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Build Early Money Habits

Build Early Money Habits provides age based, interactive money lessons for children 10 -12 years old (5th and 6th grade). It is a 5 week interactive live course taught online via Zoom where children learn about personal finance. Parents pay a one time fee to enroll the children. The course covers the following topics: Money 101: How we started using money and how it looks in different parts of the world Saving & Budgeting: How you can help your future self Our Economy: Making a lemonade stand Stock Market: How others can help grow a lemonade stand Compound Interest: How money over time can help grow a lemonade stand Entrepreneurship: The basics of starting your own business

Objective

My task was to develop a product that was easy to use an engaging for the core audience (ages 10-12 +/- 1) but also met the expectations of the parents who would be purchasing the service.

Problem Statement

You want the best for your child. Setting them up for success means helping them to navigate the world in lots of different ways, and that includes a healthy understanding of finance. Children who start their financial education early have better outcomes as adults and Build Early Money Habits has a proven record of helping children get there.

Goal

It was necessary to find a way to combine the features of an online education tool with a specific focus on finance.

Team & Role

I was responsible for research, design and the usable prototype build. In addition I was responsible for sourcing and/or generating any necessary graphics and iconography.

Target Audience

The product is aimed at students ages 10-12 who require an introduction to finance, budgeting and economics.

Discovery Phase

This process began by exploring competitors in both the child focused online education space as well as financial products geared towards children. This allowed me to identify key features that were necessary for the product and began the iterative process and style guide development.

Solution

When I first approached the design for this product I started by looking at other financial products currently aimed at children. It seemed logical but after exploring this for a while I realized something didn't feel quite right. Build Early Money Habits is, at its core, an educational tool but one that had to be very carefully calibrated given the subject matter. It needed to be easy for the target age group to engage with, but at the same time not patronizing or“childish”. Through multiple iterations I feel I struck that balance.

Results

The end product is a simple, stylish, easy to navigate design that delivers the curriculum to the core audience in an engaging way. The students taking the course will be able to learn efficiently and their parents will feel confident that their child is using a sophisticated product to teach this crucial subject.

Reflection

During the course of designing this product I was once again reminded that things aren’t always what they first appear to be. In this case, the end result was a hybrid of two existing product categories and this lesson is something I will certainly take into future designs.

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Build Early Money Habits
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School Select
 
School Select

As we know, choosing a child’s school is one of the most difficult decsions a parent will have to make. School Select is the solution to this problem.

Objective

I was invited to build a product that would help parents gather information about potential schools for their child and I aimed to make that product both easy to use as well as comprehensive.

Problem Statement

Choosing the right school for a child is an enormous responsibility, and one that can often cause parents a great deal of concern. Parents need a robust product that allows them to research and compare schools quickly, and take next steps towards applying to a school once they find that right fit.

Goal

Upon conducting comparative research it became clear that while several current products all offered a handful of features, there wasn’t one definitive source that would meet all of a parent's needs. I was able to combine all of the most sought after features into one self contained, easy to navigate product.

Team & Role

I was responsible for research, design and the usable prototype build. In addition I was responsible for sourcing and/or generating any necessary graphics and iconography.

Target Audience

The user base for this product consists of parents (or care-givers) of school age children who are considering sending their child to a private school.

Discovery Phase

Research was conducted by synthesizing data learned from six parent interviews (provided by OurKids) with competitive research on existing products in this space. Beginning with affinity diagrams, my method then moved on to the development of empathy maps, conducting competitive analysis, and eventually led to an understanding of feature prioritization.

Solution

All good design starts with research. What do our users need and why? Once established, the work of creating the functionality of the prototype begins. Information needs to be accessible and easy for users to find. There is a lot of data for users to comb through so making sure they weren’t overwhelmed while still being able to access the information was a priority. From there it's time to consider the aesthetic of the product...it needs to not just be functional but also have visual appeal in order to connect with users. Color combinations were considered and tested for accessibility and readability. The same considerations were given to layout and any other visual elements (imagery and iconography). Through multiple iterations and testing with representative user groups I was able to generate a prototype that made navigation and task completion intuitive on an attractive framework that users found exciting.

Results

A simple, friendly product with easy navigation was what was waiting at the end of this process. The color palette evokes the most classic of school supplies (can I borrow a pencil?) and ties in with the clean logo developed for the brand. Fonts, imagery and iconography all feel cohesive in support of both the usability and overall look of the product.

Reflection

Everything in life is an opportunity to learn and this project was no exception. Through multiple iterations and several rounds of testing I discovered what features were most important to users and streamlined the layout to make the product easy to use.