I worked on this project alone, reporting to a project manager. The client is a Belgian private bank.
The bank has a tool to determine long-term financial goals. Through user research, however, we discovered that clients have a hard time giving concrete answers to questions as “how much income would you like after your pension?”
So the challenge was twofold: 1) make pension planning less abstract for clients. Clients know they should save for their pension, but most of them don’t really realize why. 2) make it easier for advisors to understand and determine clients’ financial goals, and thus be able to sell the right products.
I designed a module that shows people they will encounter a pension gap, and how big their gap is going to be. It was important to make the matter very concrete, that’s why I decided to use a visual metaphor, i.e. a coffee cup.
Showing people their pension gap is a somewhat shocking experience. Therefore, I iterated many versions & relentlessly switched sections around until it told the right story and we had a balanced customer journey map. I also added light-hearted elements to smooth the finger-wagging experience (e.g. the use of conversational tone, interactive forms, …)
Of course, showing only the pension gap would make this module basically a pension calculator. The business objective was to determine long-term financial goals & sell products that help achieve those goals. Therefore, I also needed to provide solutions to clients.
I sat together with the bank’s economists to work out the possibilities. And whaddaya know, financial calculators are very complicated and there are several legal restrictions! So I couldn’t offer any ‘hard’ solutions in the module. Therefore, the end goal was to get people to make an appointment with their advisor to talk about their options.
Not quite satisfied with that, I also wanted to show what these options were and how they could impact their situation. Therefore I added simulators for the bank’s saving plans. If clients already subscribed to some of these plans, they could add them to the calculation. If not, they could simulate how it would impact their pension gap. In a final section I also added an investment simulator.
At any point in the process, clients could download a report with all figures and data.
To validate my prototypes, I naturally wanted to conduct tests with real end-users. The bank’s management was initially not really running warm for the idea. Fortunately, I managed to convince them of the benefit of having clients involved in the exploration phase and was able to administer user tests in local offices with both clients and financial advisors.
Some reactions I noted down then:
“It certainly is confronting, but it instigated me to really do something about it.”
“It is put together really well, I even thought it was kind of fun to do.”
“This is pension saving for dummies, but in a good way.”