Neighborhood Trust

An empathetic app—you feel me?

Increased client success rates by 525%

Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners provides financial advisory services to low-income individuals in the New York area who struggle with extreme debt.

Neighborhood Trust provides financial counseling to people who struggle with extreme debt. Demand for the service is so high that financial advisors can only meet with clients once or twice a year, so people often drop out after a few months.

Neighborhood Trust needed a tool that could convert their analog best practices into a digital tool, so clients would stay motivated to learn new financial-management skills between their face-to-face counseling sessions.

Making an app feel human

While users’ interactional behavior is a focus when developing productivity or educational technology, users’ emotional and cognitive needs are sometimes viewed as superfluous. Our goal was to make those often overlooked needs central to the app, so the user experience would feel as human as a one-on-one counseling session.

We began by sitting in on counseling sessions, so we could translate the best practices from the highest performing counselors into software. Then we talked to potential users about real-world priorities, online behaviors, usage patterns, and more. As we moved through development, we set up testing environments that enabled us to analyze everything from page flow to mouse tracking, while getting anecdotal user feedback in real-time.

An award-winning app that empathizes

The final app, which won the 2016 Summit Emerging Media Award for its groundbreaking design, combined an intrinsic sense of empathy with proven teaching techniques:

  • Simple yet powerful metaphorical graphics emphasize the positive aspects of even small steps forward.
  • Users can access only the financial information they need to complete their immediate tasks, so they don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged by the data as a whole.
  • Counselors can check in with users to offer words of encouragement or answer questions.

Our app increased Neighborhood Trust’s client follow-through rate by 525%, which in turn has exponentially increased client retention rates.

  • Video Overview

  • Mobile Friendly Web Application

  • Home Screen