Beginning with this challenge, we needed to collect as many pieces of information as possible about challenges consultants in the finance and insurance field face daily. Therefore 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. 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.
Getting familiar with the workflow of the participants, we realized there are many different approaches when it comes to financing consulting. Therefore there are diverse toolsets in the market to accommodate the individual needs of a consultant's workflow.
To achieve our goal, we had to take into account a variety of tools used by consultants. We conducted 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 were:
Gaining a better understanding of users' needs and aspirations, their workflow, and the toolsets they use to achieve their goals, we initiated a round of stakeholders' interviews. We brought together business representatives from finance and insurance enterprises to:
Collecting essential data & insights, we were able to map out:
We had the chance to collect a significant number of results and insights, which enabled us to have an excellent overview of the current situation on the finance consultation field and workflow.
Analyzing and synthesizing those data, we ended up with an insightful research overview regarding our users, the tools in the market as well as the stakeholders & decision-makers of the industry.
Collecting the data about the process, we recognized that the consultants use different tools and apply diverse processes to offer high-quality service to their customers. We found the most differences between:
The smooth integration with existing tools and processes seems to be of high importance for independent, agency, and enterprise consultants. Also, the option to add new tools and upgrade the existing ones would be mandatory for a satisfactory solution. The adaptability to consultants' workflow & working style (e.g., structured or unstructured consultation) would also be necessary for all three consultants' segments. The option to have complete clients' & contracts' overview and their provisions and forecasts displayed would also be mattering to independent, agency, and enterprise consultants as well.
Controlling, for example, provisions & performance metrics seem to be the top priority for agencies. At the same time, the integration of existing tools and processes and the flexibility to add new tools play an equally important role.
Digital transformation, paperless workflow, controlling, and provisions were the main concerns of the enterprise representatives in our research. Keeping up with consultants, tools, workflow, and processes would be necessary. Following the enterprise branding and unifying the look and feel of our solution to the organization's style, also plays a vital role for the decision-makers in big corporations.
Finance consultants tend to have distinct approaches to their workflow, so our design should be flexible & adaptive to their style of consulting.
The consultants, as well as enterprise representatives, don't seem positive in a fundamental change into their existing tool-portfolio. Our solution should enable or even simplify the integration of a variety of tools and processes.
A significant 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 customizable to their existing or future look & feel.
"Our mission was to simplify the consultants' working environment and enhance their workflow and day-to-day activities. First, we had to understand the consultants' current situation, and what would they & other stakeholders need from our solution. What features would convince them to introduce our solution to their toolset & workflow?"
Myrto Papagiannakou, Head of UX at notallbad.
Our solution needed to be flexible, consistent, adaptive, and expandable to support and enhance the current workflow of finance consultants. We collected all the available pieces of information to set up the core values of the product. We prioritized users' & stakeholders' needs and aspirations. Finally, we ideated how we could add value to the current processes and workflows.
We brought users, stakeholders, and designers together to bridge the communication gap between consultants and managers. Our goal was to share insights, understand the challenges, come up with ideas, propose solutions & set up the foundation for our dashboard.
Looking for effective ways to involve consultants throughout the process, we decided to organize and facilitate co-design sessions for the initial drafts and layouts.
We scheduled online meet-ups with the consultants and our facilitators, where we introduced our initiative, efforts, and findings. We also allowed the consultants to come up with their ideas on how the core design challenges could be solved.
Collecting all the artifacts 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 and the views of the consultants & stakeholders we spent much time working on diagrams, process, and user flows.
We aimed to identify and map-out the technical and interaction complexity for this initiative and be able to define the scope for the first Minimum Lovable Product (MLP) version of our dashboard.
When the time came to dive-into specific solutions, detailed wireframing, and interaction design, one thing was clear: If we 'd like to accommodate user needs and shape a flexible, consistent, adaptive, expandable & feasible solution, we should come up with a modular and scalable design system. The next step was to shape a white-labeled, modular design system that reflected our core values. It would enable us to offer the flexibility and consistency our users and stakeholders were looking for.
After defining the design system and its components, we decided to test its flexibility to accommodate the needs of a white-labeled product and to be used by a variety of companies across the industry. To evaluate the usability 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. We would use the three brands to test the design system.
To gather accurate data about the efficiency of the design system, we would test similar functionality and features for all three brands, to observe potential misalignments.
We started with InsureLite, an insurance provider with thousands of employees and millions of customers worldwide.
We started with defining the core values of InsureLite, describing the insurance provider as serious and trustworthy, customer-centered, and transparent. The tone of voice should align with the core values, so we defined it as reliable, friendly, and adaptive.
To decide about the visual language and the branding colours, we created a mood board with images related to what InsureLite people, as well as what their clients see daily. After some consideration, we decided on a green palette with black and white colours for the brand.
Having our first brand in place, we were ready to stretch-out our design system and find out how our solution would or wouldn't work for InsureLite.
Our first set of features, i.e., the dashboard overview, the email integration, and the client list feature, returned a positive outcome. Our design system and its features seem to work efficiently for InsureLite.
Now, it was time to dive a bit deeper into tool integrations to investigate if our system would be adaptable there as well. For this purpose, we tested our solution for Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Excel integration.
The adaption of InsureLite's visual language & look and feel to our design system took less than a couple of hours. It was seamless and efficient both for the design team working on this exercise as well as the front-end developer who was in charge of bringing the dashboard for the InsureLite brand in life.
To stretch our design system a bit further and step out of our comfort zone, we decided to set up a new brand. This time our brand should be NomadShield, a startup, working with independent consultants providing insurances for digital nomads.
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.
Having our second brand in place, we were ready to stretch-out our design system and discover how it would or wouldn't work for NomadShield and its brand.
Evaluating the dashboard overview, email integration, and client list feature, we got a positive outcome about our design system and features capability. All seems to work efficiently for NomadShield.
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 whether our solution would cover the values, needs, tone of voice and visual language of NomadShield as well.
Again, the adaption of our design system to the visual language, look & feel, and tone of voice of NomadShield took less than a couple of hours for all teams involved in the process.
To investigate the efficiency of our solution for finance consulting agencies, we developed Fin Power, an agency of four, with 360° services around finance-consulting.
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.
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.
Evaluating the dashboard overview, email integration, and client list feature, we got a positive outcome about our design system and features capability. All seems to work efficiently for Fin Power as well.
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 whether our solution would cover the values, needs, tone of voice and visual language also.
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 expanding the design system, the adaption proved to be seamless and efficient for all parties involved.
Testing the outcome of our work with independent consultants, non-independent consultants, agency owners, and enterprise representatives, we collected valuable feedback for our next iterations.
Independent consultants would be interested in our solution as:
Non-independent (agency or enterprise) consultants were also keen to try out our solution as:
Agency & enterprise stakeholders and decision-makers found our solution remarkable, based on: