Empowering neurodiverse individuals to improve their credit score by leveraging multi-sensory communication
Barclays, UK’s leading bank, wanted to serve its neurodiverse customers better as the world pushes for more inclusive business practices.
They challenged us to: Create a digital proposition for neurodiverse individuals and their financial wellness that can be piloted in the UK.
We suggested a two-part solution:
1. A design language based on semiotic.
2. A credit score product that helps neurodiverse individuals understand their finances and improve their credit score.
As a Service Designer on the project, I worked with three other RCA students. We collaborated with Barclays’s design and business teams and presented our final designs to Barclays’ Chief Design Officer. I handled stakeholder management, workshop facilitation, and impact analysis independently.
Enhances financial service experience for 8 million neurodiverse Barclays customers in the UK. Makes Barclays’ services more accessible. Builds trust in the market for Barclays. Positions Barclays as an Inclusive Design leader.
The 'Double-Barrelled' Double Diamond Approach
We started our project with a careful planning session. We had two distinct areas that needed separate and thorough explorations. We made a ‘double-barrelled’ double-diamond approach. First, we tackled Neurodiversity and then, Financial Inclusivity.
DOUBLE DIAMOND 1
DOUBLE DIAMOND 2
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We allocated these user-centred design themes to each phase of this first double diamond: Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver. While the double diamond provided the scaffolding, the themed phases outlined specific goal related to user-centricity. All activities within this phase circled back to delivering a rich customer experience to neurodiverse individuals.
Studied neurodiversity, through book, encyclopedia, literature, and medical journal reviews.
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Being neurodivergent means having a brain that works differently from the average or “neurotypical” person. This may be differences in social preferences, ways of learning, ways of communicating and/or ways of perceiving the environment.
We aimed to define neurodiversity precisely. We mapped out all neurodiverse conditions, their prevalence, and characteristics. This made an evolving mind map of neurodiversity in the population. Our research wall anchored our findings and showed conflicting information that needed more unpacking.
"It is more of an issue that society inflicts on science, rather than science inflicting upon society.”
- One of UK's Leading Neurosurgeon
Neurodiversity is characterised by multiple "flavours"
Formed a research panel of neurodiversity and inclusive design experts to validate our findings.
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We found different and sometimes conflicting insights and assumptions from desk research. We needed experts to help us understand our findings and guide key decisions.
Our Experts Panel
(Sight and sound)
Understood the challenges faced by neurodiverse individuals and found two distinct opportunity areas, through primary research.
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We interviewed 9 experts in neurodiversity and inclusive design, and 12 neurodiverse individuals. These insights helped us validate and modify our initial insights and assumptions. These fed into Personas and Empathy Maps that helped us understand and empathise with our target audience better. At the end of the research phase, two opportunity areas emerged and we shared these with experts for validation and refinement.
Neurodiverse individuals face issues with visual and auditory overload making them feel overwhelmed, and in certain situations experience a strong sense of fear
Neurodiverse individuals face issues processing information that is presented to them as it is usually written and shown in a way which is not designed for their needs
We believe that if we care for sensory fit and provide information in a way neurodiverse people can understand, it will help reduce sensory overload and aid in information processing, thereby delivering rich customer experiences.
Envisioned a new Design Language, using multi-sensory convergence and semiotics.
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During our research, we discovered that communicating information through more than one sensory capability would disperse the knowledge across all senses and reduce sensory overload for neurodiverse individuals. We designed guidelines for a Design Language that uses multiple senses and semiotics to communicate information. We presented the concept to Barclays’ Chief Design Officer and other key stakeholders and got very positive feedback.
New Design Language Leverages:
Feedback from Barclays
"Such a design language needs to be made available to the entire ecosystem across service touchpoints. It will enable us to provide richer experiences for our customers."
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Next, we used a second double diamond focused on financial inclusion to narrow down our exploration and discover new findings. We applied the findings and solution from the first Neurodiversity double diamond to a new service proposition. The link between both explorations enriched the final solution.
Discovered key insights on neurodiverse individual's financial wellbeing, through more primary research.
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After gaining buy-in for the new semiotic-based design language, we researched problems neurodiverse individuals face with their finances. We updated our empathy maps and personas based on the insights around financial wellbeing.
Struggle with credit and lending
Credit and lending were common themes that presented while we analysed the pain-points.
Use credit cards only for credit scores
Neurodiverse individuals use Credit Cards to build a good Credit Score for future goals, not for credit itself.
Bad credit scores are a common outcome
They have cognitive distrust due to sensory overload and information processing issues, making them unable to act on tasks in a timely manner. Thus, they are more likely to have a bad credit score.
We believe that if we bring transparency around the person's credit file and care for the content and ways of information delivery, we will be able to give neurodiverse individuals the agency to take control of their credit scores.
Ideated and prototyped solutions, through co-creative workshops with neurodiverse individuals.
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We began ideating solutions within the team and took those to our experts for feedback. We organised a co-creative workshop with our neurodiverse panel, where the attendees co-created on solutions that helped us identify what was most important to them. Based on these insights we ideated on a single design intervention towards helping neurodiverse individuals with their credit scores.