UX Case Study: TradeMob, a Discussion Forum for Novice Investors and Experts with a Touch of Memes :)

Project Brief

Create a new feature, a forum, for ABC Company, an award-winning financial website which boasts content from leading experts and numerous partner sites such as Reuters, CNBC, Nasdaq and more.
TalkMarkets aims to create a Forum where users can interact with each other, exchange ideas on trading, get advice from experts, and also laugh over memes and create an inclusive environment. This forum would help establish a cross pollination of ideas between users and financial experts.

UX Team: Alejandro, Allison, Branko, Gus and Pallavi

My Role: UX Researcher + Designer

Timeframe: 3 Weeks

Status: Complete

Problem Scope

The world of social forums (Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, etc.) combined with recently created services (Robinhood, Webull, Ameritrade, etc.) that allow regular people to trade on the stock market without paying fees, have created something that was unthinkable just a few years ago. MEME STOCKS! A new paradigm in investing!

Meme stocks can be categorized as stocks that have experienced price surges in spite of common sense, despite no apparent explanation.

One such social forum where these rebellious trolls share ideas, complain, argue, and advocate for the next meme stock, all the while having self deprecating, self-loathing humor govern the space is r/WallStreetBets, a subreddit with over 10 million users has grown to prominence in the last few years, particularly after the GameStop crisis.

Due to this explosion in popularity, WSB is now experiencing problems that were not present before. There are pump and dumpers, manipulators, assorted crazies that leave wildly inappropriate comments, making noise in the forum.

Small investors are looking for a platform where they can exchange trade related ideas, participate in free speech, share their gains, losses and memes.

“How might we provide small investors, a platform to connect online, feel comfortable and free to speak their mind, and be able to share all the trade related information and memes with other investors, in an environment that respects their cultural affinities?”

Our client, TalkMarkets, has an opportunity to solve for those problems, since TalkMarkets already runs a website that is all about helping users find the content they are looking for.

Goal

The purpose was to figure out what were the pain points and frustrations that our users are currently facing when trying to gather information about investments on a social forum and and to determine what would make a great financial social network that offers entertainment and information.

Methodology

Business Model Canvas
We conducted the BMC to understand the value proposition that TalkMarkets offers its users. The most unique offerings are: Equity offering for Contributor articles; Educational Content; Customized content and browsing experience. This would help us integrate the new feature and align it with similar value proposition.

Competitive Analysis
We evaluated six existing discussion boards/social forums, that users were currently engaging in, to determine strengths, weaknesses and opportunities that we could potentially leverage in our product.

Screener Survey
We conducted Screener Survey so we could pick and filter users based on our goals. We wanted to interview people who were investing in stocks and were members of social forums. We received 18 responses

User Interviews
We conducted User interviews to understand how users are currently engaging in social investment forums. What attracts them to these forums and what challenges they face. We conducted 13 interviews.

What we learnt:

“I find memes are a valuable source of entertainment on social forums.”

“I want to get advice from credible experts in finance.”

“I prefer to base my decisions on facts and data.”

“I engage with like-minded people on investment forums, when looking for investment trends.”

“I want my browsing experience to be customized, based on my preferences.”

User Persona

Created a persona based on our user research and synthesis. Our persona, Douglas, represents our target audience and we will keep him in mind, when we go into design solutions.

User Journey Map

Creating a journey map for Douglas helped build empathy for our users. We outlined the steps Douglas would take in trying to research about a stock he was interested in. The journey was sectioned into five phases and depicts the emotional experience Douglas goes through as he travels through the task.
With the journey map, we were able to visualize the opportunities that stem from the challenges our users face and integrate these into our design solutions to help Douglas and others like him.

MoSCoW Map

We came up with features, we thought would help Douglas with his challenges. We assembled these into segments of MUST, SHOULD, COULD and WON’T, based on what is most essential for our MVP.
We decided that we MUST have: Filter Feed Option, Mute Post, Flag Post, Mute User, Block User, Follow User, Tickers and Charts, Sort By, Send Private Message and Verified Users.
We SHOULD have: Memes, Trending Stocks, Ability to Post Charts, Topics based on Hot, New and Top

Design Solutions

Our team went into Design Studio and came up with some low-fidelity hand sketched designs for three tasks we determined to be the key areas we would work on in our MVP. We figured these three tasks were most vital to our users and helping solve these would bring value to our product.

Mid-Fidelity Prototype

We created the mid-fidelity prototype based on three tasks:
1) Mute a post
2) Filter your feed by “verified users” only.
3) Reach out to a verified user.

Usability Testing

We conducted testing with five users remotely. We conducted the tests to understand if our proposed design was intuitive and navigable. And if it was indeed helping our users solve their problem.

What we found was that
Task One was 100% successful
Task Two was 70% successful
Task Three was 60% successful

We realized that the way we worded the Task Three was misleading to users and so we framed the question differently for our second round of testing.

Task Three was now: Reach out to a verified user “privately.”

We saw significant improvement in the results once we reframed the task. From 60% success rate to 100% success rate!

Hi-Fidelity Prototype

Recommended Next Steps

  1. Collaborate with development team and estimate time and effort it would take going into each of the features we designed.
  2. Conduct usability testing for the Desktop prototype.
  3. Conduct user research for the ‘Experts’ in finance and build a second persona and determine how this second persona can help Douglas be that early bird who makes 30K the next time there’s a lucrative short squeeze.

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