type: corporate crowdfunding/investment
skills: user experience design, graphic design, web design & development
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About the Project:
The FundAmerica project was initially designed as a desktop fin/tech investment platform serving the emergent corporate crowdfunding arena. We won $1.5 million dollars in venture capital based in part on my high-fidelity proof-of-concept page designs.
The project's first great challenge was the complexity of the apps, and the required interactivity of these apps across an entire suite of offerings. The second great challenge was the fact that this was a new arena of corporate finance, and no applicable usability studies or pattern libraries existed.
The good news was that the service itself was being built for users with an expert level of specialized knowledge, which means while we would have to teach them to use the site (and include some professional background information), we would not have to teach them what it was for. There would be very little non-expert traffic.
I initially sketched out persona profiles for our primary demographics: the financial professional (brokers, CFOs, bankers), followed by business owners (CEOs, small business owners, entrepreneurs), and related service professionals who could use FundAmerica to create support businesses for the entire corporate crowdfunding process (accountants, business consultants).
Working with a very small team, I was responsible for creating an engaging user experience, designing intuitive interactions and an interface with clean aesthetic and high learnability.
Low-fidelity wireframes were needed only for initial brainstorming, and I quickly proceeded to high-fidelity prototyping. Time was a large factor, in part, because we were called upon by regulators to present our task flows and application progression to help inform the standardized process they were discussing – the same requirements now in use by the SEC.
My responsibilities included user experience and user interface design across all aspects of the site, as well as page design, architecture, and corporate branding. After creating a viable visual environment for users and partners, I set about translating those designs into html and css, which could then be brought to life by our engineers.
Alongside the FundAmerica web presence (and ancillary entities such as FundAmerica Technologies, FundAmerica Securities and CapSchedule), I created printed branding and marketing materials echoing the site design for presentation at crowdfunding conferences and financial industry events.
Toolkit: wireframing, prototyping, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, PageSpinner, Bootstrap, HTML, CSS, Adobe InDesign.
FundAmerica was an early leader in the equity and debt crowdfunding space made possible by Titles II and III of the JOBs Act of 2014. While the specific legalities remain under discussion, FundAmerica positioned itself as a leading player, including special sessions with legislators and the SEC. The many page designs I created helped to inform this brand new process that was being developed.
Unfortunately FundAmerica overreached. What had been designed as a full featured suite of corporate crowdfunding services has been refocused to be a third-party provider of brokerage, due diligence, and accreditation services, which can be added to another broker/dealer site. I had developed, designed and built the entire site before news of this downsizing was released.
Two ancillary enterprises, FundAmerica Technologies and FundAmerica Securities were also created after development of FundAmerica was completed.
[note: the current iteration of FundAmerica online was created using my task flows and usability guidelines, as well as visual elements from my original design, but is necessarily not my original design.]