The more time I spent investing on Robinhood, the more unsatisfied I became. I slowly came to a realization that my needs as a user were not being met when it came to access and retrieval of my dividend investments' information. In one of my graduate school classes, I created a product extension of the Robinhood app to solve this problem.
Robinhood currently has 22.5 million users who are all looking to increase their wealth through investing, some just don't know dividend investing yet.
A product extension, adhering to the current design system, designed to increase dividend investing and long-term users and bring new users to the app.
Robinhood struggles to retain long-term investors and low interest revenues due to limited dividend information and poor usability of the interface.
Consuming dividend history is nearly impossible with no data visualizations. A new simple and elegant customizable account visualization highlights the critical information users need to understand their dividends performance.
Finding dividends on the existing platform is tedious and the information provides little investment help. Placing dividends on the home page revalues the information as important and gives the user a wider understanding of their investment's performance.
Financial products can be overly-complex. A filter function gives users control and choice. Since dividends can be large sets of data, the filter eliminates what does not satisfy search criteria and suggests categories not thought of.
Autonomy with Filters
Due to the lack of customization when it comes to retrieving dividend information on the platform, a filter function was created to give users control and choice. Since dividends can be large sets of data, a filter allows users to eliminate what does not satisfy their search criteria and suggests categories they may want.
Visualizations For Dividends
The current extent of dividend portrayal is a chronological list of dividends. The addition of information visualizations brings to life the once static and indigestible dividend data. With the tap of finger, a user can now see the fruition of each respective dividend investment.
The initial research methods that were adopted to gain a better understanding were a quarterly report analysis, interviews and a cognitive walkthrough.
Once I identified the user's problem, I analyzed Robinhood's quarterly reports in search of metrics to support the need of a dividend product extension. Below are visualizations of my key findings.
My first major finding was interest revenue between 2020 and 2021 increased by 69% while transaction revenues increased by 138%. My other major finding was 78% of Robinhood's revenue in the first 3 quarters of 2021 was transactions. Thus, both of these findings expose Robinhood's dependence on transaction revenue. To counterbalance, interest revenue can increase by dividend investing increasing.
To identify the user flow, I performed a cognitive walkthrough of getting to dividend payment. The current task is structured so that it takes 6 clicks to arrive at a specific dividend moment. In contrast, capital gains, the other main form of investing, resides on the home screen.
To qualify this problem and to learn about the user's needs, I created a short interview about the current design. There were 5 questions asked and the participants were given the freedom to speak as little or as much as desired.
struggled in finding
wanted to know more
about their dividends
were confused by current
dividend list portrayal
To begin the process, I utilized my research to create personas and journey maps to have a clear understanding of the user. Using how might we methodology in the ideation stage, I came up with 52 different ideas. Then, taking the top ideas, I made a wireflows. Lastly, I built out key design decisions and the V1 screens.
Since my extension is not a shipped product, I do not have real-world outcomes. Yet, I wanted to explore a few metrics which Robinhood might gauge the impact of this work.
• Number of dividend investors prior vs. post deployment
• Conversion rate of users reinvesting
• Increase user satisfaction with app
• Speed up retrieval of dividend information
By adding a data visualization, the once overwhelming dividend information is easy to consume and engaging. Referencing research articles by Microsoft and Nielsen Norman, I created a few iterations of dividend visualizations for the mobile app. The guiding principles when designing were interactivity, simplicity, accuracy, clarity and readability. Ultimately, I moved forward with the DataVis.1 since I wanted every security/stock to be accessible with a single tap.
Microsoft: Visualizing Ranges over Time on Mobile Phones
Nielsen Norman: Designing Effective Infographics
The existing website lacks a clear footer. While there is information present at the bottom of the website, the information lacks links to internal and external pages, organization and clear separation. A footer is needed because users are accustomed to navigate to the bottom of the website to find contact information, links and more and it helps SEO. Since the website is not flooded with information, we think the footer can be a mini footer and still be effective. Alternative #2 provides internal and external links alike to alternative #1, yet it takes up less space.
From my interviews, two participants brought up the desire to compare performances of dividends. Taking these considerations, a filter function was created to give users control and choice. Additionally, due to the large set of data, a filter removes data on the visualizations and narrows down the list to a manageable number by specified criteria. When iterating the filters, I ended up going with the Filter.3 because of the time increments and the aesthetic.
