Nift.io, the legalese buster
with Prehype X Natwest
“We are a collection of entrepreneurial people who help each other and companies build new ventures”
Prehype is a collective of “product people” from a variety of backgrounds (design, engineering, business etc) I joined the family for about 12 months in a consultancy type role. Part of the time I was with Prehype I led the Product side of things for a co-venture with Natwest to build a product that would improve consumer understanding and compliance of legal documents.
AS FREELANCE PRODUCT DESIGN & MGMT LEAD…
I wore multiple hats in a small team of 5
I was there to add direction to product vision, design, experience and architecture
I also pitched in with the odd sales call
THE CORE PROBLEM WAS...
The banking and finance sector was forever being fined by the FCA for “misleading” content in B2C and B2B financial contacts.
What Nift was trying to solve was, how do you take dense legal text, (which reads like gobbledygook for the average Joe), and make it much more understandable? Whilst also ensuring legal consent and compliance is adhered to for the document owner (Banks, HR etc).
There were also a bunch of other secondary problems around the management of the contractual documents etc, but the core focus is described above.
Legal terminology is hard for consumers to understand
The FCA come down hard on overly complex contracts
Banks need to meet high standards of compliance
Capturing intent and understanding is very hard
Making important points/charges clear in such long documents is tough
MY STARTING POINT WHEN JOINING THE NIFT CREW...
Was to immerse myself in the problem space. Nift had been rolling for about 6months or so by the time I had joined, so it was important for me to tackle some core product foundations that were missing.
I took a trip to one of the Natwest call centres near Doncaster, that dealt with loan applications. They held a lot of knowledge and customer feedback as to the types of issues customers faced on a daily basis with these complex contracts.
These employees of RBS/Natwest were also likely going to be our first “business app” users so having that time to chat with them was priceless.
We needed to get moving quickly and there had been some research done by a previous Product Manager, so I built on that and fleshed out a number of Proto Persona’s to help guide the team but to also give us a little flex to learn as we went.
I also chose to build a quick and lightweight product mantra to help guide design, engineering, the brand/comms & sales process to ensure we were constantly aligned on this such as tone and direction. It was based around the learnings from user interviews, our persona’s and a couple of assumptions along the way.
SOME QUICK TECH PLANNING STARTED...
as I filled the role of Product Manager/UX Designer/Product Designer. I began working with the engineers to sketch our a very high-level structure and flow for both the business app and consumer document viewer.
QUICK SYSTEM MAP
This was kept as high level as possible as we wanted to have the flexibility to tweak and change architecture as we learnt more from user feedback. However, it gave us a useful framework to start ideation and build iterations.
STARTING WORKFLOWS & WIRES FOR THE BUSINESS APP...
I quickly prepped up some basic workflows for each key section to highlight steps, screens & feedback loops before diving into some wireframing.
Using a program called mind node I could quickly visualise user journey’s & paths
FOR THE CONSUMER CONTRACT VIEWER
We took the feedback from the Doncaster office and also brainstormed a number of ideas to help with contract & language understanding.
Brainstorming for the consumer product around mindset, inspiration, needs and levers
WE BUILT & TESTED...
this first iteration and chatted to people in the street along, with a series of online surveys to understand peoples impressions. The viewer did hit some good points. Generally speaking, people liked the “what if scenarios” and enjoyed the simplicity of the layout. However, there was also a fine line to simplifying things and becoming condescending in tone. People as a general rule were less appreciative of quizzes.
WE CONTINUED TO REFINE AND TWEAK AND STARTED TO BUILD OUT A NEW PROTOTYPE…
taking multiple rounds of feedback and tests we ended up with a much tighter and smarter view, and whilst maintaining simplicity, we reduced some of the trivial elements and introduced a few more elements to increase understanding and also aid the viewing of these large complex documents.
LOOKING BACK & REFLECTING...
Nift was an interesting journey for me. I joined about 6months in with the team holding some preconceived ideas, but still a lot of unanswered questions and a need for a direction.
We built out what was essentially a great little prototype that had some cool tech behind it around the analytics/tracking in the consumer viewer, plus we started looking into NLP and ML.
Eventually, Natwest decided to take the prototype in-house and bought the tech from us. However, it was a really great learning curve for me, especially as I had to wear so many hats.