Our goal was to improve people’s agency around personal finance to empower them to make decisions that will make them happier and as a result healthier.
Since we were starting from a completely blank slate, we had to first research what exactly the problem was, and the target audience and go through many rounds of prototyping and testing before we landed on our service idea.
People are irrational and behaved uniquely when it comes to managing their money but financial services are designed for rational behaviour and usually one-size-fits-all. We investigated what problems people faced when managing their money and what opportunities existed in the financial services market.
We brainstormed many different concepts and then prototyped them to see if they had any viability among our target audience. Many of them failed but each round of testing helped us understand which features of the service were desirable and fine tune our concepts.
1. Showing people their data and personalising financial advice can trigger behaviour change.
2. Promising wellbeing and happiness to the user by changing their money habits didn’t resonate.
3. People value what experiences and activities they can do with their balance rather than just in money terms.
4. Financial benefit/lifestyle incentives are the main reasons why people use financial services.
Spark is a service that helps you discover your financial personality to align it with your consumption and help you make better financial decisions in order to achieve financial health and wellbeing.
Users take a money personality test to learn about their financial behaviour
Users can connect their bank accounts to get spending and saving recommendations
Users get tailored tips based on their personality profile as well as their spending data
Gamification to reward users for good behaviour
Testing Spark showed that there was real viability to turn into a real service. We won funding from Alpha Health and won a spot at Innovation RCA to build a MVP and start our own business. Spark eventually ended up being Quirk and you can learn more about it here.
How to test a product in creative ways
We used a variety of methods to understand if users actually valued Spark. We ran surveys, tested visual concepts with users, simulated services ourselves, watched people use our product live and ran ads on facebook, snapchat and instagram to see which features and ideas led to the highest conversion.
Starting from scratch several times
A lot of the first ideas we came up with flat out failed with customers, so we had to discard, refine and come up with new ideas to finally land on a service that users could see themselves using.
Thinking about the market and business model
Often in design projects, we don’t have to consider how a service or proposition will cost and if it can be profitable. We had to make sure the service we came up with also was one that users would pay to use.