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Investment Advisors' Client Onboarding UX Research + iPad App

Executive Summary

  • Project consisted of service & workflow innovation for investment advisors. Client (large financial institution) sought to improve the workflow of their investment advisors, by streamlining their workflow and simultaneously increasing the value delivered to the advisors’ clients.

  • Interviewed multiple workflow stakeholders to better understand the tactical challenges.

  • Created physical project "workboard" to "bring the workshop to the client"

  • Designed & led client-side ideation workshop, resulted in various ideas that were forwarded to other projects within the client, as well as several focii which were taken further within this project

  • Designed new service flow design, including an iPad app for Investment Advisors based on data from research, interviews, and opportunities identified in ideation workshop, including conceptual sketches, user flows, wireframes, high-resolution visuals and an interactable prototype, which was presented and delivered to the client for further internal concept validation

  • Exposed delivery team within client org to user experience practices across all disciplines from design delivery to research and testing

User Research

At the outset, we defined the overall objectives and target interviewee pool. The client came in with an open mindset, and expected us not only to follow through with specific recommendations and a prototype, but also to find other ideas in the course of our research, to be highlighted as opportunities, whether their implementation fit into the scope of this project or not

We worked with the client to conduct over 8 “ride-alongs” (direct observations of interactions between financial advisors and their customers), as well as separate in-depth interviews with financial advisors themselves.

Given the sensitive material being discussed during these observations, we could neither record nor take pictures, so I took notes and sketched the environment, as a visual reference for the advisor’s and customer’s experience


This gave us a very deep understanding of both the advisor-customer interaction, as well as the day-to-day pain points of the financial advisors’ workflows. We learned about the different types of financial advisors and their varying priorities, which helped us refine the intended target audience with the client

I produced Interview Summaries (see adjacent) for each advisor’s experience, in order to be able to compare their experiences, draw comparisons, and identify commonalities, which led us to identify 4 Areas of Opportunity:

  1. FA-Back-Office Interaction

  2. FA-Customer In-Person Interaction

  3. Customer-Side Access

  4. Advisor Workflow Improvement

Ideation, Flaring & Focusing

  • Identifying Areas of Opportunity allowed us to define specific problem spaces. Based on these, I structured a client-side ideation session, where we produced a range of different ideas, based on the pain points we saw among our interviewees and their customers

  • Once we finished generating ideas in collaboration with our client, we coded the ideas to identify whether the customer wanted us to integrate them into the immediate project moving forward, or if they wanted to take those ideas and integrate them into other ongoing projects.

Prototyping & Testing

We took the ideas identified by the client as within-scope for this project, and separately combined and fleshed out the ideas at the architecture level, identifying the points at which our team could provide the most value, and purposefully excluding functionality that would be too far out-of-scope, or where existing tools could be easily tied-in

I clarified the desired user journey by sketching out a series of vignettes, along with some conceptual wireframe sketches and then sent the client a proposal for a set of requirements against which we could build an interactable prototype as a proof-of-concept.

We touched base with the client to get feedback and confirm the direction of the prototype, using the journey sketches to communicate the target customer experience, and the proposed requirements to communicate the scope of the prototype

After confirming the desired prototype requirements, we began wireframing in earnest, quickly moving to a high-resolution prototype of an iPad app, which paralleled with the client’s rollout of a suite of iPad tools for their employees.

Using Sketch and Pixate, I put together an interactive prototype, which we presented and delivered to the client, in a form that allowed the client to distribute the prototype internally.

Note: I recreated the Pixate prototype I had originally built (now inaccessible since the company was bought by Google and suspended operations) as a Investment Advisors App Invision prototype with most of the same interactions, though sadly not all the microinteractions were replicable using Invision.


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