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Ask DN: Who here designs financial products?

over 4 years ago from , Product Designer at Daily Burn

Where? What do you make? Do you like it? I'm weirdly interested in that field of product design, and would love to hear about your experiences.

18 comments

  • David HuntDavid Hunt, over 4 years ago

    I spent 2.5 years as part of the in house design team at Barclays (one of the largest banks in the UK). Here are a few of my thoughts and points that came to mind.

    It's as much about educating your stakeholders about design as the work itself.

    Many stakeholders don't understand the value of great design. The value it can add is remarkable and so often marketing is seen as a way to patch holes in products that they 'need to launch because we've spent $X million on it's development'.

    A real challenge to innovate and push new ideas through.

    Rightly so, regulation is tight in this industry. As seen with many startups that are constantly pushing regulations in ways that are complicated and deep legal projects in there own right (think Blockchain, Market Invoice and Transfer Wise). This adds a lot of weight and time to any piece work that is trying something new. Leadership that has a real ambition to improve the status quo would be something i'd look out for if you're interested in creating new products.

    No doubt that the industry is going through it's 'Uber-moment'.

    From the users perspective the experience of banking and managing finances in all it's forms just cannot compare to what's now considered best in class. Service design, product design, UX, Design Thinking - whatever you call it - it's clear to me that value proposition level thinking is required to redefine what this means. Of course, this makes it an interesting space to work in, but expect to a lot of new technology (and new expectations from users) that the large corporates may not be able to deliver as their systems are literally decades old.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions - i'll try my best to answer them for you :)

    13 points
    • Eliot SlevinEliot Slevin, over 4 years ago

      Ooo I got a good question. How come online banking sucks ass?

      Banking is a hugely important part of my life as a user, and I use it all the time, yet the digital experiences are sub par as. I've been thinking about what a redesigned digital bank would look like, and from the user's perspective, there is so many opportunities for change.

      I imagine there must be a good reason for this, and you hit a few in your post (Regulation, design backwards culture), but is there any major challenges for actually building an online banking web app?

      Security slows down development? Frameworks / Tools aren't security focused? Accessibility concerns?

      And a similar question, how are online banking apps currently built? What databases are used for transactions?

      0 points
    • A B, over 4 years ago

      I'm a UK Barclays customer. Overall, your team seems to have been doing some great work.

      I'm aware how it can be like swimming against a current when working as a designer in a large regulative environment. So kudos.

      0 points
  • Jon MyersJon Myers, over 4 years ago

    I’m an independent designer who has been involved with the design of financial products for a long time now.

    Ages ago, I used to have an agency that specialized in 3D data visualization (SGI, IRIX - back in the day if anyone here is old enough to remember) mostly in the realm of financial services. Though, I've worked in the area of genomics, network analysis, etc.

    Recently, I just wrapped up a project with a venture capital firm here in Vietnam who is launching a new bank. I was responsible for all product design.

    I wrote a few articles for Virgin that dig into the state of financial services and design, and the process we used to design the products.

    How to unlock the future of money and create a fairer world

    What will future innovation in the banking sector look like?

    I agree with what others have said regarding the excitement in this sector.

    It’s a really exciting sector to be working in as a designer.

    Further, with my entrepreneur thinking hat on, it appears that financial services is “being unbundled” and attacked sideways from upstarts like Acorns, Robinhood, etc..,

    Fun times.

    3 points
  • barry saundersbarry saunders, over 4 years ago

    I work on a lot of banking products, from self-managed super, to term deposits, to KYC / AML, to home loans.

    Lots of data, lots of regulation, lots of user testing, lots of accessibility.

    I love it.

    3 points
  • Aaron DavisAaron Davis, over 4 years ago

    I'm a product designer at CapitalOne. I work on our commerce products.

    It's great, I work mostly with our e-commerce platform.

    3 points
  • Andy MerskinAndy Merskin, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

    I work for Markit on Demand in Boulder, CO and I've gotta say: I really love my job here and I work with some of the smartest people I've met. We have the largest design team in the world that deals solely with financial information and workflows.

    Getting acquainted with financial information can be really daunting at first, but after working here for 2.5yrs, I've learned a ton, and we have plenty of smart resources to point us in good directions.

    I'm certainly not part of the hiring team, but I will say we're quite a friendly bunch. The culture here rocks.

    Read more about what our company does below: http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21580494-private-company-controlled-banks-connects-much-financial

    and on our website:

    http://www.markit.com/Product/Markit-On-Demand

    1 point
  • Jonathan YapJonathan Yap, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

    Just started a team in the APAC region with Visa about 2 months ago. We operate slightly different from the main design team in the US, more like a startup within a larger organisation.

