Putting advisers' needs first for better platform design

A highly collaborative design process and a focus on simplicity has enabled IOOF to deliver a more intuitive and efficient platform experience for financial advisers and their support teams.

In developing Evolve, its new super and investments technology platform, IOOF wanted to ensure financial advice professionals were front and centre of the design process.

IOOF User Experience (UX) Manager Glen Johnson and Financial Adviser Corey Riscalla share their thoughts on Evolve’s interface and how it cuts back on complexity, making routine tasks faster and easier.   


How did the IOOF UX team and financial advisers work together on the design process?

Glen Johnson

IOOF User Experience (UX) Manager Glen Johnson

Glen: "Interviewing advisers and their support staff is the foundational piece that we start from. These discovery discussions cover a lot of ground on what matters to advisers. We ask for input on what they think they might need, what their day looks like and how they interact with our platform as part of their daily workflow. We know not all their work is done in our platform so we’re looking to understand how we can avoid the double up of functions already taken care of in other tools like Xplan. This helps us learn how we can best add value to their broader experience, instead of trying to create a platform that solves everything."

"We continue with this work to refine and simplify the user experience in our co-creation sessions with users. Wireframe designs are produced in real-time during discussions as we experiment and ideate collaboratively. There are occasional ‘light bulb’ moments that would be hard to find in any other approach."

"We truly believe that better conversations with our users lets us discover what the product needs to do or how it can do something better."

"And because we carry out updates to our technology internally, advisers can see the benefits from these improvements in the short term through the 100+ releases and updates we push out each month."

Corey: "We use the Evolve platform daily so have an intimate understanding of the system. The development team engaged with our practice to workshop ideas and they pulled together an illustration to demonstrate what it could look like. Together we explored options on the landing page to find out what functionality we would need quick and easy access to"

"This was a really positive experience in terms of getting to share ideas on what would help us most in our everyday work.

"The more useful functionality a system like this has, the more efficient we can be in our role, giving us more time to focus on what we do best which is helping clients."

"Now that we’re using the system, as ideas for improvement emerge we raise them with our representative so they can put it forward as a potential enhancement of the platform for a future release."


What sort of obstacles does the Evolve platform help advisers overcome?

Glen: "Many of the functions we’ve designed are about saving time on routine tasks. Take term deposits for example. A number of advisers told us they run a report every two weeks so they can be proactive and get ahead of maturity dates, giving them a heads up that they need to talk with a client about their options."

"So we learned that we need to show them by default the maturing dates for term deposits at least two weeks out. They no longer have to run and check the report and we’ve added something to the screen that they want to stay on top of."
Corey Riscalla

Financial Adviser Corey Riscalla

Corey: "The reporting is much more flexible and has a modern, clean look. The Evolve system can very quickly produce professional-looking presentation content that we can then share with our clients and use as a tool to discuss their portfolio."

"It’s also much faster and easier to customise and bring multiple reports together so it saves time as well as providing us with a high-quality document to support our client conversations."


How do you think Evolve has improved the user experience overall?

Glen: "Platforms are large and complex and we are continually asking ourselves how to make Evolve feel simpler. There’s a Swiss saying that ‘Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to remove.’ If the platform looks simple and delivers all those functions you’re used to, that in itself is going to provide efficiency to advisers and their support teams."

"One of the ways we do this is to design in a way that the most likely next action is prominent on each screen."

"This focus on a single primary action creates a consistent, clean, and easily scannable experience that focusses the user on what they need to do at the right time."

Corey: "Our main focus is super and pension investment clients and we use a number of different platforms to facilitate their investment needs. In my experience ease of navigating a platform is really critical for our productivity and makes for a better experience. We don’t want to be wasting time with clunkiness in how we access the platform and with the reporting systems."

"With Evolve we’ve found that it’s very quick to carry out portfolio transactions."

"The design is really fresh and uncluttered and it’s easy to navigate, even for those with limited experience using digital tools. If the development team continue adding to the functionality and keep it this simple to use, it’s going to be one of the top platforms in the industry."


Find out more about Evolve, the new, modern technology platform that powers IOOF’s superannuation and investments products.

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