AdvisorLink (Name changed) is a service offered by a leading financial institution dedicated towards Goals Based Wealth Management, which offers its users the capability to manage and grow their wealth in order to meet their financial and long-term goals. My team designed a web and a mobile experience that allowed users to mention their goals, choose what financial plan works best, monitor and manage their ongoing plans.

Specific areas where I led the team include: User research, information architecture, product strategy, interaction design, and client facilitation and design shareout sessions.


July 2017 - April 2018


User Interviews, Focus Group, Affinity Mapping, Need Assessment,  Product Conceptualization, Low-Level and High-Level Prototyping

Team Members:

Sarah Mitrano / Candra Provenzano
01: Introduction

The Ask

Our client, a global financial institution with over $2..2 trillion in client assets, wanted to launch a financial advising platform which combined their world class team of Financial Advisors and the ease of a digital service layer.

My firm, Moment, was brought on to lead the process from vision to minimum viable product.

01: Introduction

The Solution

My team created an MVP for an online product which brings the trust of personal Financial Advisors and combines that with the ease of an online offering.

03: Research
Stakeholder Interviews
After an initial dive into Investing and the Advising domain, we developed the following research goals from our growing list of questions, and framed them as questions for out interviews with key stakeholders:

Success Criteria

  • How do stakeholders define success for this project?
  • How does the project being successful look like?

Audience and Positioning

  • How do stakeholders define the target audience for this project?
  • How is the targeted audience different from other traditional advising offerings and automated advising offerings?

Key Differentiators

  • How is the value proposition of this product different from the other products offered by the Client?
  • How does this product work with them, or rely on them?

Vision of an MVP

  • What does an MVP version of the product look like?
  • What are some crucial product offerings that we need to include?
Synthesis of stakeholder interviews.
03: Research
Financial Advisor Interviews
Our interviews with stakeholders gave us an understanding of the vision of the product. Following the interviews , we conducted separate interviews with Financial Advisors (FAs), who interact directly with customers  and have an understand the day to day functioning of the advising team with respect to customers and the key events in the traditional financial advising process. The following were our research goals for those interviews:

Functioning Details

  • What processes, system, and tools do FAs use to develop and communicate traditional goal based financial and investment plans?
  • What these processes and tools still be relevant in hybrid advising?

Educating and Assisting Customers

  • How adept are customers at expressing their financial goals?
  • What level of assistance do they need to implement those successfully in the system?

Challenges in a Remote Scenario

  • What challenges might the FAs face  in a remote context?
  • What would the best forms of communication with the customers be, and at what stages during the advising process?
  • Will these forms of communication change at different stages?

Considerations for Millenials

  • What are the needs of this generation?
  • How do they respond to financial matters and issues?
Synthesis of FA interviews. Avatars added for fun.
03: Research

Product Attributes Workshop

After out initial rounds on interviews, we decided to hold a workshop with key stakeholders, to define and align on key product features. This gave us an opportunity to understand what the stakeholders envisioned, but also helped in ensuring that the stakeholders aligned with one another on the product and its attributes.

Help with Budget

To what degree should the product help clients with budgeting?


How robust should client facing tools from the product be?


Who should be most proactive in managing the account?

Guidance from FA

How much should the FA guide the client during the input process?

Granularity in Goals

What's the most granular goal a client should be able to set?

User Definition

What are the characteristics of the ideal user for this product?
04: User Definition

User Persona

Using the "Our Users" discussion with the stakeholders in the Product Attributes workshop, my team and I pulled out insights for the target user and conducted a persona definition session, which resulted in a user persona:

Jen, 33

Senior PM at Centura Technologies
Denver, CO
Salary: $100K

Savings: $200K
  • 75K Investable
  • 125K in 401K

Life Stage

  • Established
  • Married
  • Recently had a baby

Emotional Drivers

  • Now that she has a family, she's starting to feel the financial obligations outside of herself.
  • Stressed, pressed for time.
  • Desire for control, security.


