Unified Experience
Unified Experience
Appropriate Feedback
A voice to the words
Harbor learns and educates
Harbor emulates a direct message conversation with chat bubbles and other correspnding ui elements. In previous iterations, this was broken up across multiple screens making the experience disjointed. Instead, Henry the digital FA,  speaks with the user in a friendly tone, asking standard questions, and being upfront with why he’s requesting sensitive information.  
Despite being a chat UI emulation, User won’t key in every answer. Instead, input methods are tailored to the question to reduce errors.
Harbor’s goal is to keep the user relaxed, and show the 401(k) process is low stress. Live visual feedback is used to keep the user informed to all processes and avoid anxiety from the unknown.
Often disclaimers are presented within a pop-up overlay, or on a seperate screen. This is disruptive to the experience, and comes off as cold. Harbor uses Henry, the digital FA, and the chat interface to present information that’s necessary to the user as part of the conversation. Disclaimer’s now come from a voice who’s familiar to the user.
Users can find value in Harbor, because it tailors a retirement plan to them by understanding their income, past savings, and their familiarity to investing in a 401(k). Additionally, Harbor is also a tool that can get users up to speed with retirement planning and 401(k) investing.
Steering the Overview
Harbor was created with the intention of building rapport with users. However, an issue with their onboarding process from the beginning was how to stay compliant with their fiduciary responsibilities and to keep the process simple.
Thinking of the real life analogues, the “Plan Overview” was developed. Creating a thoughtful IA, utilizing a main page digest, tabs, and a strong visual hierarchy was key to building a easily understandible, yet fully comprehensive, plan overview.
Digital 401(k) Financial Advisor
Retirement outlook for Americans is looking incredibly bleak. Nearly 21% of Americans have no retirement saving according to Emmie Martin of MSNBC. Another 66% believe they will outlive their retirement savings. 401(k) provider VestHQ has taken on the challenge of reversing this trend with Harbor, a mobile app created to eliminate the roadblocks inherent in other provider’s processes. In order to surpass the status quo, Harbor needed a stronger design, and a strategic approach to the sign-up process
VestHQ’s goal for Harbor is simple, improve employee participation in 401(k)s, by appealing to the everyday employee of SMBs, who are typically non-investors. Universally, not many people opt in, or care for their company sponsored 401(k). To achieve this Harbor was created in as a mobile app. To go further, it would need to become a digital financial advisor, building trust, and taking the tedium out of the sign-up and transfer process. Additionally, careful consideration to the IA was an absolute must.
What we had
What we needed to create
UX Designer / PM
3 months
Sketch, Axure
A 401(k) provider with the first mobile only  sign-up and management app, aimed at SMBs.
Making a Splash Screen
Harbor wastes no time in building trust. Being forward with it’s purpose, and the user’s possible time commitment means a less anxious user.
Trimming the Onboarding
Advanced Options
Staying within compliance is diffcult while also balancing UX principles. Legally, Harbor has to provide functionality to allow all users to make changes to their plans.

But, Harbor can’t make future recommendations or adjustments to plans that are customized.

There’s a desire to “protect the user from themselves” while also wanting to trust in the user’s ability to understand the product.

Harbor was designed for the user who doesn’t have a lot of experience with investing or managing a 401(k). But, there are users who may desire control over their plan and how it develops.
It was an honest struggle deciding how to remain transparent, provide functionality, and protect users from major mistakes
The solution lied in a compromise. Users had to understand the severity of consequences when customizing their 401(k) plans. The only way to do this was to interrupt the exploration and analysis of the Allocation tab, and limit access to customization behind a few extra steps. The advance users aren’t Harbor’s target user, and providing upfront access won’t empower users with a healthy retirement so much as ruin their future.
Sailing toward the Future
Future iterations will explore some ideas with considerations toward IA. Speficially, the On boarding phase in which the user interacts with Herny includes a section of forms that the user must check over.
Mac Hanaman - UX Designer and Advocate