Problem: In Spain the post-financial crisis environment has made it very difficult for SME’s to obtain loans and reasonable credit options. While in other countries like the UK, the crowd-lending market is helping to cover these financial needs, in Spain these platforms are behaving in the same way as banks, rejecting 95% of applications. How can design thinking help us solve this and increase financial inclusion?
Solution: A crowd-lending platform with human-centered design at its core. Five colleagues and I extensively researched and benchmarked and ultimately designed a new experience based on three main pillars: First, a holistic data scoring based by online behavior in order to not only analyze the ability, but also the willingness to pay. Secondly, a family endorsement that works as a filter, shows the borrower’s commitment, increases the number of stakeholders and decreases the default rate. And thirdly, gamification, because we also feel the need to change the way users experience financial services. We believe that design thinking can turn the most negatively viewed brands and services into positive experiences that will increase customer loyalty, retention, but most importantly, enjoyment and trust.
* Melon Investing won the best Start Up Project in our program at the IE’s Venture Day in Madrid, we finished second at 007BootCamp Pitch Contest at BBVA Innovation Center, we were chosen by Llorente & Cuenca as one of the best 2016 MVDM projects and we were selected by the European Institute of Entrepreneurship for a 9-month acceleration program.
The Core Pillars of Melon
The Experience Tunnel
Problem: Long ticket lines at museums in the summer can be a significant pain point in the customer’s emotional journey. Especially in a city like Madrid, where the heat can be quite unbearable, long waits in the glaring sun can ruin a potentially great experience.
Solution: The solution for this problem was based on the idea of an Oasis in the desert. While people love Madrid’s beautiful light and its sunny days, standing in the Sun for 45 minutes can be dangerous. Therefore I designed ‘The Experience Tunnel’, an open tunnel created with wooden panels and a roof of acrylic or polyester. The experience consists of different islands or oases that offer visitors shade and seats to protect themselves from sun and rest. But it also takes advantage of the time people are waiting by beginning the museum experience before the tourists even enter the building. The oases would incorporate, for example, screens and tablets for the visitors to interact with the museum’s content, encouraging a more rewarding experience once inside.
Problem: Madrid is a not a "tourist’s city" like London, Paris, or Barcelona, where people know exactly what to visit. It's a city where the tourist needs to dive in and take initiative. This attracts visitors who want to feel like locals. However, there are no city guides that provide them with the necessary framework to achieve that kind of experience.
Solution: A colleague and I conceptualized and designed an interactive “mappgazine”. We devised this concept through merging the best of both city guides and magazines. We wanted to combine touristic information with stories and places that only people who live in Madrid know, if even!
During the research process we found different aspects that we wanted to incorporate in our concept:
- Printed guides are not always updated and cities like Madrid are constantly changing. Working digitally provided us the opportunity to renew our guide on a monthly basis, thereby keeping our readers updated.
- Madrid welcomes millions of people every year. However, most of those people only stay a couple of nights. We wanted to offer a curated proposal of places to go and visit tailored towards a specific length of visit.
- The center of the city is roughly divided into four big areas that make Madrid more manageable, therefore we decided to configure L’Almendra in the same structure.
We wanted to create a new experience by using the possibilities that the digital and interactive publishing tools offered us. The biggest challenge was to design an intuitive user experience that provided that what the reader was looking for in a clear, non-confusing manner, seeing as it was a new environment for most. We wanted to show them a tool that they didn’t know they needed until they had it!
Teaser de L'Almendra.
This was the teaser released for the first issue of L'Almendra in November 2013.
Learning with Comics
Problem: The Gaia Program (Universidad de Alcalá + FUE) is an on-line masters program consisting of 8 modules, each one of which has around 6 sections, with a 30 to 50 page iBook per section. I led the team that was tasked with the job of translating the raw text to iBooks. We received an enormous amount of information that, depending on the subject, was often difficult to digest. It was common to find pages and pages of concepts for lessons that would take place during just one week with topics that would cover financial concepts as well as dry technical texts. Readers find this boring and quickly lose concentration. We needed to simplify the content, make it understandable and visually appealing, while losing as little information as possible.
Solution: Drawing on my background in cinema studies as well as an extensive research process I proposed the idea of rewriting some of the information as comics. Graphic novels are visual and synthetize information very well. Infographics are a perfect example of how we can explain important information in a more engaging way. It required working closely with the authors of the books in order to be accurate with what we were explaining as well as frequently providing sketches to ensure that the flow and the storytelling remained correct. Ultimately I conceptualized and designed comics, composed infographics, and consolidated textual information for over 53 interactive iBooks. Gaia received excellent feedback from the students concerning improved information retention.
Gaia 4.0 Platfom
Problem: The previous version of the program (Gaia 3.0) was developed and built over a long period of time of adding widgets, functionalities, and design changes without any criteria. The UX was messy and confusing for an educational platform that required a lot of interaction among the students.
Solution: Leading a small team I proposed a complete redesign of the platform. The platform acted in almost the same manner as a social network and was full of complexities. The first step was to go back to the basics. Based of the meaning of Gaia (Earth) we designed a narrative that would retain coherence throughout the academic year. After analyzing several ideas we decided that the elements of the periodic table would act as the protagonists of the learning process. Gaia is the Universe, and the elements the pieces that make that Universe possible. This concept allowed the program directors to add new modules without losing coherence with the main concept, since they have up to 118 elements to work with. The second step was cleaning the previous architecture and designing a new one, adjusted to the needs of the network. Finally, the third step was translating all of the above into a front end design for the developers to code.