything very rough, paying close attention to the content and potential structure.  


Content design  

Our biggest issue seemed to be that we had a load of information, which users should know before making a decision on investing.  I sat down, rolled up my sleeves, and rewrote the content. We then structured all the pages, made them comparable, and took out the jargon. For every ‘content gap’ we had, I drafted up an explanation. Both a short and long version and if an image, infographic or video was able to explain the principle. The aim of the game was to bring it to life, and give our copywriters really in depth information to polish up.  


Sketches  

We sketched each component, and worked to put them in a coherent flow. We really focussed on making the information appear simple and straightforward, given the research had given us plenty of misconceptions about investing we needed to overcome.   
3. User testing  

Our third party organised three rounds of user testing, and we had helped put together the recruitment briefs based on the research we carried out. We had reached the point of low fidelity prototype, and most of our stakeholders were comfortable with the approach we were taking.  

Initially, we tested 12 participants. We had differing levels of experience and knowledge, but largely we discovered even those who invest, had difficulty with the basics. We had a hunch that telling the products apart was going to be our main issue. We guessed wrong.  

People don’t differentiate saving from investing, and had a hard time with investment concepts. We needed to focus more on our basic concept information, education, breaking the concepts down, and different content types to communicate those concepts.  

We then moved on the designs and put more focus on the educational content. This was proving quite difficult in the face of no copywriting resource, no actual videos or images being sourced yet, so largely we had to work with text based information.  


4. Back to the design  

We took our findings from user testing, the details we had learned from our observations, the content we had refined about our products and took our stakeholders back through it in an effort to convince them we needed budget to really go into detail with the content, maybe look at having some videos and infographics produced where concepts were more easily explained.  


5. The result, is ‘iterative’…  

We weren’t able to get our mobile optimised version in because of the crossover with another project, however we were able to publish the product information, at a simple level, ready for the content improvements and education to layer on top, as and when there became resource available to focus on the area. 

Kind of frustrating, but it gave a good roadmap for future enhancements to the site.  

Being flexible and ensuring that your designs and information can be broken down into component parts was key to being able to change direction and still deliver the basics for launch.  

Here is the finished article;