    Think a lot of comments here do sum it up, I'll add what I've learnt so far.

    Stakeholder and Security

    Large part of my time was spent championing human centered design and running education piece with them. The teams are well structured but move very slowly and lots of stakeholder check points. Intellectual property, security, and regulation is an obvious big thing, it's pretty lock down here hence can get a little slower compared to the usual startup environment.

    Cultural context really matter

    That's what I really found interesting, we all know the whole exercise of user personas and all. It's trivial that we all need to do our research but It really matters when you talk about people's money and spending. So understanding these context is absolutely vital. Some places, you can spot patterns of people's upbringing affecting a decision like spending money online or even storing your card on your phone. South Korea can be an amazing place if you are into mobile payment and adoption rate is incredible, but in places like Myanmar, cash is still king.

    It's not always up to you

    One thing that was new to me was the four party model, so it is usually down to everyone in place to do their part. You may have control in certain things, but other parts can just be guidelines and best practice. It's the most documentation I've did so far in my entire career. So hiring the right person in place to manage those relationship is a key factor.

    The challenge here is immense, but I'm loving it so far. Can't share specifics on product though. Shameless promotion

    1 point
  • Andrew LucasAndrew Lucas, over 4 years ago

    For anyone interested in designing business tools, check out the Elegant Tools articles on Medium, some great content on there: https://medium.com/elegant-tools

    1 point
  • Johnny JuiceJohnny Juice, over 4 years ago

    I design financial products - I like the complexity of designing interfaces for professionals who expect extremely dense data & functionality. I've encountered loads of UX challenges that I haven't in previous roles. I've also gotten to understand how to design data properly.

    The end-customer side of it is pretty cool too, because everyone has to deal with finances and everyone feels a certain way about it. If you're into it, it can be fun to design things at scale, that work, and often go against what is popular in mainstreem design trends

    1 point
    • Josh Clement, over 4 years ago

      It sounds like you're working in enterprise land. Do you have any guiding principles you rely to 'design data properly'?

      0 points
  • Mike BusbyMike Busby, over 4 years ago

    I work for a fintech company called BitGold, we are a payments and savings platform backed by physical gold. I am in charge of design. It's a challenging industry to work in, but ripe for disruption..... I love it.

    0 points
  • Tony RedfernTony Redfern, over 4 years ago

    After getting my first iPhone with a banking app, it gave me more control over my finances. I work in the UK and have experience with payments, banking and loans.

    A lot of designers I know don't like working on finance projects.

    One piece of advice, get compliance on board early.

    0 points
  • Graham Odds, over 4 years ago

    I head up the design team at Scott Logic, a UK-based software consultancy working primarily in financial services. I've worked on a whole range of systems from institutional single dealer platforms to consumer-facing robo-advice for investment management to analytics and research tools.

    I'd second nearly everything that has already been said here. It's a unique world that requires it's own variation of design approach and culturally it's a very different world to most other enterprises (for good, bad and frustrating reasons).

    0 points
  • Christoph OChristoph O, over 4 years ago

    I'm also an independent designer and have been doing a lot of work with insurance companies (big co. and startup) the past 3 years. Not sure if I'd like to work in-house at an agency, but it's a super interesting sector to work in as a consultant.

    There are a lot of legacy interfaces that need major overhauls. You can really make a difference if you put the work in. I've found the people very friendly and collaborative and appreciative of good design. Obviously, some things will move slower due to the complexity, regulation, and big-company structures, but that's a challenge to embrace.

    0 points
  • Eshan ChordiaEshan Chordia, over 4 years ago

    I've been working at Adaptive Insights for the last year as a front-end engineer and I help design some of our products (more part time). I love it here.

    We have four primary products, but the product that the most amount of people use is our Excel-like financial planning tool. I feel it's harder to design for the financial users, because a lot of times they are expecting your tool to be similar to another tool they use have used. It's also a lot slower, because we're more risk averse in development than most companies.

    If you have anymore questions, feel free to ping me!

    0 points
  • Hana KimHana Kim, over 4 years ago

    I'm a Designer at Addepar. We're an enterprise portfolio and analytics startup in the Bay Area + NY. I've been here for almost 4 1/2 years : )

    I love it here. Rather than getting off-topic and making this a recruiting pitch, let me know what you are more curious about and I'd be more than happy to answer in depth : )

    0 points