  • Has a lot of cash.
  • Thinks she could be working harder.
  • Familiar to FAs, but thinks they are old school.
  • Skeptical of financial dealings and is cautious by nature.
  • Does not want to beat the market. Just avoid bad decisions.
  • Wants to be aware and ask questions.


  • May have help during taxes, but nothing apart from that.
  • Tracks her finances digitally.
  • Orders supplies from online shopping websites. An avid digital platform user, both web and mobile.
  • Lives by her calendar.
04: User definition

User Journey

The definition of the user journey was a challenging part, because the service was being developed from scratch and there was no prior flow. In order to figure out the user journey, we decided to leverage the existing user journey in case of traditional advising as a starting point and move from there.
Step 1: Using traditional advising as a starting point, we identified key stages and the client-FA interactions.
Step 2: On identifying key stages and interactions, we added more technical details and ensured that the journey remains valid in a remote context as well.
Step 3: Finally, painted a clearer picture with details on actions, interfaces and expectations.

Final Result:

A detailed user journey indicating different stages of the journey, key interactions and level of involvement between the Financial Advisor and the Client.​

High Level User Journey:

05: Concept Validation

Low-Fidelity Mockup

On creating an end to end user journey, we wanted to validate the accuracy of our synthesized user journey. We created a low fidelity mockup of the service with key interactions to be able to ask feedback on the product offering.
05: Concept Validation

Concept Validation with FAs (San Francisco)

We conducted a validation study where we made 11 Financial Advisors interact with the low-fidelity prototype to get feedback from them on how users would interact with the system and what their concerns might be.

Some of the major themes we wanted to get feedback from them on were:


What would people want to do on their own, vs with an FA?  Do they have any privacy concerns?

Key Goals

What goals matter the most to people? Especially the younger generation.

Guidance & Concerns

How much data are people willing to enter before they speak with someone?
04: Concept Validation

Concept Validation with Potential Users (Denver)

We conducted one on one think aloud sessions with 9 potential users, as they walked through a low-fidelity wireframe of the service.

Apart from the above mentioned themes, some of the other major themes we wanted to get feedback on, from the potential users were:

Partnership with FAs

What level of independence do users want in managing their plan? What kind of help would they ask for?

Value of the Product

What is the value of the FA in a remote and online context? How do they expect the FA to add value?

UI Components

What are their views on the graphs, figures, alerts, and other data on the dashboard of their investment plan?
05: Concept Validation

Key Takeways

Design Objective: Ensure that the user has confidence in the system, the advisor and his or her actions.
Confidence in the system could be stemmed by the following design principles:


The users would feel confident in the system when they have key details visible to them, along with appropriate context.


The users would feel confident in the system when they have sufficient understanding on what is happening and what is required of them. It also enables them to ask intelligent questions and feedback.


The users would feel confident in the system when they trust the advisor and feel that he/she knows them well. It also helps when they know they have their advisor to rely on.
06: Improvements

User Onboarding


Information Overload for the client

A lot of information was required from the user to make a scenario meaningful and accurate.

Impression of a Cookie Cutter Approach

Having an investment plan ready solely based on profiling inputs, without actually meeting the client seemed very generalized.

Seemed Apathetic and Impersonal

Given the remote and online product offering setting, and the importance of the plan, it seemed apathetic to not speak with the user.


Reduced information required from user

Less information needed to have a conversation with the advisor, since the IC focused on getting information for the plan

Gave the impression of being understood

Seemed empathetic and felt like the plans shared later were custom made for the user after understanding them.

Increased the value of the Financial Advisor

Having an FA speak with the client made getting a plan  contingent on speaking with the FA, thus increasing value.
06: Improvements

Plan Adoption


“I don't know how it works so I won't touch it”

Users were apprehensive about going in and making changes. Did not engage with the meat of the product.

Wanted validation about what they did

Users were not sure if the changes they had made were right or had not considered something important.

“What does the FA do, again?”

Users felt that they were changing the plans by themselves and also ensuring that everything was in place.


