During the last year I woke up very early, I commuted to work by train for the first time in my life and I started my adventure designing digital experiences (UX) in the financial sector.
The one that the PROs call Fin-Tech
As soon as I joined Avaloq I noticed (to my big surprise) the amount (and the quality) of IT products and IT services that a bank has to provide to successfully run its own business in such a competitive environment.
During this first year, as UX Designer at Avaloq, I worked on designing:
- E-Banking Apps, the ones we use, for instance, to send money and/or to pay our bills with our tablet and/or laptop
- Web Apps focused on financial operations ran by bank employees, the ones, for instance, these people use to adjust the mortgage rate
- Web Apps designed for Asset Managers and other Fin-Tech PROs, the ones, for instance, that support these guys while they estimate and monitor an investment
Together with my managers and the other stakeholders, we agreed from the very outset on some UX KPIs:
- To collect and to analyse UX-related good and worst practices observed in the current product design process (eg. qualitative tests with colleagues to evaluate the impact of a specific feature on other products)
- To evangelise the Human Centered Design (HCD) approach keeping in mind the business model of our company (eg explain during the sale speeches our design approach)
- To enhance the way we validate the customer issues/requests (e.g. define a metric to estimate the added value in delivering a custom feature)
My closest ally in the pursuit of such goal was the Avaloq custom framework AFP-JS.
By tapping into the huge potential, in terms of visual communication, of the showcase build with the framework, I managed to:
- Enhance the communication level and the interaction patterns between the people involved in the product delivery
- Reduce the time spent to deliver the prototypes, as well as involve customers from the very first stages of the projects
- Enhance the quality of the internal documentation
- Reduce the effort in maintaining the documentation
- Enhance the UX/UI consistency across the family of products
These approaches enabled the team to focus on:
- Enhancing the communication between business people and developers
- Reducing the friction between the business requirements and the tech feasibility from the early stages of the projects
- Focusing first and foremost on user needs
I successfully enhanced this process, which is inherently sensitive and complex, in trying to:
- Simplify the written and oral communication, thereby avoiding the jargon
- Communicate in an effective way, emphasising the added value of the design vis à vis the business goals
- Support the Minimum Valuable Approach (MVP), evaluating the benefits from the user POV
- Push the use of cooperative design tools, onboarding no-design people in all the design steps. I found out how important this point is to prove the added value of the Design Thinking
- Criticise the design deliverables according to a specific list of topics, trying to focus on the UX and not on the style
What are my most important lessons learnt during this first year as Fin-Tech UX Designer?
- The most important one is the importance of building and maintaining a high level of trust between designers and no design people
- For a successful product delivery, it is key that non-designers perceive, understand and agree on the design thinking added value applied to our product design process
- Finally, it is pivotal to share goals and strategies in terms of UI/UX from the very outset with all the stakeholders and shareholders of the projects