Collaboration and Communication

Training

Grant

Management

System

Use of Technology

Accessibility

Mismatch of Information

Donor Communication

Yahoo! Finance

Course: Needs Assessment and Usability Assessment

Duration: Jan - April 2018

Type: Group

Role: UX Researcher, Client Contact, Program Manager

Scroll Down

Key Questions to be addressed

             What are the users’ goals, motivations, and behavior patterns when tracking financial info. and managing their investments?
             What drives their selection of products when in managing finances and investments?

             What factors appeal to the younger section of the population?
             How do these users interact with Yahoo Finance and other financial tools and what frustrations do they experience ?

Overview

Problem Description

This project’s stakeholders are the internal usability consultants at Verizon who expressed concern on the usability limitations of their product Yahoo Finance, primarily the mobile application. Their current audience is older, and the client experienced lower engagement with younger audience (18-30 yrs). Our Team’s goal was to identify the key reasons for these challenges by understanding the interaction, usage patterns and needs of the target users for their financial goals. 

Our UX Team

  1. Nalin Bhatia (Masters, HCI)

  2. Raphael Lesmond Ku (Masters, Data Science)

  3. Siyu Jia (Masters, HCI)

  4. Yaojia Hua (Masters, HCI)

 

Process and Solution Overview

Process

 

Interaction

Map

Interviews

Comparative

Analysis

Survey

Heuristic

Evaluation

Usability

Tests

Recommendations

Interaction Map

 

The exercise of creating an interaction map was to illustrate users’ interaction with Yahoo! Finance mobile application. The purpose of interaction map is to get an understanding of the system and identify any breakdowns we discovered within the interaction of the application.

Interviews

To define the scope of the project and understand the research goals, we held two meetings with the stakeholders from Verizon and Oath (a subsidiary of Verizon) respectively. Based on the insights from the stakeholder interviews, we prepared an interview protocol and recruited 4 participants based on their demographics and involvement with financial activity. The visual below gives an overview of our methods.

The full interview report can be found here.

Methods

 

Interview Analysis

The interview analysis included recording interviews, converting audio recordings into transcripts, and building an affinity wall to organize data and uncover insights. We extracted over 100 pieces of notes from the interview transcripts and turned them into a series of discrete affinity notes. Then we grouped the notes into clusters according to similar ideas or themes, which made up an affinity wall (shown below).

Personas

The participants provided useful insights into the different profiles which our users fit into and based on which we created 3 personas to represent our target audience.

Henry - The Go-getter
Henry - The Go-getter
press to zoom
Nancy - The Pragmatic
Nancy - The Pragmatic
press to zoom
James - The Neophyte
James - The Neophyte
press to zoom

Key Findings and Recommendations

 

Based on our affinity wall data and generated personas, we held a brainstorming and interpretation session to come up with the following three broad findings. Next, we provided three recommendations to address the challenges represented in the above findings

Findings

Recommendations

Younger generation has a general interest in cryptocurrencies

News & supporting data are the most commonly sought information for investment decisions

-Gather company information before invest
-Preference between different media sources

 

Different platforms are used for different purposes

-Information seeking VS Account managing
-Desktop VS Mobile

Increase focus on Cryptocurrency

- Place the availability of cryptocurrency information as part of the on-boarding process for new users.
- Integrate cryptocurrency as a separate market in the Markets tab.

Provide Easier access to news and supporting data

- Enable various information searching or filtering options, including searching by a company’s name, news source (i.e media outlet), or personalized keywords in addition to symbols

Incorporate customization to address diverse user needs

- Incorporate on-boarding screens asking users their age, income, occupation, financial goals etc., and using predictive analysis to direct them to desired markets, news, companies and so on.

 

Comparative Evaluation

To conduct this comparative analysis, our first step was to set up a bunch of criteria to select comparative products. We had taken several factors into consideration including the findings from previous interviews, suggestions from the user research team of Yahoo! Finance, app rankings in both Apple Store and Google Play, as well as user reviews. To further filter and refine our lists, we sort the products into five categories according to Mark Newman’s taxonomy . Following is the comparative evaluation matrix:


 

Quote Stock Page (QSP)

The Quote Stock Page (QSP)  is a common element present in all of the competitor applications, and is also the most crucial element in a financial application. We examined and compared all the QSP pages, and developed a 2x2 space chart to describe the quote stock page based on two dimensions - information architecture and visual design:


 

Findings

hierarchy-structure.png
followers.png

Finding 1: Competitors have used tabs to segment information in the Quote Stock Page, and prominent use of call-to-action buttons and word

 

Finding 3: Some competitors allow users to follow other users to get their analyses and opinions

 

Finding 4: Very limited representation of cryptocurrency in competitor applications

Recommendations

Recommendation 1:  Structuring of content in the QSP page. More defined interactions on the Quote Stock Page (QSP).
 


Recommendation 2: A feature to follow or subscribe relevant people such as news editors, executives, analysts etc.