Introducing Sandbox to make changes

Introducing Sandbox, a place where you could make changes and see how it affects the plan.
Pushed apart adopting a scenario and exploring options.

Discuss changes, not implement right away

Discussing with the advisor about the changes and made it into an iterative loop.
You discuss your changes with the advisor and get feedback on them.

FA created and approved scenarios

You make changes and FA approves it as an “Adoptable FA Approved” scenario.
The safety that the FA had reviewed what you were doing.
07: Site Architecture

Site Architecture

To help define the information architecture, we conducted a workshop where we had the key components of the service laid ​out, and facilitated a conversation with the stakeholders which gave us insights on how the proposed components could be laid out, eventually leading to the site architecture.
Step 1: Identify key service components and conduct a mapping and association workshop.
Step 2: Group assocations into relevant tabs, which gives an initial pass at the site architecture.
Step 3: On iterating the functionalities and grouping, we eventually finalized the site map for the service.
Final Result: With the Site-Map created, we created block diagrams for each of the pages.
08: Design

Plan Discussion Wireframes

1: Scenarios Tab

​User selects a plan shared by the FA to view and opens it in View Mode.
2: View Mode

​The client looks at the asset projection graph which depicts his wealth according to the plan, and shows important milestones discussed in the plan.

He clicks on a milestone to view more details.
3: View Mode

The client sees the details for the milestones.

He clicks on the Plan Status indication which says the plan is "On Track" to get more details for the plan's progress.
4: View Mode

​The client views more details for the plan status, like the Probability of Success and Funding Status.

He clicks on "Accounts" to view details.
5: View Mode

​The client clicks on "Future Income" to switch to that tab and more details.
6: View Mode

​The client clicks on "Investment Strategy" to switch to that tab and view details.
7: View Mode

If the client wishes to make any edits to the plan, he clicks on the button to open a copy in the Sandbox.​
8: Sandbox Mode

​The Sandbox mode enables the client to make make edits to the shared plan without actually affecting the plan sent by the FA, so as to always be able to revert back to it.

The user clicks on "Add a new expense".
9: Sandbox Mode

The client​ selects the type of expense he wishes to add to the plan.
10: Sandbox Mode

...and then adds the details for the selected Expense.

Hits Save when done.
11: Sandbox Mode

​Adding a new expense has put the plan at risk.

The client can remove expenses or edit existing ones.

He clicks on "edit" to edit the "Education" expense in his plan..
12: Sandbox Mode

​The client makes edits to the expense and clicks Save..
13: Sandbox Mode

​Editing the expense has brought the plan back on track as shown.

The client can now discuss this plan with the advisor or save it for a later reference.
08: Design Part II

Ongoing Servicing Wireframes

Summary Tab:

​Provides a at-a-glance summary of the investment plan.

Anything which requires attention appears here.
Status Tab:

​This tab offers details on the status of the plan. Details like how likely is this plan to succeed and contribution histories are shown here.
Portfolio Tab:

Shows the investment portfolio of the client and the details associated with it.
Plan Details:

​The Plan Details Tab shows the plan that the user is supposed to be on, and investing according to.
09 Mobile Design

Mobile Translation

After creating designs for desktop, the client wanted to shift focus towards a "Mobile-First" approach and thus, we worked on designs for mobile, before finishing our desktop designs in high fidelity with complete visual design.
Below are some selected screens from our translation of desktop designs into mobile design:

Plan Details Screens

These set of screens shows the plan details as a scenario sent across to the user by the Financial Advisor.

Status Tab Screens

These set of screens show the "Status Tab" of the platform where the plan status, funding status and contribution history is shown. Assets over time are also shown at the bottom of the page.

Portfolio Tab Screens

These screens show the "Portfolio Tab" of the platform which shows how the breakdown of the user's assets and how have they been invested across different accounts.
10 Collaboration

Collaboration Tools

Over the course of the project we used several collaboration tools and methods to collaborate with stakeholders and engineers. Some of them were:

Definition Workshops

End-to-End Flows

Annotated Behavioral Specs