The venture app helps manage peoples savings and finance goals when moving to New York and while living in New York. It gives users the power to input their incomes and help plan their goals. Its central planning page empowers users to reach realistic goals and sets them up for success by giving key information for any financial goal they want while living in New York
Research what problems people had in living here, expand on this to when they moved here. Develop a digital product that addressed problems that caused stress to alleviate it by placing the customer in a well knowledgeable and planned position as opposed to confused and in the dark.
The project was part of the Product Design major project at Pratt
It was aimed at people who were planning to move to live to the city; ages 21-50. The product was intended at being of use well after the customer had moved here.
Working in a team of 3 Product Designers, My role was to research problems associated with moving to New York, work in a team interviewing different people about problems they had when they moved here and also while they live here. At a low fidelity stage in the design process we concurred that New York was full of stressors, the major ones being real estate and apartment issues, transport, work and life stress, finances and keeping up with a high cost of living.
The Timeline and limitations
Over twelve weeks this project had limited time and resources. We conducted only two critiques and two rounds of user testing before a high fidelity prototype was produced for development. At this stage in development as mentioned only two real job stories could be solved for.
Research & Goals
Initially the research was based on stress of moving to the city. Out of a few different problems We picked a topic for a job story based on changing documents when you came here. This unfortunately wasn’t substantial enough to pursue so we changed direction and decided to research more.
We weren’t surprised at the number of the same problems that existed for a wide breadth of people that centered around ‘stress’.
The first round of interviews found that the city was full of stressors including extremely unbearable weather extremes of heat humidity and extreme cold, power outages, real estate problems like finding apartments to bad and corrupt landlords, bed bugs, rats, roaches and rodent problems and bad or crazy roommates, Apartment roofs caving in, almost being killed by riding a bike, subway problems like delays that are unexpected, crowding, crime and the list went on.
The interviews were with foreigners who had moved to the city also so the focus was on how did they move, what prepares them and how did they deal with that stress of moving.
In all the stressors how could we alleviate some of this?
The initial projection of this was a simple goal of:
When something is confusing i want to know how to handle it so that I don’t panic'
We came up with: app idea ‘What do I do!? What do I do!? Which was a guide on how to survive the city.
Critique & Low Fidelity Sketches
The critiques at this stage led to a change in job statement because the job stories with the guides were simply too extensive to complete given the limitations of the project.
We came up with a guide to moving to the city but to be more specific a guide to managing your finances coming to the city. We chose this because it was specific enough to solve one particular job story or two.
Was based on the company’s request for retention. We modified the app to solve another job story similar to the original idea to help with problems when living in the city:
‘how might we help a customer with their finances while living here.’ This statement solves a variety of problems including general saving, budgeting for health insurance or big expenses such as moving or clothing expenses due to seasons to keep the customer retained and informed on what to do in this city.
Final Problem Statements
How might we help a newcomer plan financially to come to this city? How might we anticipate their needs and provide them with a savings plan and spending budget with everything to consider about living in this city to prepare them?
I want to know how much to save before moving to New York. I want to know how much to save before coming to New York in a certain timeframe (leaving in 5 months). I want to know what my lifestyle at home costs in this new city as a comparison. I want to know what my budget will be before I come here. I want to know if there are differences in job pay scale for my job or career here (example bars pay workers much more than they do in other states- (you can earn more than a teacher bussing tables)
What different paths did you go down and what important things did you learn?
In early stages we performed research and low fidelity concepts of products that pertained to New York Guides- since so many stressors existed within the city we proposed a guide to help a new comer with anything that was a real problem eg: real estate and apartment issues, transport, work and life stress, finances and keeping up with a high cost of living.
We found that after the first round of critique there was a consensus that there were too many job stories and we did not have the time or resources to address each of these. In addition there was the problems of planning to move to the city also. So we chose our job stories to be related to the process of moving here
Specifically finances. We chose not to focus on other (although very important) aspects of moving such as selecting different suburbs, this was not a real estate. We would rather specifically focus on financial planning since it is an important part of planning.
In the later stage of the project we were instructed to change direction so the product had a major function in retaining customers. We did this by designing the app much like our first concept where it was a guide to New York, we would address problems centralized by the planner using pop over reminder screens helping them with things like moving house, buying clothes for the season, saving while keeping up with the high cost of living.
We made a phone app that guided the customer though moving here planning their finances along the way as on-boarding. the functions included connecting the customers bank account, giving the app key data it could use, calculating budgets, creating a search criteria of recommended areas they could afford and going on to savings goals of reaching the amount needed to get here. it would also initially explain differences in cost between the moving place and the destination which is also useful.
the second part of the app relates to ongoing use and retention. With a calendar function acting as a centralized planner where this would be a platform for future problems and goals / tasks to complete where the app could be of help. Example: The time to move house again and budgeting for the move and recommending good value movers in their area. Another example is an income change would lead to a change in areas the customer could move so the areas in which the budget could recommend would change. the customer would be notified of this and reminded to keep them engaged.
These guides related to living here would successfully keep a new comer to the city engaged as there are always problems and changes arising in the city. the end result would be someone who isn’t experienced with the city would learn from using the app built buy experienced New Yorkers for new New Yorkers.
What is project a success or failure? Did you gain more users, earn more money, etc?