By Sebastian Broways, Head of Design
We’re excited to announce big changes to the Yieldstreet mobile app on both iOS and Android that launched this week. The user interface has been refreshed with modern usability patterns that make the experience more intuitive and easier to navigate.
The Set Up
Yieldstreet’s design and product teams got together to evaluate the current state of the app and to look for ways to modernize the experience. It was evident the design was being tasked with supporting a product that had scaled beyond what it was originally intended for. As Yieldstreet’s offerings have become more diversified, our investments and portfolios have become increasingly complex. The existing interaction patterns needed to be refreshed to support the evolution of the product mix.
Led by product designers Raj Makker and Gabriel Guerguen, we set out to solve these problems and deliver an improved experience to every investor on the Yieldstreet app. It was an opportunity to redo our mobile UI kit from the ground up.
To complete a project like this effectively, it’s necessary to leverage consistent patterns where possible: consistency reduces scope, ensures scalability and creates predictability within the interface, the latter of which generally improves usability.
As a start-up, we need to approach these challenges in the most efficient way possible. Mobile design is ever changing and it can be costly to keep pace. That’s why React Native has become such a popular choice for so many start-ups, including Yieldstreet. The choice to use a single platform for native development makes it easier to reuse designs and reduce scope.
There's a catch, though: consistency can also hamper the experience; If users expect something to behave as it does on their particular OS, diverging from those defaults can cause confusion. As much as mobile patterns have converged over the last decade, there are still many disparities. While choosing one direction for the sake of consistency may simplify requirements, it can diminish the intuitiveness of the design.
This leads to tension between scope, consistency, and usability. Striking the right balance is the challenge.
Concepts and Designs
After completing the initial assessment, an intensive concept design phase began and we iterated on the core product experiences: portfolio, offerings, and accounts. Once we were satisfied with the initial designs, we started prototyping and gathering user feedback. As feedback was gathered from our investors and internal stakeholders, the designs went through various rounds of design and interaction refinement with continued testing.
As we ventured deeper into the experience, it became clear that we needed to develop better rules for handling the layers of information that existed as a result of the new templates. The Yieldstreet app has a lot of complex user flows. As a result, it can be tricky to orient the user within the product experience as they complete their account set up. Leveraging layers allowed us to break down some of Yieldstreet's more complex flows.
We needed better definitions for how various types of information should be handled. The behaviors needed a clear set of rules that were easy to understand and replicate. Working closely with our front-end engineers, we refined the elevations and movements within the product resulting in what we believe is a more intuitive and elegant mobile experience.
Scalability was at the forefront of our thinking when building our updated system. We stress the new designs with various scenarios, both current and future, to ensure that as the product grows the system will adapt to it.
Improved Offering Page
Some of the more impactful changes are to the offering detail page where investors can more easily survey the details of open offerings on the platform. Instead of navigating between tabs, all of the top-level details are on one page and investors can jump in and out of more information that’s of interest. It makes it easier to get a birds eye view of the content so potential investors can quickly see what information is available to them. We can offer more content and information about our offerings to our investors without overwhelming them.
Navigation is notoriously challenging in mobile app environments as it requires building a mental model of the product in the user’s mind by leveraging direction and elevation instead of showing a list of pages as a traditional navigation might. To get a sense of the challenge, check out the level of detail in Google’s Material Design docs for navigation.
Users are now moving through digital environments in multi-directional ways without giving it any thought. We’re excited to have developed our own approach to handling this new paradigm of mobile interaction. We have clearly defined depth level guidelines, page transitions, and behaviors that ensure users better understand where they are within the experience while they move seamlessly through it. By doing so, we were able to strike the right balance between consistency and diversion that we desired.
To put things in perspective: it was 15 years ago that the first iPhone was released. Now, half of the U.S. population is spending an average of 5-6 hours a day on their phones. In the not so distant future (~2027) nearly every person on earth will have a smartphone.
At the same time, finance and people’s relationship to money is going through a generational transformation, further compounded by the global pandemic. People are accessing financial opportunities in so many new and interesting ways. There are 10,755 fintech startups in the Americas alone.* There is a new world currency that has pushed the financial paradigm of the last century into a new era. Anyone can become an “investor” in minutes by using a small device they carry around in their pocket. This was impossible not so long ago.
The percussion of these two trends sets the stage for a unique time in history. Imagine the transactions that will happen globally via smartphones. Money will move in unimaginable ways across the globe. Just as more people are gaining access to private markets than ever before, so too are people gaining access to the technology necessary to take advantage of those opportunities.
At Yieldstreet, we recognize this potential and how it’s opened the door to have a profound impact on the investing landscape. It’s why we launched our mobile app in November 2018, making us the first alternative investment platform to do so. It’s why we’ve made it a priority to continuously innovate not only our investment products, but our design and technology as well.
We’ve challenged ourselves to deliver the best investor experience on any device and these latest changes lay the groundwork for us to do it.
Let us know what you think
The more we can incorporate direct and candid feedback from our investors, the more impactful our changes can become. We’re motivated to make your experience – our investor – as great as we can. Please reach out to us with any thoughts or comments. We would love to hear from you. ❤️
If you like the work we've done in improving the experience on our mobile platform, don't forget to rate and review us on the App Store and Google Play.
*As of November 2021.