NerdWallet 2.0

In recent years, it seems that society has been waking up to how we treat each other and the world. For instance, the MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter movement, and Climate Strikes all point to groups of people standing up for what they believe in. However, one of society’s best tools to vote or signal to businesses what we believe in is being underutilized. People’s personal financial investments often do not reflect their personal values, even though this is a substantial way to make change in the current economic model. One might ask why?    

Socially responsible investing is one method for investing in the way people want the world to be. This includes mutual funds and other investments that focus on climate activism or other causes. However, there is a gap in how people think about their investments and the values they care about (availability bias). Also, the information about how to choose investments that are aligned with people’s personal values is overwhelming and complicated (choice overload). One of the biggest areas of opportunity to help solve this issue is to develop interventions for people learning how to invest so they can make better decisions. 

We sought to address this opportunity by redesigning one of the most popular investment search and comparison websites, NerdWallet. We designed NerdWallet 2.0 with personalized recommendations for mutual funds based on the causes that people believe in (climate change, gender equity, racial justice, etc.). The new website uses simple and plain language and makes desired information more accessible. It easily guides users to desired choices by comparing them using a social impact rating system designed to help people better understand each fund’s investment choices. The hope is for this intervention to help people choose socially responsible investments over traditional ones.  

In order to develop NerdWallet 2.0, we tested the interactivity of the website both physically and digitally. By talking to people who were relatively new to investing we uncovered many areas that we needed to design for, including making things visual and narrowing down investment options for people. When we moved into digital prototyping, it became clear that by providing context in the website, we could make connections between causes and investing more clear for people.