Recommendation 3: A separate section for Cryptocurrency watchlists

Survey

 

The existing users of financial applications were targeted, with the goal of determining existing usage behaviors, as well as qualitative information on which features they find valuable in making investment decisions. After designing a first draft, we conducted a pilot run with our stakeholders, incorporated the recommended changes into our final set of questions, and deployed it to finance-focused groups

Methods

compose a new text message icon in Messa

Survey Development:

- Pilot survey

- Final survey using Qualtrics

Deployment.png

Survey Deployment:

- Business and MBA mailing lists

- Finance-focused Facebook groups

- UMSI Open mailing list

response-xxl (1).png

Responses:

- 73 responses, 49 valid
- 38 (77.5%) respondents aged 22-34

Findings

The existing users of financial applications were targeted, with the goal of determining existing usage behaviors, as well as qualitative information on which features they find valuable in making investment decisions. After designing a first draft, we conducted a pilot run with our stakeholders, incorporated the recommended changes into our final set of questions, and deployed it to finance-focused groups

Finding 1:
Finding 1:

Users have preference between financial apps or websites for different purposes.

press to zoom
Finding 2:
Finding 2:

Users engage in using the financial application mostly before 9am and after 6pm on weekday

press to zoom
Finding 6:
Finding 6:

Users prefer using laptop to access Yahoo Finance; onboarding experience in mobile application is unsatisfactory.

press to zoom
Finding 1:
Finding 1:

Users have preference between financial apps or websites for different purposes.

press to zoom
1/6

Heuristic Evaluation

 

The next step was to perform heuristic evaluation based on Nielsen’s list of 10 heuristics, and through three tasks which we defined based on our previous findings of the most common usage patterns of the app. These tasks were:

 

  • Create a new watchlist and add 3 symbols to the list.

  • Compare 3 symbols’ performance using charts.

  • Search for the latest news about a symbol and then share a piece of news on social media.

First, we individually examined the app thoroughly through these tasks, and noted down individual findings. Next, we conducted a debrief session to aggregate our findings based on the violated heuristic and a severity rating based on Nielsen’s severity rating. These were:

Aggregated Overlapping Findings

The existing users of financial applications were targeted, with the goal of determining existing usage behaviors, as well as qualitative information on which features they find valuable in making investment decisions. After designing a first draft, we conducted a pilot run with our stakeholders, incorporated the recommended changes into our final set of questions, and deployed it to finance-focused groups

he.png

Key Findings

The existing users of financial applications were targeted, with the goal of determining existing usage behaviors, as well as qualitative information on which features they find valuable in making investment decisions. After designing a first draft, we conducted a pilot run with our stakeholders, incorporated the recommended changes into our final set of questions, and deployed it to finance-focused groups

Slide4.PNG
Slide3.PNG

Usability Testing

Our final user research step was to conduct usability tests with 4 participants from our target users, and provide recommendations based on the findings from the tests

 

Methods

For this study, we conducted 4 usability tests with regards to specific features of the Yahoo Finance app.  We recruited 4 participants perform 3 tasks followed by questionnaires and a debrief session. We recorded the process of each test and filled in the data logging form which was further analyzed and has led to recommendations for user experience and user interface improvements. Below, you can see the overview of out methods:

Participants

u1.png

Test Setting

 

- 1 iPhone with iOS 11 operating system;
- 1 MacBook with inbuilt webcam and microphone;
- 1 audio recorder;
- OBS studio and quickTime Player.

Tasks

 

- Task 1: Create a new watchlist and give it a name. Search for three technology company symbols and add those to your watchlist. Create another watchlist with a new name and add mutual funds to it.


- Task 2: Search for Exxon Mobil stock and go to the stock page. Check for information regarding the P/E ratio and company profile. Once you're done, add this company to the first watchlist you created.


- Task 3: There are predefined cryptocurrency watchlists based on market trends. Find a cryptocurrency watchlist named “Top Cryptos by Market Cap” and add it as your watchlist to refer later.

 

Analysis

 

- Data logging forms;
- Debriefing questions;;
- Pre- & Post-test questionnaires.

Sample Analysis

Task Tracking
Task Tracking

press to zoom
Debriefing
Debriefing

press to zoom
Task Tracking
Task Tracking

press to zoom
1/2

Key Findings

Slide3.PNG
Slide4.PNG
Slide5.PNG
 

Aggregate Findings & Recommendations

We concluded the project by enlisting the aggregated findings dealing with issues that occurred the most during all of our user research and proved most significant. Finally, recommendations were each of the aggregated findings were provided.

Key Finding 1: Users have difficulty navigating the Quote Stock Page.

Evidence 1: Usability Test
In our usability tests, participants complained about having to scroll through several sections to find information.


Evidence 2: Comparative Evaluation
Yahoo Finance uses a distinct star icon to add a symbol to a watchlist unlike competitor app’s add to watchlist button.

Recommendation 1: ‘Add to watchlist’ button, Tabular organization of QSP information
 

f1a.png
f1b.png

Key Finding 2: Issues with creating watchlists.

Recommendation 2: Redesign first-time watchlist creation
 

Evidence 1: Usability Test

3 out of 4 usability test participants confessed ambiguity between “Create list” and “Add symbol” when they were asked to create a watchlist for the first time.


Evidence 2: Usability Test

In the tests, we also saw that users found the three dots icon to be confusing when they create a new watchlist.

f2.png
f2b.png

First time creating watchlist:

 

 Step 1: + Create Watchlist;

Step 2: Name the watchlist;

Step 3: Add Symbols (multiple selections).

Key Finding 3: Limited navigation & search feature.

Recommendation 3: ‘Redesign of main menu and search function
 

Evidence 1: Usability Test

One of the participants’ main struggles occurred when they tried to find a predefined watchlist.


Evidence 2: Heuristic Evaluation

The app does not allow users to search for specific companies, financial assets, or news by inputting keywords.
 

f3.png

Add a hamburger menu to the navigation bar

f3b.png
f3c.png

Broaden the scope of the search function.

Key Finding 4: Cryptocurrency as a distinct, but hard to find feature.

Recommendation 4: Add Cryptocurrency market in the top sub-navigation

Evidence 1: Comparative Evaluation

Competition usually only has BTC-USD, while YF has Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.


Evidence 2: Surveys and Interview

Growing interest in cryptocurrencies as supplement to traditional assets.

Evidence 3: Usability Test

f4a.png
f4b.png