Director of UX- 2018-2020
Robustwealth is a Financial Service company that empowers advisors with innovative digital technology and signature service to help clients achieve financial wellness. They have three platforms. Client, Advisor, and Enterprise. Robustwealth was acquired by Principal Financial Group in 2018.
ROLE & RESPONSIBILITY
I was the Director of UX and Creative at Robustwealth. I had a team of 3 designers report to me. I reported to the Head of Product and I worked closely with the VP of Marketing. My role was to mentor younger designers and help them grow individually, professionally, and technically. I was tasked with organizing and coming up with a system to better communicate designs across the organization. This includes design audits, tooling between design, development, and leadership. I was also tasked with creating standards and best practices for the team and in the company. Since Robustwealth was a start-up that was quickly acquired by the Principal Financial Group, they did not have a lot of systems, designs, and best practices in place. I put into place several things:
Evaluation of tools
Establish a Process between teams
Design Audit of what we currently had and where we are going
Create a design system to be used across the team
Create a design component library
Evaluate Brand and Identity
PHASE ONE: TOOL EVALUATION
At the time of my arrival, the team was using Adobe XD. I've used XD in the past, but I felt in my experience XD was not there yet. The team and company needed a lot that XD didn't offer at the time (Systems, Libraries, etc). I was trying to think five steps ahead in terms of smart design processes. I was using Sketch, and at the time and it was the industry standard, so I immediately had all designs transition off XD to Sketch, and convert files down the road.
The designers were sending PDFs via email back and forth which was causing chaos. I wanted to put a stop to that and have a single source of truth everyone in the company could go to, so I brought on Invision for prototyping and commenting.
Lastly, if we were using Sketch and god forbid a file crashed, I wanted to make sure we would have it backed up somewhere, so I implemented a version control system called Abstract. This allowed a designer to upload a Master file to the cloud, then anyone on the team can create a branch of that file and work without affecting someone else's design. When they are finished for the day they can commit the file (which would just save a copy of it) with whatever they name it ex: "Buttons Home Page". When they want to push the designs to their master they can "Merge" their file to the master and it will always be the current version. If six months down the road they need to grab an element from that file-all they have to do is go to their history and look for "Buttons Home Page" and open the file to pull what they need.
Using these three programs greatly increased productivity in the team and company. We now had a place development and leadership could go to find the links for the prototypes and designs.
PROCESS BETWEEN TEAMS
Now that tools were established, I needed to get a process in place for designing and handoff. It looks like below:
Now that a process was set in place it was time to create a system of rules to follow. The system has to provide structure and meaning that is the embodiment system of concepts. The System Included:
Create a visual design language
Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors
Spacing & Grids
Rules around Button Styles
UI COMPONENT LIBRARY
Once the system was in place it was time to create the actual component library. These pieces are like legos that can be reused across the platform(s). Jump to section from the selection below.
PUTTING THE LIBRARY TO ACTION
Below is an example(s) of the library put into one of our platforms.
BRAND AND IDENTITY
One other role I had was working with the VP of marketing. Robustwealth did not have a brand identity. They had several things over the years, but nothing that stood out. I spoke with the VP of marketing to get buy-in from leadership on elevating our brand to something better while still keeping the same consistent elements (aka the mountain and color). One of our Jr. designers created a brand book on how to use our brand and what the new brand would look like. I had the logo commissioned by a third party. Below is the before and after.