The beginning of March brought us to the end—really the beginning—of a long but satisfying journey. For nearly nine months, we have been hard at work developing a competing product with the likes of Mint and Wesabe. Both products are good at what they promise to do, but for many people who need more "personal attention" they leave much to be desired. Enter Solutions web app found at actfinancially.com.
Late last summer, two women entrepreneurs approached us with a detailed concept for a new financial tracking web application. Drawing on decades of corporate and financial experience, Jo Bittof and Nancy Lowery articulated a vision of a robust, user-friendly financial tracker surrounded and supported by educational materials, coaching and a personal rewards program. Their goal was to create a platform that would allow individuals and families to address bad financial habits the same way people learn to lose weight and get healthy: with an emphasis on education, accountability, habit formation, reinforcement and conditioning.
What is Solutions?
Solutions contains a full-featured set of budget planning and reporting tools. The transaction register is based on manual entry to force the user to maintain top-of-mind awareness of each and every transaction. For convenience, transfers between multiple accounts, cash withdrawals, reconciliation tags and commenting areas are supported under the register. At any time, the user can run reports on their spending and saving patterns as well as comparisons against their ideal budget.
Those interested in learning more about the whys and hows of financial planning and management can turn to two main areas for education and personal growth: the community and coaching sections. Community features forums, where people can ask questions, get opinions, be inspired by others’ successes, and learn from mistakes. A rich knowledge base is made available, easily accessed in the coaching section. There, the user can find skillfully written articles--sorted by topic—as well as quizzes, videos and a blog published by Jo and Nancy.
Finally, Solutions features a rewards system, to reinforce learning and good financial behavior. Each time the user completes a task in Solutions—such as reading an informative article or completing a step toward financial independence--they receive a reward in the form of "Golden Eggs." The eggs can then be redeemed for prizes.
It Takes a Village
As Designsensory moves from project development to release, our role transitions to one of promotion and refinement. We launched a beta-testing program to capture early adopters and early bugs, and now we provide an integrated online-marketing strategy.
Of particular note and pride to me is the sheer breadth and scope Designsensory played in the creation of this product. Starting with the brand identity and positioning we moved through architecture and feature planning, usability and interface prototyping, and design and technical development of the web-application itself. We deployed E-commerce to fulfill the user transactions and wrote the logic behind the rewards tracking. On the marketing side, we have concept, strategy and artwork in place for display, social and email campaigns to get the word out.
To sum it up, our entire team did a bang-up job on this application. The interface is magic, and the logic behind the number tracking, reporting and rewards programs is particularly amazing (woot to our tech team!). Also noteworthy is the detailed and inspired work Mark put into the construction of the user interface. We both worked hard to identify the values of the brand and to structure the flow of an elegant user-interface experience, but Mark stayed on tactical point throughout the whole development. His stamp of diligence stretches across every page, grouping and button, resulting in something cohesively articulated and pleasurable to use.
So, if you are a parent looking to find the money for braces or a recent grad with a new job looking to save for a home check out Solutions today. You bring the goals and it'll help get you there.