Investing at Allstate

  1. Project Name: Quantamental Research Platform
  2. Client: Allstate Investments
  3. Project Duration: Ongoing
  4. My Role: Lead UX researcher and designer, technology consultant
Image 1 - Dashboard wireframe during early ideating
Image 2 - Early wireframe exploration of data visualization
Image 3 - Final dashboard wireframe
Image 4 - Final data page wireframe

Data Synthesis. Investment Insights.

  1. Affected user: Allstate investment and portfolio managers who need to research and analyze various asset classes and securities to make informed and profitable investment decisions.
  2. Issue or problem: They have to use many different research tools that are disconnected and spread across different systems. This makes it difficult to correlate and compare information, and to follow a consistent and systematic approach for investment decision making.
  3. Solution: An all-in-one investment research platform that brings all the disparate tools together to provide a better workflow.
  4. Why they need it: Portfolio managers realized poor investment decisions could be made due to fast-moving markets and switching back and forth between several applications while trying to keep information in short-term memory.
Image 5 - First hifi dashboard design using Allstate’s retail design system
Image 6 - Later hifi design iteration depicting a time series chart
Image 7 - Later hifi design iteration exploring graphical navigation

Building the Dream

  1. Research methods: I conducted user interviews with portfolio managers and stakeholders to understand their needs, pain points, goals, and expectations. I also reviewed the existing tools. I conducted user tests with clickable wireframes and prototypes.
  2. Team: As the only UX person, I worked closely with a team of six full stack developers and one product owner. I also acted as the project manager and the liaison between the development team and the product owner.
  3. Image 8 - Examples of light mode design system components
    Image 9 - Examples of dark mode design system components
  4. Problems:
    1. Users wanted a platform that could provide them with a streamlined workflow for quantitative insights spanning assets, sectors, and securities.
    2. They wanted to be able to perform various types of analysis, such as factor analysis, scenario analysis, risk analysis, and attribution analysis.
    3. They also wanted to have access to data from multiple sources, such as Bloomberg, Morningstar, and Allstate’s own data warehouse.
    4. They wanted to be able to visualize the data in different ways, such as charts, tables, dashboards, and reports.
    5. They also wanted to have some guidance and recommendations based on Allstate’s investment strategy and policies.
  5. Challenges:
    1. Accommodate different types of users, such as portfolio managers, analysts, and quants, who had different levels of expertise, preferences, and goals.
    2. Integrate data from multiple sources and formats, and ensure its quality, accuracy, and consistency.
    3. Provide a consistent and intuitive user interface across different devices, such as tablet and web/desktop.
    4. Balance the trade-off between functionality and simplicity, and avoid overwhelming the users with too much information or options.
    5. Adapt to the changing needs and expectations of the users and the market, and support continuous improvement and innovation.
  6. Decision and rationale: with user-centered approach, I created a platform that could meet the users’ needs and expectations, and provide them with a better user experience.
    1. Involving the users throughout the design process, I ensured that the platform was aligned with their goals, preferences, and feedback, and that it solved their problems and challenges.
    2. Using a modular and component-based design system, I ensured the platform was consistent, scalable, and reusable.
    3. Using an agile and iterative process, I ensured that the platform was tested and validated with the users, incorporating their suggestions and improvements.
Image 10 - Hifi mockup of the Portfolio Detail page
Image 11 - Hifi mockup of the Sector Positioning page

From Prototype to Prodigious

  1. User testing and design iteration process:
    1. Created clickable prototypes using Axure and Adobe XD, and tested them with the users.
    2. Conducted other usability testing such as heuristic evaluations and cognitive walkthroughs.
    3. Observed user behavior, reactions, and feedback, and iterated on the design based on the findings and insights.
    4. Communicated the design specifications and guidelines to the developers using Jira, and reviewed the implemented interfaces to ensure they matched the intended designs.
  2. Successes and Metrics:
    1. Adoption increased by more than 50% with the addition of new features and functionalities.
    2. Users reported they could perform their tasks faster and more efficiently with the platform.
    3. Users reported that they could make better and more informed investment decisions, as they had more insights and recommendations based on quantitative and fundamental analysis.
Image 12 - Hifi mockup of the Screener page
Image 13 - Hifi mockup of the Equity Detail page

Beyond the Blueprint

  1. Be flexible and adaptable to the changing needs and expectations of the users and the market.
  2. Support continuous improvement and innovation.
  3. Balance the trade-off between functionality and simplicity, and avoid overwhelming the users with too much information or options.
  4. Plan for design and technical debt, and dedicate time and resources to fix them in the future.

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