CASE STUDY
Designing a white-label finance management dashboard for enterprises and independent contractors
The challenge

How might we support finance consultants on their day-to-day activities, simplifying their workflow, and get along with the finance/ insurance legal requirements and enterprise policies?

Phase 1: Research

Research process

01

User Research

Beginning with this challenge we needed to collect as many informations as possible about challenges consultants in the finance and insurance field face daily.
Therefor we initiated a thorough field-research with consultants from diverse backgrounds and working environments.

We spent 1-2 hours interviewing each participant and participated at some very insightful shadowing sessions, where one of our team members acted as a customer asking for an insurance or finance consultation and one of our researchers observed the consultation session.

Watching the preparation, consultation and after-sales support in real-time, we got a deep understanding of the daily activities, workflow and challenges our dashboard should accommodate.

02

Market Research

Getting familiar with the workflow of the participants, we realised there are many different approaches when it comes to finance consulting. Therefor there are diverse toolsets in the market to accommodate the individual needs of consultant's workflow.

To achieve our goal we needed to take into account a variety of tools, so we conducted an extensive market research to familiarise ourselves with the tools, their functionality and their frequency of usage in the consultation life-cycle.

Our objectives during the market research was the deeper understanding of each tool structure, learning curve, input requirements and output, as well as the features and options each tool offers to the consultant and how those accommodate the consultants needs.

03

Stakeholders interviews

Having a good understanding of users' needs and aspirations, their workflow and the toolsets they use to achieve their goals, we initiated a round of stakeholders interviews, with business representatives from finance and insurance enterprises to understand their perspectives regarding the workflow of consultants, their expectations regarding digitalisation and their "intent to buy-in" when it comes to new solutions.

Collecting significant data & insights, we were able to map-out the business goals of the enterprise decision makers as well as the consideration aspects they value, when introducing new tools in their corporation and workflow.

04

Synthesising findings

Collecting all this valuable data and informations, we had the chance to collect a great amount of findings and insights which enabled us to have a great overview over the current situation on the finance consultation field and workflow.

Analysing and synthesising those data, we ended up with a insightful research overview regarding our user's, the tools in market as well as the stakeholders & decision makers of the industry.

EMPATHISING WITH USERS AND STAKEHOLDERS

Diving into details

Finance consultation process(es) & touching points

Collecting the data about the process, we recognised that the consultants use alternative tools and processes to offer the best service possible to their customers. Big differences are mainly found between:

What do our users & stakeholders need?

Our aim is to simplify consultants working environment, and enhance their workflow and day-to-day activities, but what do they & other stakeholders need from the dashboard to give it a try and introduce it into their toolset?

Consultants

The integration with existing tools and processes, the option to add new tools and upgrade the existing ones included, the adaptability to their workflow & style (eg. structured or unstructured consultation), the ability to have a complete clients & contracts overview and to have their provisions and forecasts displayed have been of high importance for independent, agency and enterprise consultants.

Agencies

Controlling, provisions & performance metrics seem to be the top priority for agencies, while the integration of existing tools and processes and the flexibility to add new tools play an equally important role.

Enterprises

Digital transformation, paperless workflow, controlling and provisions were the main concerns of the enterprise representatives in our research. Keeping up with the consultants, their tools, workflow and processes, as well as following their branding and/ or unifying the look and feel of our solution to their style plays also an important role for the decision makers in big corporations.
data analysis

Key Insights

Flexible & adaptive solution to individual workflows

Finance consultants tend to have individual approaches to their workflow, so our solution should be flexible & adaptive to their individual style of consulting, if we really want to support them achieve their goals.

Easy integration with a variety of existing tools & processes

The consultants as well as enterprise representatives don't seem positive into a fundamental change into their existing tool-portfolio.
Our solution should enable or even simplify the integration of a variety of tools and processes.

Costumizable to diverse enterprise regulations & branding styleguides

A great consideration for enterprises seems to be the adaption of our solution to their current and future regulations. Also, important seems the ability of our interface to be fully customisable to their existing or future look & feel.
Phase 2: CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT

What if we create a dashboard that enables the integration of the existing consultation tools used by finance/ insurance enterprises and independent consultants and supports users on their individual day-to-day activities & workflow?

DEFINING THE SCOPE

Our solution needed to be flexible, consistent, adaptive, and expandable to support and enhance the current workflow of finance consultants.

We started our exploration by collecting all the available informations and setting-up the core values of the product we were working on, prioritising needs and aspirations and ideating on what we could offer to add value to the current processes and workflows.
PHASE 3: DESIGN

Facilitating remote Co-Design Workshops

We brought users, stakeholders and designers together to bridge the communication gap between consultants and managers, share insights, understand the challenges, come up with ideas, propose solutions & setup the foundation for our dashboard.

Looking for effective ways to involve consultants throughout the process, we decided to organise and facilitate co-design sessions for the initial drafts and layouts.

To eliminate costs and offer attendance flexibility, we scheduled online meet-ups with the consultants and our facilitators, where we introduced our initiative, efforts and findings and allowed the consultants to come-up with their own ideas on how the core design challenges could be solved.

