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DESIGN FOR FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT

Interactive Filmmaker • Designer

With David Colby Reed • Lee-Sean Huang • Kit Lykketoft • Eduardo Staszowski • Cynthia Warner • Hefen Wong

Winner of Core77 Notable Service Design Award

 
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How can design improve the long-term financial security of middle- and low-income New Yorkers?

Every year, over 8,000 New Yorkers become clients of the city’s Financial Empowerment Centers to work on goals like tackling debt, improving credit, and creating budgets.

Based on client interviews and service design research, I created an interactive orientation video that allows clients to learn about FEC services from people with similar financial goals.

 
 

The diversity of the FEC user base complicates any outreach strategy: some clients may need help reducing personal expenses, while others might need advice about separating personal and business expenses.

Viewers can choose which character to watch depending on their own questions.

This interactive video is a template for a highly-tailored wayfinding strategy for both the procedural and emotional aspects of counseling.

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I designed the production process to double as a research mechanism. Interview questions and video prompts encouraged clients to film their habits, direct me through physical space, or roleplay with a counselor.

Video-led research revealed clients’ varied expectations.

These exercises provided the basis for other insights that would have been hard to uncover through traditional interviews—for example, observing counselors’ body language led to new research about the kinds of coaching different clients might need.