Stock Trading Round-Up Feature
Stock trading is becoming a new trend amongst Millennials. Fintech companies like Acorn, Stash, Robinhood are persuading the generation to start building financial portfolios through their apps. These companies present various financial tools to ensure the users' financial growth, like launching debit cards, introducing fractional share, and producing podcasts. 

This project started with a question, "what can make the users stay on Robinhood and continue with the long-term financial goals?" Robinhood recently released a Cash Management feature, which allows users to spend non-invested funds via Robinhood Mastercard. In this passion project, I introduce a round-up feature within Cash Management to create a better cash-flow and ultimately lead to more stock trading on the app. 

*This project was part of UX Academy's Capstones
Key features
1. Round-up every transaction made via Robinhood debit card
2. Customize round-up amount
3. Set-up a safeguard
4. Transfer round-up value to the Buying Power (for investment) or back to the bank account (for saving)
User Flows
Usability Tests
Priority Revisions
Adobe Illustrator
Google Form
Although Robinhood is popular and well-known among the Millennials, it is not easy for a user to register and actively use a stock trading application. Moreover, the users have a specific expectation when using a stock trading application. To persuade the users to use newly introduced feature, understanding the users' openness to the app itself seemed crucial to me. 
So I set two goals for the research : ​​​​​​​
01 Identify user's expectations and goals when opening a online-only banking account
02 Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors on managing uninvested funds
Competitive Analysis
The users have many options when choosing an investment platform. I chose four competitors Cash App (from Square), E*Trade, Wealthsimple, and Betterment, based on their target user groups and the main services, and conducted a competitive analysis with Robinhood. When comparing the strengths and weaknesses of each platform, I focused on the interest rates, cash bonuses, and financial management features. I believed these are what the users need and want the most. 

Robinhood is the most popular stock trading application among the Millennial investors with its simple and easy stock trading process. This research revealed that other competitors are also providing similarly affordable services, with very low or no commission fees. Moreover, the competitors were providing an investment advice and finance management tools. In addition to the Robinhood's growing social features, I decided to take advantage of the users' expectations to get finance management options and optimize the users' activities on Robinhood.
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Market Research
Since the launch, Robinhood has been a leading stock trading app among the tech-savvy Millennials -- On average, the age of Robinhood user is 30. More than 10 million accounts are on Robinhood, about twice as much as its competitor, E*Trade's 5.2 million accounts. Despite the popularity among its target customers, Robinhood faces a challenge of being just the entry point to investment. To solve this problem I focused on understanding its users first, especially their investing habits and status. Below are some notable findings: ​​​​​​​
1. Millennial investors have limited capital
﹆ Robinhood's average account size is $1,000 to $5,000. This is about 1/7 of E*Trade's average account size. 
﹆ 19.6% of the Millennial users are investing in small cap companies ($300M - $2B), which is considered more volatile and risky but have relatively low per-share price. 
﹆ Millennials have a wealth-to-income ration of 40%, meaning that their total net worth is only 40% of their current annual income. According to Boston College, this is due to student loan debt, stagnant wages, and a high cost of housing. 
﹆ 53% of the Millennial say they don't have enough money to invest.
2. Millennials are big savers and conservative investors
﹆ Fully 39% of Millennials are defined as "Super Savers", saving 10% of their salary.
﹆ 30% of Millennials see cash as their favorite investment. All other generations chose stocks over cash.
﹆ 42% of Millennials are investing conservatively, compared to baby boomers. (Only 23% of baby boomers are considered conservative investors, according to Fidelity survey).
﹆ 66% of people aged 18 to 29 say investing in the stock market is scary or intimidating.
User Survey
After developing good understanding of the market and the trend, I reached out to the real users to see what finance-related activities they perform outside of Robinhood. From the survey, I strived to find an opportunity for a feature to fuel the growth of Robinhoods' user pool. I recruited ten participants online from various UX Slack groups, age between 24-36. I screened the participants with two requirements : 1) must have an active bank account, and 2) must have an experience managing bank account online. 

I created a google form survey to distribute to the participants. Some of the questions were,
∙ Why did you choose to open online/ fintech bank account?
∙ What is the best part of using online / fintech banking for you?
∙ What applications do you use for stock trading?
Through the survey, I identified the need and pain of the users when joining a stock trading app as well as the current investment procedures. Robinhood needs to persuade its users (and the potential users) that Robinhood can make finance easily manageable, whether a large investment or a few dollar of leftover buying power. 

