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Year: 2023 

Role: UI/ UX Research and Designer 

Tools: Figma and Miro


Aura Finance is a mindful money management app for first time investors to build confidence, invest sustainably, and achieve financial freedom on their own terms.

A typical Aura App user is a diverse group of predominantly millennial females with incomes ranging from $75,000 to $250,000.
Their financial goals include buying a house, planning a wedding, or preparing for retirement.

The existing Aura Finance's community feature lacks user engagement due to lack of confidence and education in investing. 


My team and I redesigned
the community feature that facilitates genuine connections with like-minded users and financial experts, empowering them with knowledge and confidence they need to 
invest mindfully.

Ultimately, aiming to build a supportive community that positively impacts users' well-being and alleviates anxiety
about money and investing.

Before                                                                                            After



Evaluation of existing app
Competitive Analysis
User Interviews

Affinity Mapping
Journey Map

User Flows

Integrating Feedback
User Testing
Iteration/ Improvements

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A User-Oriented Design process guided us to learn what is hindering users from engaging in the existing Aura community feature. Placing greater emphasis on research and iterations the focused remained on aligning personalized user needs with Aura's long term vision and goals. 


Research & Analysis

A detailed evaluation of the existing Aura community feature prepared me for targeted user interview questions to understanding what is hindering their current users active participation in the community feature.

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Pain Points

4/4 Users are novice investors with an interest in learning


3/4 - Users are dissatisfied with their finance efforts and are intimidated to ask questions.


3/4 - Users prefer quick expert advice when engaging with the Aura community.



4/4 - Users felt the Aura's current community feature content was not relevant to their needs.

Comparative / Competitive Analysis

Concurrently we learned that the market is flooded with a diverse array of finance investment apps, we learned that:


  • do not have a robust community feature and lack positive or enough reviews as they are all fairly new in the market


  • users are concerned with potential risks associated with publicly sharing personal financial information

Aura Interviews Affinity Map - Frame 2.jpg

Beyond matrix showing us the most common options within the community features in the market, we still grappled with this question from the client: 

How can users feel a sense of mindfulness and wellness within the community space? 


Trying to better understand the client's vision, 

we conducted a comprehensive survey with the entire Aura Team, which provided us with a clear picture of what "wellness" looks like within the Aura app:

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Picturing Lily's Journey

Meet Lily, the middle school teacher, who is diligent in her approach to saving, but still feels stuck and is looking for a better way to increase her savings.

Thinking about the concept of "wellness" in mind, I crafted Lily's story followed by her journey, both playing a crucial role in visualizing a typical Aura user. These steps validated the user's unique relationships and comfort levels with money and investing, providing key pain points and opportunities within our design process.

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Aura Interviews Affinity Map - Frame 3.jpg

​In response to Lily's journey,
I prioritized
a flexible and scalable system, aiming to expand the user group and accommodate various entry points in their investment journey.

Recognizing the common desire for quick knowledge and guidance,
I ensured designing for simplicity and efficiency in the community feature as a way to offer relief from the stress and anxiety tied to investing decisions.



Design Direction

The two versions of digital sketches below showcase our initial steps to visualizing and translating the user insight into tangible designs for the Aura Community feature. 

Ultimately, after numerous discussions about the sketches,

we considered concerns around consistent generation of new content and potential user overwhelm with information and options.

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To make our designs more manageable and aligned with the client capacity and user preferences, we organized the community feature into three main options:

  • Aura Talks: Connecting users with a Finance Expert.

  • Aura Connect: Engaging users with like-minded community members.

  • User Profile: Providing key information about community members.

This approach guided our strategic decisions, ensuring a user-centric design that caters to the diverse needs of our broad user spectrum.

Before & After


The Aura community feature screens currently consist of three main views that share a similar layout. Each view provides a space where users can pose questions by topic, accompanied by options to "like" or comment. This design relies heavily on the user participation for content generation which goes against the needs of the current Aura users. 

Aura Finance App Heuristic Analysis.jpg


New Aura's Community Feature 
also has three 
main screens and some visible UI changes for improved navigation of the app.

1. Community Dashboard
connects / previews all three screens, as well as offering a Aura Acceptance Tip and a Daily Challenge to engage/ hook viewers

2. Aura Connect
connecting users to users via a collection of popular posts and trending topics you can swipe left to view.

Aura Ask The Community.jpg
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Aura Connect offers a selection of topics to meet diverse user needs and interests.   

Users can also filter and search topics by interest to view peer comments.

Along with the option to like and comment we also added the share icon and the user profile. 

3. Aura Talks 
features conversations with live finance experts as exclusive content that can be unlocked with a subscription.

Aura Live Q&As.jpg

Usability Testing & Results 

Due to time constraints, our testing phase was restricted to three users. While a larger sample size is typically ideal for comprehensive insights, we strategically narrowed our focus to gather general insights and identify key improvements for the app's design.






Given this imminent redesign, our priority shifted towards providing solid user insights, as opposed to exhaustive testing on a design that might undergo significant reconsideration.

It's important to note that Aura is preparing for a strategic overhaul of the Aura App design in the coming months.


User satisfaction surged with the revamped Community Feature, indicating a higher likelihood of users choosing this version over the previous one.

The ability to search and filter topics of interest and connect with finance experts received particular acclaim. Users stressed the importance of visually accessible and navigable information, affirming the success of the improvements. 

Feedback / Preferences:

Daily Tip/Challenge

Identified as the least engaging aspect of the community feature.

Preferred it be on the  home page of the app.

Aura Talk

Recommended short session previews for free members to entice them.

Preferred session notifications for increased participation

Aura Connect

Users interested in searching for popular topics

posting and commenting on relevant posts.

A consistent user engagement theme indicates, while the community feature is a nice addition, current users anticipate sporadic engagement.

Their ultimate desire is an incentivized, goal-oriented experience, motivated by personal investment goals and curiosity. Unlike aimless scrolling on social media community features, when it comes to money their priorities lie in seeking quick and clear actionable guidance. 




For additional considerations, here are some recommendations we propose to boost user engagement: 

  1. Utilize video/ animations for storytelling focused on real- life scenarios. 

  2. Provide visual infographics of relevant financial statistics

  3. Offer bite-size takeaways from articles with an option to read more.

  4. Diversify user demographic to include individuals earning less than $75K 

  5. Continue to reevaluate the style guide and colors to align with Aura's mission of empowerment, exploring color palettes that convey strength and resilience, such as deep blues, greens, or rich purples.


Reflection/ Takeaways

Reflecting on the design journey for Aura's community feature, I've realized that,

  • Despite extensive research and careful design, the key factor in its success is user adoption.

  • Promoting positive user wellness in money management is challenging, as it heavily depends on each individual's unique relationship with money.

  • Achieving wellness in this context necessitates a lifestyle change, demanding time and commitment to cultivate mindful habits and routines.

In conclusion, this case study sheds light on the interplay between design, its users, and societal constructs, encompassing the expectations placed on financial matters. While setting expectations is easy, meeting them proves to be a more complex endeavor.

"Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future."    - Robert L. Peters
As this quote states design not only reveal the present but also has the ability to outline the possibilities for the future. This sentiment aligns with my hope for Aura users as they embark on their journey to financial freedom.

Thank you!  


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