Solution design and Information Architecture

Collecting all the designs from the Co-Design Workshops and sessions we were ready to dive-in into the Solution Design and Information Architecture.

Having a deep understanding of the workflow complexity & the views of the consultants & stakeholders we spent a lot of time working on diagrams, process, and user flows to understand & map-out the technical and interaction complexity for this initiative and be able to define the scope for our first Minimum Lovable Product (MLP) version of our dashboard.

Setting-up a modular design system

Our next step in our adventure was, shaping a white-labeled, modular design system that would reflect our core values and enable us to offer the flexibility and consistency our users and stakeholders were looking for.

After all this work, and when the time came to dive-into specific solutions, detailed wireframing and interaction design, one thing was clear: If we 'd really like to accommodate user needs, and shape a flexible, consistent, adaptive, expandable & feasible solution, we should come-up with a modular, and expandable design system.

Stretching out our design system

Having the design system and its components defined, we would like to test if our design system would be flexible enough to accommodate the needs of a white-labeled product, and to be used with a variety of companies across industry.

To evaluate the sunsability and effectiveness of our solution, we conducted an ideation workshop to come-up with three brands with unique value propositions, tone of voice and visual language.

Brand 1: InsureLite
The insurance enterprise with thousands of employees and independent consultants

We started with InsureLite, an insurance provider with thousands of employees and million of customers worldwide.

About the brand

Core values, tone of voice & visual language
We started with defining the core values of InsureLite, describing the insurance provider as serious and trustworthy, customer focused and transparent. The tone of voice should be aligned with the core values, so it would be trustworthy, friendly and adaptive.
When it came to the visual language and the branding colours, we created a quick collection of images about what InsureLite people, as well as what their clients see on a day to day basis, and decided for a green palette with black and white colours for the brand.

Will our design system work for InsureLite?

Having our first brand in place, we were ready to stretch-out our design system and find out, how it would or wouldn't work for InsureLite. As we wanted to gather real data about our design system and its efficiency, we kept the functionality and features we were testing against similar for all three brands, in order to observe potential misalignments.
The dashboard tab and its core features
Evaluating the dashboard overview, email integration and client list feature we got a positive outcome about our design system and features capability, which seem to work efficient for InsureLite.
Tool tabs & additional features
Now, it was time to dive a bit deeper into the PowerPoint and Excel integration and find out if our solution would cover their values, needs, tone of voice and visual language there as well.

Evaluation of the InsureLite stretching-out exercise

Seamless and effincient adaption of brand's visual language & tone of voice to our design system.
The adaption of InsureLite's visual language & look and feel to our design system took less than a couple of hours and proved to be seamless and efficient both for the design team working on this exercise as well as the front-end developer who was in charge to bring the dashboard for the InsureLite brand in life.

Brand 2: NomadShield
The Startup of independent consultants

To stretch our design system a bit further and step out of our comfort-zone, we decided to setup an additional brand. This time our brand should be NomadShield, a startup, working with independent consultants providing insurances for digital nomads.

About the brand

Core values, tone of voice & visual language
Defining the core values came a bit natural in this case, as we imagine such an insurance provider as advanturous, flexible, transparent and efficient - all essential for the nomadic lifestyle. The tone of voice should be aligned with the core values, so it should be direct, adventurous and transparent.
When it came to the visual language and the branding colours, we created a quick collection of images about what NomadShield team sees, and what their clients see and decided for petrol, light-blue and yelow colours the brand reflects the sea and the sun, most digital nomads enjoy on their adventures, while black reveals a timeless quality, efficiency and boldness in their domain.

Will our design system work for NomadShield?

Having our second brand in place, we were ready to stretch-out our design system and find out, how it would or wouldn't work for NomadShield and their brand. As we wanted to gather real data about our design system and its efficiency, we kept the functionality and features we were testing against similar for all three brands, in order to observe potential misalignments.
The dashboard tab and its core features
Evaluating the dashboard overview, email integration and client list feature we got a positive outcome about our design system and features capability, which seem to work efficient for NomadShield. Now it was time to dive a bit deeper into the PowerPoint and Excel integration for NomadShield and find out if our solution would cover their values, needs, tone of voice and visual language there as well.
Tool tabs & additional features
As we also did for InsureLite we would like to dive a bit deeper into the PowerPoint and Excel integration with our Dashboard and determine wether our solution would cover their values, needs, tone of voice and visual language of NomadShield as well.

Evaluation of the NomadShield stretching-out exercise

Seamless and effincient adaption of brand's visual language & tone of voice to our design system.
The adaption of NomadShield's visual language & look and feel to our design system took less than a couple of hours and proved to be seamless and efficient both for the design team working on this exercise as well as the front-end developer who was in charge to bring the dashboard for the NomadShield brand in life.

Brand 3: Fin Power
The finance consulting agency of four

Evaluating our solution against insurance providers in an enterprise and startup environments, as well as independent consultants, we would like to make sure that our design system could also support the needs of finance consulting agencies. Thus we developed Fin Power, an agency of four, with 360° services around finance-consulting.

