Designing for Makers and More (Week 5 Update)

This is part five in a series detailing updates to our research into makers working contract jobs. You can read part one here and part two here, part three here, part four here, and you can find information on our research here.

Design Team: Kyle Beck, Sean Redmond, Lauren Sands

Overview

We are in week five of our quarter-long project where we have been building on our previous research of the financial behaviors of contract workers in creative industries (i.e., “makers”). After considering stakeholder feedback from last week and evaluating the financial viability of both Slider and Foresight, we narrowed our focus to Foresight, and will be spending the rest of the quarter prototyping and proving viability.  

Foresight

Foresight is a financial app for contract workers who are looking for solutions to the administrative headache of being self employed. What sets this application apart from competitors is the integration of invoicing and saving. Foresight allows users to determine the percentage of their invoice they would like to dedicate to checking and savings accounts at the same moment the invoice is being created. Then, it automatically sorts those funds accordingly once they are received. Furthermore, you can use the software to create savings goals by category and move funds easily between those sub-accounts, without having to create actual separate bank accounts.

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Progress Made This Week

This week, we focused on synthesizing the feedback we received last week from potential users as well as experienced investors. We built a prototype of Foresight and updated a Splash Page to better communicate the functionality and value we could bring to users.

Our three major goals:

Build Prototype

Foresight (as we are currently imagining it) will need access to user’s bank accounts and have the ability to move money from one account to the other. This means we would need highly sensitive information, and we do not feel comfortable holding this information for our users at this time. The software and development it would take to build a full application is also quite significant. We’ve built a prototype of the Foresight app to serve as a proxy. With this prototype service we will build invoices for our users based on the information they send us in a form they provide us, and then we will follow up with them to remind them how much they selected to move to their savings account. While this isn’t as effortless as we imagine the functionality of our future application will provide, we believe that it still offers the core accountability to help independent contract workers save more regularly.

Prove Need

We think if people are willing to use our prototype, it will help us prove the viability of a future, fully built product. We’ve reached out to potential users in our network (including all of the individuals we interviewed during the research phase of this project), and also cast a wider net through Craigslist and Facebook ads. So far, we have had 3 users commit to using our prototype. Currently, we will be providing Foresight to these individuals free of charge.

Refine Product

At the same time we are operating and marketing our prototype, we are working to further define what our full product will look like and making decisions about full functionality. To achieve this we have begun to refine story boards and build low-fidelity wire frames showing what a future the fully build Foresight application will look and feel like.

Next Steps

Over the next week, we will continue working in parallel on our detailed design idea as well as driving users of our more paired down prototype. We plan to get feedback from those who become users of our prototype, and incorporate necessary improvements into the prototype as well as the plans for our fully designed application.