The existing filter tool was oversized, outdated and only filtered categories. We, therefore, decided to implement a filter and sort function at the top of the products page and an option to sort by price and date to the left side of the page. Providing a filter tool would minimize the need for scrolling through the entire inventory. Users can easily filter what they desire and access information quickly. Another benefit of this decision is that it provides the user with the ability to sort by price, popularity, and date of availability. Lastly, by inserting the ‘filter’ and ‘sort by,’ we were able to remove a great deal of the information on the original cluttered web page.
On the existing home page, the data visualization only provides information on capital gains. Furthermore, there is no dividend total amount on the app and dividend information is difficult to access. Thus, the hierarchy reveals a large discrepancy between the value of capital appreciation and dividends. By differentiating between capital appreciation and dividends on the home screen, the valuations are even. Additionally, the user now has a more accurate understanding of their investment success. I went with the Home.2 because it kept the home interface simple enough while adhering to the brand's style.
From my cognitive walkthrough, I learned the discoverability and findability of dividends were both low. In attempt to solve this, I altered the flow so that users could get to total dividend information within one tap/click. Moreover, from total dividend, one more click would lead the user to individual dividend distribution. With the new flow being shorter and visuals on the screens being engaging, I intend for users to be able to discover and find dividend information easily.
On the home page, the existing navigation consists of four possible selections which act as the navigation menu. Once clicked, the navigation options no longer appear. Essentially, the user would have to go back to see the options once more. Thus, if the user has clicked through several pages, it can be tedious to go back and forth. We chose to implement a fixed navigation bar across the top of the website that is characterized by the following: (1) font sizes that are suitable for the screen, (2) menu options that look ‘clickable’ or provide feedback, (3) options that contrast with the background, and (4) options that show users ‘where’ the currently visible screen is located. which center content more than older websites.
Since the existing product purchase route is unorganized, redundant and inefficient, users are likely to leave the website. For option 1, the most prominent route change is we decided to implement a calendar system that allows the customer to know whether or not the product they chose is available on certain dates, in real time. On the other hand, option 2 includes the ‘calendar’ feature and introduces the ‘Shopping Cart’ feature. Users can check the availability of their products, add it to their shopping carts and continue browsing for other products, if they choose to do so.
The existing color scheme is messy and there is no consistency with the font type and size. While the website does not contain a lot of information, the information is not presented aesthetically. Each extra unit diminishes the value of other units on the page. Thus, the need for a redesigned style guide was pressing. We selected this style guide in an attempt to both take the client’s wishes about the color pallet into account and bring some visual stability to the system. The client felt that a yellow and purple color scheme was a signature look for the company and requested to keep it to some level.
With the design, I aimed to improve the experience of dividend investing on this platform by creating intuitive paths and easy to consume data visualizations. Below are screens of the mobile design app, including the new functionalities and style guide.
To gauge the product design, I created a usability test to evaluate user's interactions. In effort to having an accurate sample of the target audience, I deployed the tests on UserTesting.com, where I filtered participants through a pre-test screener. 6 participants were tested with a pre-experiment questionnaire, 9 usability tasks and post-experiment open ended questions.
desired a quicker way to
were confused by dividend terminology
approved of simplicity, aesthetics and design
To confront the confusion between dividend and unrealized gains, when the new product extension launches, there will be an intro guide to the new features and definitions of the investment terminology on the home page. Additionally, I added a pop-up button when selecting individual dividends to encourage users to reinvest their dividends earlier on in the flow.
I would further refine the interface as well as conduct A/B testing of V2 vs. V3 to measure the impact of my design system and evaluate whether or not it succeeds in the context of the environment. With insights from this data, I can make critical improvements to my design.
Adhering to Guidelines
When beginning with my design decisions, I constantly found myself having a variety of ideas that had to be drawn back due to not conforming to Robinhood's style. While it can be limiting to follow a strict set of design guidelines, I grew appreciative of them because it kept my designs consistent and aesthetically appealing.
The importance of teammates became ever so apparent during this multi-month endeavor. While working solo provided me the freedom of decision making and project pacing, I quickly recognized the void from lack of collaboration with designers and non-designers. To combat my solo efforts, I took it upon myself to have a mentor for the project and discuss my designs with other designers.