The Loan Ranger

  • Project Type: HCI Course Project / Mobile App Development
  • Timeframe: Fall 2014 / 5 months
  • My Contributions: User Interviews, Mockup Design, User Personas, Usability Testing
  • Collaborators: Karen Aguar, Mitch Rice, Neel Rana

Overview

In the US, an increasing number of students are taking out federal loans to pay for their college education. This has led to an estimated $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt among 38 million borrowers. My team set out to further understand the motivations and behaviors of these actors by conducting user research, brainstorming ideas, and finally designing a system that addressed problem. The final deliverable was a beta version of an Android application.

Challenge

Creating an application that connects students to a debt-free version of themselves.

User Research

90+ students surveyed

6+ one-on-one interviews

Stakeholders

Our research focused on the 3 vital stakeholders in this problem domain:

Primary: Students
  • Graduate, Undergraduate, Alumni
  • High School: Those who will be attending college in the near future and plan on taking out loans.
Secondary: Financial Institutions
  • Directly or indirectly provide loans
  • Federal groups, Banks, Financial Aid Offices
Tertiary: Parents
  • May assist students in loan payment

Survey Findings

Analysis

SURVEY: We surveyed a total of 97 high school, college undergrad, graduates, and alumni. In this pool, more than 50% of them had outstanding student loan debt. We also saw that high school students expected to accumulate less than $10,000 in loans. However, the average college graduate accumulated 3x more than that amount.

INTERVIEWS: After interviewing at least 3 people from each stakeholder group, we found that current students are occupied with schoolwork or enjoying college life and were not actively planning how they will pay off their loans, nor did they think about how much interest they will accrue.

Design

Wireframes/Mockups

Usability Tests

10+ lab participants

20+ hours logged

Methods

  • Heuristic Evaluation
  • Keystroke Level Evaluation
  • Benchmark Tests
  • Observational Study
  • Post-Study Questionnaire

Benchmark Tasks

  1. Users are able to calculate monthly payments based on their desired pay-off date.
  2. Users are able to calculate pay-off date based on their desired monthly payment.
  3. Users are motivated by the “fun fact” on what they can save if they increased payments and reduced the interest amount.

Findings

  • 82% of users found the app easy to use.
  • 82% of users found the app financially useful.
  • 81% of users felt motivated by the fun fact feature.
  • Users completed tasks within an average of 13.29 seconds.

Final Beta Application