Financial Advisor Digital Platform Design

HOW MIGHT WE TRANSFORM & Unify ubs financial advisor SERVICES into an extensible design language system?

Context
UBS approached frog Design to develop a Design Language System (DLS) that would unify their Financial Advisors’ front end experience and coincide with a large data migration consolidating their backend. My team analyzed dozens of digital products to develop a DLS that both reflected our field research and was extensible to hundreds of legacy products across the UBS ecosystem. This work ultimately led to two additional phases culminating in a $2.5 million system-wide redesign.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Creative Director leading a team of Interaction Designers, Visual Designers and Program Management.

  • Client relationship management, working with Executive Director, Head of Tech Strategy & Business Delivery to help sell-in and socialize work to key stakeholders.

  • Co-creating workshop across organization verticals.

  • Defined and implemented discovery research practices.

  • Led Design Language System development with user interface visual style and interaction paradigms that afford a unified shape to product look, feel, and functionality.

Discovery Research
Creating a truly usable DLS meant digging deeper than the common usability heuristics (which we considered table stakes) into how Financial Advisors understood their work—their thoughts, feelings, motivations, as well as the motivations of UBS as a business. Synthesized research themes inform a set of design principles act as a framework to ideate new product architecture and functionality.

 

Co-creating a Shared Vision of a Unified Experience
Bringing stakeholders together across UBS’s business units in an collaborative environment provided the space for our team to facilitate meaningful dialogue between teams and ultimately co-create a prioritized understanding of key customers and flows—and a shared aspiration of business goals.

 

Developing a Design Language System (DLS)
Insights from field research and our immersion workshop were synthesized into the visual language and interaction paradigms that form the foundation for a Design Language System. The frog team partnered with UBS’s IT vendor and internal design team to insure implementation and governance to extend the system.

A critical re-think of the criteria for adding content to a dashboard was informed by field research. We pushed for a simplified dash with only timely relevant content prioritized.

Many of UBS’s legacy applications required users to engage in convoluted workflows in order accomplish what would otherwise be simple tasks. We developed an interactive affordance that would pull data from those legacy apps into “work drawers.” This drawer UI slides in from the right, allowing for small tasks to be accomplished in older apps while keeping the user in the context of primary page they’re focused on.

Scanability is a dominant theme in the new visual language. We worked with the marketing team to ensure that the contrast and open vertical spacing was appropriate to a UI context as opposed to the print standards they were formerly working with.

A critical challenge we faced was to develop software that not only conformed to users’ mental models but also reflected the business aspirations of UBS. As an organization, UBS wanted to nudge their Financial Advisors (FAs) toward a more customer service focused client offering and away from traditional brokerage. The Wealthway tool is a new product designed to empower FAs to have more meaningful dialogues with their clients about financial progress toward life goals and less about a point-in-time review of portfolio earnings.