Nicola Pfister

  • 2020

    Submission # 203

  • Output

    Student – Ākonga

  • Kaupapa

    Impact – Social Good

    Innovation – Methodological

  • Location

    Auckland, Tāmaki Makaurau

Project Overview:
Nest, my final graduation project, followed a brief the class was given to engage with a self-generated topic in which the student had to create a range of designs.

I chose to focus on a a design solution in response to a social issue in New Zealand: financial well-being. This project commenced during the first nation-wide lockdown. Covid-19 encouraged discussion about how we manage money, especially in times of economic volatility, and how people who have lost their jobs, can reinvent themselves to become economically active again. These attitudes were reflected in the financial barometer survey done by the centre for Financial Capability.

Nest is a money-management mobile application that aims to motivate and encourage young people to improve their relationship with their money. The goal is to create good financial habits that will help them to achieve their financial goals and ultimately, to promote financial well-being. This project has a human-centred design approach that will promote understanding of financial well-being. Throughout the project, experts and prominent voices in the personal finance industry were interviewed to provide real-world constraints. The target audience was surveyed to better understand their relationship with their money. The scope of the project involved creating a brand Nest, including a brand identity, a mobile application prototype, an exegesis, and a promo-motion graphic.

The intention was respond to the subject of financial well-being, especially in relation to young people in New Zealand. The CFFC Barometer’s 2020 results showed that young people have the least financial knowledge and understanding - the time value of money is where age makes the most difference.

Next, the app was created to recognise the evolution and shift in personal finance thinking since the 2000’s, from financial literacy being the standard towards a greater focus on what people do, rather than what people know. This in turn gave rise to the concept of financial capability and later to financial well-being. There is a need for personal finance tools to be much more than a budget tracker.

The value of this project is reflected in the impact it can have in New Zealand. One’s financial well-being is influenced by their social and economic environment, their financial knowledge and experience, and their attitudes and behaviour. In times of uncertainty, it can be challenging to navigate the complex financial systems when one is plagued with guilt for not having managed one's money in the past. As a consequence, some financial services benefit from people in vulnerable positions by monetising bad decisions or benefiting from a lack of transparency. There is a need for financial tools that put people at the centre, that humanizes the world of money and finance. The goal of Nest is to motivate and encourage people to improve their relationship with their money by creating good financial habits to achieve their financial goals and ultimately, to promote financial well-being.

During this project I used a “mixed-method” methodology approach supported by a human-centred design approach. It included both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection. These methods were determined by the User Experience Design Thinking process that included user surveys, expert interviews, and critique sessions.

A user survey was conducted during the initial research phase to understand the target audience. The purpose of the survey was to understand the users’ needs, goals, capabilities so that informed design decisions could be made. The survey included qualitative and quantitative questions to gather objective responses (what they do) and subjective responses (how they feel).

I had the opportunity to interview experts and prominent voices in the personal finance industry: Sarah Kelsey, Aaron Gilbert, Frances Cook, and Aimee Mai. This gave the research validity by introducing real-world constraints to the project. It also helped me and to gain invaluable knowledge and insights that I could use in the decision-making process of the mobile application.

The outcome was successful because usability testing and critique sessions were conducted to get feedback throughout the project. This was an iterative process which involved examining the interaction between the user and the design and testing the validity of design choices made.

Archiver’s Response:

"An excellent concept and methodological approach based on sound research."

"This project's strength is in the methodology—a rigorous design process has taken place and a compelling visual representation has been presented."

Credits & Collaborators:
Teacher/Tutor - Tatiana Tavares
Teacher/Tutor - Marcos Mortensen Steagall
Teacher/Tutor - Cassandra Loh
Teacher/Tutor - Nivia Barboza Ferreira

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Brand Identity

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Nicola Pfister