CommunityAmerica College Planning
Innovation and Design Thinking in FinTech
Innovation in the FinTech Space
Innovation is happening all around us, and the FinTech space is no different. Kansas City’s CommunityAmerica Credit Union became a major player in the innovation movement in March by launching their College Cost Calculator, which makes the college planning process easier for students and their families.
CommunityAmerica began with only an idea for the application, and in a span of five short months, they fully designed, built, and launched the College Cost Calculator. The credit union partnered with Useagility to consult on user research and design.
“Useagility has always placed design thinking and a user-centered approach at the core of their technology design and innovation process,” says CommunityAmerica’s Chief Innovation Officer Anita Newton. “Their process aligns with ours, and we rely on them as a research and design partner.”
When we started, we really didn’t know what we’d end up building – if anything. The most important part of the process was making sure we were solving the right problem and to fail fast with prototypes, giving us the opportunity to correct course along the way and ensure our technology investment would get business results.
Vice President, Operations
Making College Planning Easier by Gaining Users’ Insights
CommunityAmerica and Useagility prioritized gathering user feedback throughout the process of creating the calculator. This fast and iterative process included formative user research, design concepts, wireframes, prototypes and collaborative design revisions along the way as the team learned what worked, and what flopped. The company’s investment in a Teen Advisory Council played a critical role in identifying the opportunity and shaping the solution with direct input from teens and their families who are themselves preparing to pay for college.
Creating Change with User Experience Design – And Getting Results
The team’s hard work paid off in folds. Since launching the calculator on their web site in early March, referrals to CommunityAmerica’s college planning practice have increased dramatically. Online referrals have increased six-fold since March. Even better, referrals more than doubled from the credit union’s branch offices.
CommunityAmerica has launched the first and only college cost calculator that compares the true cost of college for 6,000+ schools in a single click, changing the playing field for innovation in the FinTech industry.
Listening to their users and designing collaboratively worked. The calculator’s success has helped move the College and Career section of the web site to one of the most trafficked areas of CommunityAmerica’s website.
To check out the calculator yourself and learn more click here.