The survey revealed that
∙ 5 of 10 participants were stock investors; 3 of those 5 stock investors are on Robinhood
∙ All of the stock investors rarely reload cash to their stock trading app (50% said reload cash less than once a year)
∙ All of the non-stock investors prefer savings account because they want instant access to cash
∙ 4 of 5 non-stock investors reported that it is hard to get started with stock trading because of a commitment issue (i.e. afraid to start, don't have time to manage, don't want to risk investment elsewhere than savings account)​​​​​​​

I also asked broad questions like, 
∙ How did you start investing in stock?
∙ How often do you trade?
to see how users define stock trading in relation to other investment methods. These questions led me identify the need for lowering the barrier to deposit funds to Robinhood
I crafted three provisional personas based on the news articles and user survey. Each persona personifies typical Robinhood users. All these persona share the same end-goal, which is to grow their savings through stocks, and the same pain, which is investing with a limited capital

I chose the Novice Investor (in the middle of below chart) as the primary persona, since most of its users choose Robinhood to start their first stock investment. One of the biggest challenges Robinhood face is that the users are short-term investors. They use Robinhood as an entry to stock investment, but eventually make transaction to other platforms (like traditional banking). This persona chart allowed me to see that sometimes a goal of the user could become a big challenge for the business, just like the user's pain is an opportunity for the business.

I looked at the goals and the pains of this Novice Investor to find a solution that meet business and user goals. I decided to implement a round-up feature to the Cash Management and allow users to receive and keep the rounded-up funds on Robinhood.  
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Site Map
I created a site map to organize the hierarchy of the Cash Management page. Although Robinhood first introduced Cash Management in December 2019, I did not have an access to the actual page yet (I was on the waitlist for 3 months, with half a million fellow users). So the pages provided here are the hypothetical. 

While focusing on the high level pages of app, I created a several pages like round-up setting, round-up history, and transfer to bank account. Robinhood is known for its clean, simple, and modern layout. So it was easy to follow existing IA and design system of the app. 
To demonstrate how the persona and a potential user would interact with the round-up feature, I created a task flow and a user flow. These flow charts show the necessary steps to activate the round-up. 

My design mentor suggested setting a safeguard at the early stage so that the users are fully aware of the options they have with this new features. Many of young investors on Robinhood like to take high risks to increase their profits; therefore, I let the users see that they may double or triple the round-up amounts to increase available funds. 
User Flows
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Task Flows
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Lo-Fi Wireframes
When creating the first version of low-fidelity wireframes, I was still not sure how to optimize the user's interest in a round-up feature. With this feature, my two mains goals were to minimize the burden of making occasional deposits to Robinhood and keeping the fund within the app. 

In order to catch users' attentions, I decided to make round-up fun, personalized, and goal-targeting. After setting up a round-up multiplier, the user can choose which market cap size they prefer to invest in as well as the stock categories of interest. Afterwards, Robinhood can suggest and advise the user based on these selection. I believed these features would encourage the users to utilize the round-up feature and keep these funds to trade stocks within the app. 

Below are the example pages. 
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However, I realized that these personalized features are better fit for the Social Page, the app pilot launched in February (This is currently available to the first set of the users). The Social Page allows the users to add and categorize based on the individual's interest.

For a better IA on the app as a whole, I decided to focus solely on the round-up function. The round-up feature lives in the Cash Management (originally named as 'a Wallet tab'). The entire activities, transactions, and monthly interests, is visible with the Mastercard usage. 
Cash Management Page
Cash Management Page
Round-up Amount Setup
Round-up Amount Setup
Round-up Safeguard Setup
Round-up Safeguard Setup
Round-up Transfer Method Setup
Round-up Transfer Method Setup
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UI Kit
Although Robinhood's UI design received many awards and acknowledgment, there was no official brand style guide available online. So I re-created the elements by examining the Robinhood for Web and Robinhood App. Robinhood's design is so unique yet simple, so I did not have difficulty following the rules. Through this process, I was amazed by a clear design rule that enhances the brand's identity and the user experience.

