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UX must engage the heart and the mind of the adviser and their client

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The goal of UX is to not only simplify the process for the user according to their needs at that particular time but also to offer the user the relevant information using progressive disclosure, so we don’t interrupt their flow.

Open banking to most clients is a new process and as such the learning curve can be quite high not to mention the skepticism and bias some clients have towards new and emerging technologies. At Visible Capital we simplify the learning curve, holding the user’s hand throughout the process. The client and adviser experience are at the heart of what we do, before even a pixel is drawn, we consider how can we be a blessing to the user? I believe that money is tied to the heart and as such we have to be compassionate to both the client and advisors needs.

To engage the heart, we must have an understanding of what the motivations the dreams and desires of the client are. At Visible Capital we take a holistic approach to user research, so we can understand both the client and the advisor at a deeper level. This understanding of not only the motivations, but aspirations as well as the relations the adviser has with the client permeates our entire process.

For instance, it takes a few seconds to categorise data or scan the client’s driver’s license for iden-tity verification, we don’t leave them hanging there which can cause anxiety. Instead, we con-tinue to engage with them by using the brief window of time to offer relevant services and prod-ucts. By doing this, we not only reassure the user that they are still connecting with us but provide the IFA with an opportunity to profile product information.

UX design is also transformational in providing the kind of functionality that will allow the cat-egorisation of customers’ transactional data to be used by the advisor to review both regional trends as well as the more granular spending habits of individual users. Armed with this data resource, advisors will be well positioned to develop and target new products and services.

My job is to be an advocate for the product user, my intention is always to touch the right pressure points and provide them with positive, maybe even life changing experiences. It’s an almost the-atrical experience as I can use colour and resolution to dim or brighten the lights, sharpen the image or throw it into soft focus. I use different fonts and varying colours and shapes of buttons to signpost the way for different users. Blue and green can powerfully convey trust, whilst ma-nipulating the curve on a square button by just 5 pixels can add a frisson of interest to the main emotion elicited of dependability. And I can also raise the intensity of the experience by leading the user through areas of expansive overview before directing them down through the really granular detail. And when a user reaches a point in the UX journey when she needs to take time to think, it’s important to build in white space, to keep the screen calm and relaxed. Ultimately, as Zumthor so rightly says - my objective is to nail down the experience for the user not just in their memory but in their feelings too.

So that’s the creative side of the process, the way I engage on conscious and unconscious levels with the user. But of course, for every client with a brief, there is a message to convey, a require-ment to provide them with important information, build a relationship and furnish them with the benefits of relevant products, services and advice.

And just as good service design uses the creative process to engage with users, it also identifies opportunities to broaden the scope of the product experience and builds in functions and features which can help increase the value proposition and deliver key business objectives.

Peter Zumthor is an award winning Swiss architect, known for his pure, austere structures which have been described as timeless and poetic. He is also pretty good at building images with words and I love the way he captures the experience of the mind engaging both consciously and uncon-sciously with an image.

“In a fragment of a second you can understand: Things you know, things you don’t know, things you don’t know that you don’t know, conscious, unconscious, things which in a fragrant of a second you can react to. It takes longer to capture but the essence is the same, when you experi-ence a design and it gets to you. It sticks in your memory and your feelings.”

Whilst my world is now UX, I have a background in and ongoing passion for architecture which very much influences the way I design a user experience. In the same way that Zumthor describes the “almost impossible to pin down” essence of what is good design in a building, I try to harness these transient emotions in my product design.

by Mo Dube, Head of UX at Visible Capital

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