Fidelity In the Money
UX design, project leadership
Fidelity In the Money: Product for high value customers
In Spring 2014, Fidelity Investments launched a quarterly digital magazine "In the Money" aimed at its high trading customers and potential high-net, high-trading customers. The goal was to create content that would suit this user group and present the content in an engaging way to users resulting in increased trade volumes and new account opens.
But the first issue of the magazine failed to create an excitement among the target users and did not produce an uptick in trade numbers.
I was brought in to lead the project for the magazine's second (and possibly future) edition(s). My challenge was twofold.
1. As the Project Lead, I needed to devise an effective content strategy and create an optimal user experience that drove up trade.
2. Since there were multiple teams (external and internal) involved in the overall design, creation and delivery of the magazine, I had to ensure smooth flow of information and communication across teams.
I worked with the content editors and the user research team to create an effective content strategy for our target users and partnered with the design and technology teams to create and implement an engaging and interactive experience for our users.
The first issue published under my leadership was very successful - showing higher engagement from target users and an uptick in trade. Over the course of next 2 years, I successfully led the project improving user engagement by 60% and driving up trade by 147%. The magazine also won several industry awards during this time.
PS: This project has a strict NDA, so some of the visuals have been modified accordingly.
My first step was to look at the user feedback and data analytics of the first edition that revealed 3 critical problems:
1. The content strategy was designed to attract peripheral users to the magazine in addition to the target users to drive up more trades. This strategy backfired because both sets of users felt that the magazine was not "speaking to them."
2. The platform on which the magazine was built/published was not suited for long-form content and made the user experience very exhaustive and clunky.
3. Consistency: Some parts of user experience were not consistent with the Fidelity brand making the users feel disconnected and disengaged with the brand.
To create an effective content strategy for our target users, I used existing research and personas to understand the user and its content requirements.
Since user personas were universal for all products under the Fidelity umbrella, I reached out to other content teams within Fidelity that targeted this user group. Analysis from these sources revealed the type of content that had performed well with this user group.
Using these content blocks as my guiding point, I created a list of topics that would be most interesting to these users and presented to my editor. After further data analysis and collaboration with senior editors and user researchers, we finalized a set of topics deemed "essential" for the magazine.
I also compared user feedback received by other teams on their content with the feedback received for In the Money's first edition to identify visual elements, charts and other graphics. Some teams within Fidelity tracked the helpfulness of the content by a "helpfulness" metrics and looking at the metrics showed that breaking long-form financial content with charts, illustrative graphics or pull-out quotes made it easily digestible to the users and made the overall experience more engaging for the users.
Finally, I needed to resolve the challenge of including some content for the secondary user group.
After several discussions with the team, we decided to create 80% of the content with a focus on the primary user and keep the other 20% for topics that will resonate with both primary and secondary users.
For the final 20% content, I created a list of topics that resonate with the secondary user group and prioritized these topics as per the preferences of the primary user. This intersection of content allowed me to target both sets of users without disengaging any group.
Once the content was finalized, I shifted focus on content layout.
Most of the Fidelity digital content appears as a traditional long scroll. For "In the Money" experience however, there was some desire to experiment with an alternate layout to provide a different experience to the users.
In view of this, I worked with the design team to create 2 different wireframes.
The first was the traditional long scroll design with text blocks punctuated with larger visuals and graphics.
The second was a tabbed approach to content where a story would always stay above the fold and users could click on different tabs to get to different sections of the story.
A/B testing of the designs showed that a majority of our target users preferred the "long scroll" design because it was in sync with their experience at Fidelity.com and also because the long format of our content meant that users had to click the tabs multiple times to be able to consume all content or go back-and-forth with the content rendering the experience cumbersome.
The team had used "Citia" as the web publishing platform for the first edition. The platform contained several "stacks of cards" with each stack containing a topic and users could read small segments of the content on each card before moving on to the next one.
While Citia worked very well for promotional and advertising campaigns with small blurbs of text and impactful images, it was not an optimal platform for long-form content that we were creating. Clicking through multiple cards to get through a single story was not an optimal experience for the users. And the experience degraded further on small devices.
I was looking for a digital platform that worked seamlessly across devices, provided built-in interactivity and flexibility to lay out content and offered a great reading experience to our users.
I partnered with the tech/production and design teams during our search for the new platform. I wanted the design team to test how well the platform can be adapted to fit our design needs. At the same time, I also wanted to ensure that the platform was not too cumbersome to use. I did not want a platform that would involve a steep learning curve for the production team as it would take away time from other critical projects. Therefore the platform needed to be simple enough for the team to quickly understand its framework/CMS to be able to have the magazine ready for publication and delivery.
I worked with the design and production teams to try a few different platforms and after thorough testing, we finalized "Ceros" as the platform of choice since it offered the right balance of flexibility and simplicity that we were looking for.
Even though In the Money was not published on the Fidelity website , it was still a part of the Fidelity brand and needed to be consistent with other digital properties within the Fidelity umbrella.
Design review from the first edition had revealed that most users felt confused about not finding call-to-action buttons in places that they expected them to be. Also, social engagement numbers were low because the social media icons were hidden behind a dropdown button - as part of the platform's native design - rather than being always visible on Fidelity's content page.
Partnering with the metrics team, I worked to make the placement of key elements such as user-feedback form, "call-to-action" buttons etc. consistent with the overall Fidelity experience to address user engagement concerns.
The second issue of the magazine was successfully launched in Fall 2014 at one of Fidelity's signature events and received a great response. A quarterly analysis revealed an uptick in trades by about 150%. The magazine also won several digital awards and recognitions.