Finding a true UX professional is never an easy task; but, when it comes to finding a UX professional for a fintech project, the bar is raised even higher.
There are no two Fintech businesses alike and there’s a minimum of business understanding required to even bring a UX professional onboard of which without it, no UX professional can have a basic understanding on your specific project.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some characteristics that define a fitting UX Professional for your Fintech product.
Here are 9 rules to finding a good UX Professional in the Fintech Industry:
1. Make sure their background preferably includes Cognitive Psychology or System Analysis.
Yes, these are two fields that have very little in common. UX professionals with knowledge in Cognitive Psychology will be able to quickly understand your users’ pain points and context of use, and in turn, will identify and prioritize them for you.
UX professionals with a System Analysis background have a wider angle of the variables in the project and, hence, will probably require less user insights, but will sure identify the end-cases of your product.
Don’t be fooled – software engineers are less likely to be UX professionals, as they tend to see things through an engineering point of view and, well, that doesn’t have much to do with the user. (Note: This is not strictly unique to Fintech, rather, applicable to user experience in general.)
2. Make sure they have a business understanding.
The Financial Technology market is huge with various user types and needs. Each business in the Fintech world has its own business logic and a different set of “WWW” –What’s for sale, Who are the clients and Why should they buy this.
Understanding the business before the design research is no less than critical, as professionals in the finance markets will not even bother talking to your UX professional, or anyone else, for that matter, on business they know nothing about.
I spent over a week on the trade room floor before I was allowed to talk to an FX trader. Ask your candidates one or two questions about your project business.
For example, if you deal with FX options, they must understand what an “in the money” option is. If they don’t – there is a business gap to bridge.
3. Demand design research.
If your candidate does not include design research in a quote or agenda, this is a no go, even if your user experience candidate has been involved in other Fintech projects.
There is an exception to this rule – if your candidate has been working on an exact same product (how likely is this to happen, really?) aiming to the same users – only then, design research can be re-consider; however, this situation, of course, brings up an ethics question.
4. Other than my mother-in-law, no one knows everything.
The Fintech industry is a lot like the Healthcare industry. Industry professional need to have very wide knowledge as basic foundation; only then, can they expand their knowledge in sub-expertise specialties, such as FX, equities, and so on.
Most likely your UX professionals will not complete a project like you initially intend them to do. They must acknowledge that they have a knowledge gap to close before they even start running design research. Yup, even if they have done fintec UX project in the past
If they tell you they already know it all – this is a deal breaker.
5. Following rule #4, the term “Task Analysis” must be included in any UX quote or Job description.
UX professionals can create a “Task Analysis” only if the business knowledge gap is closed and design research is complete.
UX professionals don’t have to know up front what tasks to need to be analyzed, but must include it and specification of the deliverables.
6. Make sure your UX professional shows design or interaction change that is based on user property.
Have your candidate point out a user property in a previous project that led to design on interaction change.
For instance, working on an FX trading platform, I was able to prove that the cost of not presenting a P&L indicator that shows a profit is significantly lower comparing to the benefit of not presenting P&L indicator showing loss. Therefore, I recommended removing the P&L indicator.
7. Make sure your UX professional has an understanding of usability research.
Ask your candidates to talk you about a methodology of a previously conducted user research. The results are of a less importance. However, your UX professional candidate must have experience creating, executing and insight mining such a process.
8. Ensure that they understand your business goals.
Your candidate must know that every user experience should be aligned with business goals. Therefore, clear, quantifiable and measured business goals must be understood by any UX professional.
Without understanding business goals – they can’t possibly align to them, right?
Candidate that doesn’t ask for business goal is a no go.
9. Check if their previous work is live in the air or if they are keeping confidentiality.
Unlike other industries, Fintech projects are not available for everyone to use. Mobile and Web apps are not available for all consumers, so, chances are you are not going to be able to actually experience those projects hands-on without a “production account”.
Another challenge is the massive and, sometimes, even aggressive NDA your candidates are under. If your candidate tells you they are under a massive NDA and can only show you portions of work – that’s actually okay, as this candidate will probably keep your information confidential with the next client/employer as well.
How are you going to know this candidate has really been involved in this project? Don’t sweat it, if they are under an NDA, it’s fine. If you got the impression that they are following clauses 1-8, then they are probably good.