Again, I focused on the round-up flow, so elements necessary to create other pages (Robinhood gold, cryptocurrencies, news, and etc.) are excluded from this document. 
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Robinhood often utilizes illustration to explain important information or to make the process more fun and easy.  I created below illustrations to add some fun to the UI and help the users understand the flow more easily. I turned the Robinhood debit card as a piggy bank to describe the purpose of round-up feature, and added a dollar sign to a timer for auto-transfer function.  
Hi-Fi Wireframes
My low-fidelity wireframes are visually very detailed, yet transferring those to higher version took me a day to finish. I created interactive high-fidelity wireframes to see evaluate and adjust the look and feel of the UI. The button sizes, location, and label were constantly adjusted to meet Robinhood's design system. 

The biggest challenge during this stage was that I kept trying to make my own spacing and typography. I learned that sometimes there is a rule to creativity and a great designer is able to perform well within the rule.
Cash Management Page
Cash Management Page
Round-up Briefing Page
Round-up Briefing Page
Round-up Page
Round-up Page
Round-up Setting Page
Round-up Setting Page
Usability Testing
I put the prototype to testing to check the user's understanding and usage of the new round-up feature. Using my high-fidelity prototype, I got to receive feedback from 12 participants via Maze. Through this testing, I wanted to achieve
1. Identify any distractor a user faces while completing the task
2. Identify user's navigation patterns and evaluate the successes and failures of the flow and the information architectures
3. Receive user feedback and discover areas for revision and growth​​​​​​​
The tasks included
1. Activate the round-up feature
2. Transfer the round-up balance to your Buying Power
3. Set up an Automatic Transfer
The test revealed error-free rates: 
﹆ Task 1 : 50% Give Up and Bounce due to technical error. The users reported that links were not properly working on first few pages. In addition, 11 of 12 test participants were non-Robinhood users. They were unfamiliar with Robinhood languages / terms and had difficulty understanding the labels
﹆ Task 2: 80% Direct success and 10% Indirect success. 2 of 12 test participants showed a delay, caused by misclicking  the back button resulting in the reset of a flow. 
﹆ Task 3: 30% Direct success and 70% Indirect success. I actually provided two ways to enter the automatic transfer set up page but set up only one way as a correct path. Considering this, all of the test participants were able to complete the task successfully. ​​​​​​​
However, I found the usability score from the Maze testing not reliable for many reasons: having non-users as testers, having technical issues with the links not working properly on some computers, and having multiple ways to complete the tasks. So, I conducted a second round of usability test via Zoom. This time, I conducted interviews with four participants who use Robinhood daily. 

I observed their interactions with the prototype and organized important feedbacks into an affinity map. 
Although I spent hours working on the wireframes, there were still some mistakes on the prototype, like a missing button or a low color contrast. Such minor mistakes could affect the users' navigation. I thought of myself as a detailed-oriented person, but I should be more careful and attentive at all stages. 

There were three things that were brought to my attention during the usability testing:
1. The users found it hard to understand the word 'threshold' and reported that the word creates a sense of limitation. To solve this problem and add a sense of security, I decided to use the word 'safeguard' instead of 'threshold'. 
2. During the process of transferring round-up balance to the Buying Power, the users wanted to receive a wrong input alert before they submit the order. However, Robinhood displays an alert message after the user submits the order. I created an example page below to show how I would change the page if I could make a design decision. 
3. The users wanted to receive a compliment for saving funds using the round-up feature. After the testing, I placed a notification cards on the Round-up page to congratulate the users on their activities and display their recent activities related to round-up. 
4. I also placed a switch to turn round-up function on and off, so that the users have a full control over it.
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Being a user myself, I always appreciated Robinhood's simple and easy interface. Before this project, I have failed numerous times when I tried to refer the app to friends and families. They were hesitant to apply for a Robinhood account, because the idea of stepping aside from their conservative investment strategy (a.k.a. savings account) seems very risky and scary. This concern was not a stranger to existing users. The young users of Robinhood were hesitant to grow their portfolio after their few deposit to the app. Thus, Robinhood is in constant search of a way to open a target users' wallets. Seeing the effort, a question popped into my head; "How can the users comfortably make deposits to the app without feeling insecure?" I wanted this project to provide a potential solution to that problem. 
Having a first-hand experience with the app allowed me to understand and empathize with the users better, but also challenged me to think and make decisions not as a user, but as a designer. I learned to stay focused on one key feature and making the flow as simple and learnable as possible. Following Robinhood's design principle allowed me to achieve that goal as well as to explore what I would do if there was no rule to follow. There was a few hiccups during the user survey and usability tests. Facing unexpected results taught me the importance of screening the participants especially when the test subject relies on the user's familiarity with the product. 

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