Our client wanted to make the college planning process easier for everyone— we helped them design and launch an award-winning College Cost Calculator.

User Testing with Teenagers


Our client wanted to build a calculator to make the college planning process easier for students and their families, but they didn’t want to build only the calculator— they had an entire suite of financial services that they wanted to role out to prospective college students and their parents. They asked us to spend about five months testing various designs with a custom audience recruited from Useagility testers, including the establishment of a Teenage User Advisory Board where they could market-test new materials every year.


Making College Planning Easier By Gaining Users’ Insights

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 iterations 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.

“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. Useagility has always placed design thinking and a user-centered approach at the core of their technology design and innovation process, which is why we rely on them as a research and design partner.”

Client, Chief Innovation Officer


Creating Change With User Experience Design – And Getting Results

The team’s hard work paid impressive dividends. In the first few months since launching the calculator on their site, referrals to the clients college planning practice increased dramatically. Online referrals increased six-fold in the first two months. Even better, referrals more than doubled from the credit union’s branch offices.

As the first and only college cost calculator that compares the true cost of college for 6,000+ schools in a single click, the client changed 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 the clients website.