About the brand

Core values, tone of voice & visual language
Professional, strict and quite old-fashioned, the brand tends to use business, severe language and tone of voice and have a business-classy and a bit outdated look with dark colours and gold finishes throughout its visual appearance.

Will our design system work for Fin Power?

Having our third brand in place, we were ready to stretch-out our design system and find out, how it would or wouldn't work for Fin Power's brand. As we wanted to gather real data about our design system and its efficiency, we kept the functionality and features we were testing against similar for all three brands, in order to observe potential misalignments.
The dashboard tab and its core features
Evaluating the dashboard overview, email integration and client list feature we got a positive outcome about our design system and features capability, which seem to work efficient for Fin Power. Now it was time to dive a bit deeper into the PowerPoint and Excel integration for Fin Power and find out if our solution would cover their values, needs, tone of voice and visual language there as well.
Tool tabs & additional features
As we also did for InsureLite and NomadShield, we would like to dive a bit deeper into the PowerPoint and Excel integration with our Dashboard, and determine wether our solution would cover their values, needs, tone of voice, and visual language of Fin Power as well.

Evaluation of the Fin Power stretching-out exercise

We had to expand our design system a bit, but after expansion we managed to achieve a seamless and efficient adaption of brand's visual language to our design system.
The adaption of Fin Power's visual language & look and feel to our design system required a bit more effort than the other two brands, as an expansion of the current design system was needed to accommodate the brand's needs. However after the expansion of the design system the adaption proved to be seamless and efficient both for the design team working on this exercise as well as the front-end developer who was in charge to bring the dashboard for the Fin Power brand in life.
PHASE 4: testing OUr SOLUTION

Results

Testing the outcome of our work with independent consultants, non-independent consultants, agency owners and enterprise representatives we had the opportunity to see our work into action and collect some valuable feedback for our next iterations.

Independent consultants

Independent consultants would be interested in our solution as it supports their workflow at its core and reduces the time spent on busy tasks, allowing them to concentrate their efforts on their clients.

Non-independent consultants

Non independent (agency or enterprise) consultants were also keen to try out our solution, as it seemed that this could keep them on speed with their daily activities and the bureaucracy of their workflow.

Agencies & Enterprises

Agency & enterprise stakeholders and decision makers found our solution remarkable, based on its adaptability not only to the workflow of each consultant and the many integration possibilities but also because of its effectiveness and quick adaption to the diverse brand style-guides.

Are you interested to see our dashboard in action or discuss our process further? Send us a demo request to hello@notallbad.com and someone from our team will contact you to arrange a time slot to catch-up.

TOOLS WE USED

Except of our white-board, markers, sticky notes, sharpies, pencils, and paper-kit, working on this project we made good use of the following digital tools & resources:

We used Google Suite to communicate via email, plan the project & the user research, create sheets & tables, create slide-presentations, and to store files and documents on cloud.
Using Slack we were able to collaborate remotely, chat with each-other and keep track/ organise our communication.
Hive allowed us to collaborate prioritise, assign, manage & keep track of our workflow and tasks one by one.
We took notes on Evernote, captured our ideas, the literature & market research findings and/ or experts, collaborated remotely, wrote articles and documented the project's workflow.
We used Mural for the co-design sessions, the user journeys and the overall remote collaboration.
Using the Optimal Workshop suite for our user research & findings analysis we had the opportunity to dive-in into details and understand our users.
From visualising userflows and storyboards up to crafting our design system, designing elements, exporting assets and delivering to our dev team, we used Sketch throughout our process.
With Photoshop we retouched images, created some collages and made sure that we had high-quality imagery in our presentations, white papers, landing pages etc.
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We really enjoyed creating, publishing and testing our prototypes with Webflow, as well as sharing our work with the participants at the user testings.
We used Icons8 to get access to a variety of icons and automate our icon search & usage for visualisations, presentations etc.
On Unsplash we downloaded royalty & commissions free images for our visualisations, eg. personas, storyboards, presentations etc.

Are you a student or a young professional working on a similar initiative and would be interested in our toolset?
As you can imagine, we use these & other tools in a variety of projects with diverse clients - from NGOs to startups & enterprises. As we would like to offer the best conditions possible to the companies & organisations we work with, we have partnered with some of the companies/ tool providers above to offer special pricing options to the people, companies & organisations we refer to them.

Depending on the partnership/ affiliation contract with each of the companies, we might or might not are eligible to offer a discount/ trial or other incentives, and we might or might not get a commission when someone purchases a paid service, product or subscription model clicking the links above, eg. we have no partnership/ affiliation with Slack, Sketch, Mailchimp, Icons8 or Unsplash, but we have partnered with Unbounce to offer our friends, partners & clients 20% off for their first 3 months after trial.

If you are interested to find out more about our partnerships & affiliations and/ or the tools we use and recommend, subscribe to our newsletter, as we have planned to launch a Friends & Partners page pretty soon, where you will be able to find more info about the tools we use & how we use them.

If you have questions about wether or not we have an established partnership with a specific tool, and if we can offer a discount, contact us. We know how difficult it can be to start-out as a designer, and need to pay a fortune for software as a student and we would be glad to help out, if we can.

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