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Bank of America

Developing trust through onboarding 

Bank of America's budgeting and financial planning tool 'Life Plan' aims to guide customers along a life-long financial journey.


The long-term vision for the product is to tailor personalized guidance by accounting for a customer's unique and evolving life circumstances and goals. To get there, BOA must piece together a more complete data portrait of their customers.

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Experience Strategy          Workshop Facilitation           User Experience Design  


Bank of America's focus is on improving relationships with customers and overall favorability.

How might Life Plan request the data that would enable it to deliver meaningful insight and secure those relationships?



Bank of America must establish trust early on to earn the expansive pool of data that Life Plan necessitates. Onboarding presents the best opportunity, as well as risk, for first impressions set the tone of all relationships.  

  • Top of funnel: Onboarding impacts the greatest number of potential Life Plan users

  • Critical to use and retention: 75% of users abandon an app in the first week 1 

  • Sets the relationship tone: customer satisfaction and cross-sell success both improve as users are contacted more frequently in onboarding


A First Best Customer helps to bridge the gap between today’s audience and future opportunities. They experience transferable needs and therefore are most likely to use and evangelize the product.  In the case of Bank of America's Life Plan, it was critical the First Best Customer also exhibited key behaviors and mindsets that would make them likely to use the service early & often. This customer became our design target.

Millenial Doers:

/ Have multiple financial products

/ Digitally-savvy, and use financial apps/wallets often

/ Open to developing and improving healthy financial habits

/ Pursuing at least one goal related to finances


Our FBCs have a unique set of unmet needs related to choosing paths and achieving goals in life. Onboarding was especially well suited to solving the former- determining direction. With building trust as has our guiding light, it was critical that onboarding moved users in positive and personalized directions from the onset.

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Concept Testing

Prior to moving forward, it was important that BOA concept and evaluate a few different experience territories for onboarding. Putting prototypes in front of users would help us to validate our design target's needs, values, and what they expected from the onboarding experience.

In-going hypotheses:

BOA must...

  • Understand goals by understanding users’ lives, not just their finances

  • Listen and adapt to each user, avoiding assumptions around what they know or don't know

  • Request personal information over time, not all at once

  • Provide multi-faceted ways to engage, not an online-only experience

  • Provide users with control through optionality, never one size fits all

Learning Objectives:

  • How much time and effort are users willing to devote to onboarding?

  • How open are users to sharing personal information and to what extent early in the process?

  • What forms of value exchange are most condusive to building confidence and trust?

We prototyped three unique onboarding experiences in ways that would allow us assess the degree to which users would invest time and energy, the type of information they were willing to provide and in which order, as well as the channels they were most comfortable sharing information.

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01| Quick'n Easy

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Straightforward questions  gather the basics of a Life Plan profile- including standard info related to one's finances. 

Goals based on one's financial situation add a layer of intelligence to the process. Users chose which goals to move forward with.

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02| Contextual

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Q&A categories cover a range of topics that, together, help to shape recommended goals in context, today and over time.

A mix of multiple-choice and long-form answers surface priorities grounded in one's long-term beliefs and day-to-day realities 

Recommended plans offer a starting place and help users weigh the tradeoffs before committing to a plan.

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03| Behavioral

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Users connect their accounts to Life Plan to create a holistic view of their financial picture.


They are encouraged to sign up for one-on-ones via chat,  phone call, or in-person before completing daily activities. 

At the end of 30-days, users receive a report that places their current financial picture in context to their current habits.

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My Contributions

  1. Led in the design and facilitation of our client-facing ideation workshop

  2. Brainstormed concepts and materials for testing

  3. Storyboarded, wireframed, and prototyped final product demo assets

  4. Worked alongside Senior Consultants to present a vision for Life Plan to senior stakeholders

1. Led in the design and facilitation of our client-facing ideation workshop


2. Brainstormed and designed concepts for testing

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3.  Storyboarded, wireframed, and prototyped final product demo assets

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John Erekson (Assoc. Producer)

Stef Hoffman (Director)

Alex Dempsey (Senior Consultant 

Gene Perelson (Creative Director)

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