Grow Up - App proposal
Grow Up is a financial literacy application. It's concept originated from a problem we all face; ambiguity with finances. The app serves as a digital tool kit with features such as videos, examples, and step-by-step instructions that will help students and millennial's learn to become self-reliant and prepared to face real-world challenges involving money.
The Challenge
The U.S Census Bureau reported in 2015 that nearly a third of millennial's still live with their parents.  In 2013, they reported that 41 percent of young families had student debt, compared to 17 percent in 1989.  Due to crippling debt from things like credit cards, student loans, and joblessness, new adults are seldom able to prioritize major financial responsibilities, like home ownership, car maintenance, or 401k savings. They lack the immediate resources and knowledge to address financial responsibility. 
Financial independence is a challenge for most millennials. A shortage of resources has greatly contributed to the millennials inability of tackling modern day financial problems. As millennials become aware of their financial responsibilities, they require readily accessible information, support, and guidance. The Grow Up app intends to provide solutions for them.
The Research
Seven people were interviewed between the ages of 18-25. Four of the interviewees were in college and working part-time. Two of them lived on their own and did not attend university. One of them had recently graduated and was planning to move out of their parent's home.
Patterns were recognized among interviewees. When asked to define independence, most interviewees associated it with moving out of their parent's home. Their definition of independence matched the average person’s definition of financial independence; to be completely self-reliant. When asked about general task knowledge and their reasons for not knowing how to complete tasks, interviewees who lived at home expressed a lack of worry about paying rent or car insurance since their parents covered those expenses.
These interviewees expressed more nervousness about their future due to less preparedness and experience. Four of the interviewees hoped there was a course provided by their school that would help them “adult” better. Upon investigating the availability of such courses, it was found that some local community centers and libraries offered free workshops. Colleges and universities with a large student population, such as George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia, offer Adulting 101 workshops. Most students that would benefit from these workshops are simply not informed that they exist.
To get a better understanding of what to include in the app, a survey was created and 12 people were asked, “Which of these tasks do you know how to do?” and “Which of these tasks would you like to learn the most?”. The task list included subjects such as time management, job preparedness, money budgeting, credit building, planning for retirement, buying or renting a home or car, loan acquisition, and obtaining insurance. Over 70 percent of the people surveyed knew how to manage their time and career planning. Over 60 percent wanted to learn how to budget their money, build credit, and buy a home. In order to figure out what methods this audience uses or would potentially use to learn these financial tasks, they were asked “How would you go about learning tasks you don’t know how to complete?” Then they were asked " What would most prevent you from learning these tasks?"
Most people are willing to ask family and friends for help, but oftentimes people need more than one reference to help them complete financial tasks. Given this need, a viable task list and learning methods list was developed to guide the design process for the Grow Up app.
The Analyzing
After data from the interviews and survey was conducted, the audience was divided into three personas who represent a larger population of individuals, each with different life-situations. Victoria is a college student who is working her first part-time job. Sally is a recently graduated college student, looking for a full-time job in her field of study. Taylor has never attended college and is interested in becoming more financially independent.
The app’s features and functions were listed on post-it notes, and participants organized them into categories of importance and similarity. simple user flow was developed for the learning process, and a quiz was included to personalize the app for each user's specific needs, thereby categorizing tasks into different sections or removing tasks they’ve already learned.
The Journey map visualizes the learning process and the user's emotions. The act of learning is the most difficult and most demanding pain point.  This shifts the focus to the learning phase, providing a seamless learning environment,  which ensures a healthier experience.
This user flow depicts the user's log in journey, including the onboarding, quiz, and university/community center selection.
An onboarding gives the audience an overview of what the app offers. Beyond the basics of a tool kit, users are provided with essential features like reminders for upcoming events, and links to outside resources.
The onboarding quiz leads to a personalized home screen that prioritizes tasks users want or need to learn first. The original concept included a quiz that would also prioritize preferred learning methods. After testing the app, the learning methods quiz was removed.
Following the sign up or signing in process the task list is presented. Users will be able to pick between different tasks and different learning methods. This example focuses on the File Taxes task, a drop down video display was incorporated. After watching an introductory video, the user is presented with the opportunity to view additional videos or learn the task through a different method.
The Prototype
Insights and Iterations
Where do emotional and social independence stand? And do these elements contribute to the individual’s financial independence? While Grow Up provides financial knowledge, the app has the potential to become more holistic and teach millennials how to tackle emotional and social independence. More research would be required to find out what would help individuals reach social and emotional independence through the app.
The prototype was tested, and a couple people responded poorly to the color scheme, expressing that the royal purple was too distracting, and not favorable. I got rid of the purple and revamped the color scheme to be more appealing to millennials,  both men and women alike. 
The app has come a long way, and there is room for improvement. The concept is strong and has good research to back it up. With further enhancements it can become a useful tool that guides people who have the desire to become financially independent to achieve their goals.  
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