LEarn: Engaging Financial Education Between Parents & Teens

Product Design, Service Design, UI Design

Fall 2017 - Service Design

Professors:  John Zimmerman, Jodi Forlizzi

Team: Bori Lee, Jenny Hu, Shipra Arora,  Emily Osborne, Shitian Wang

My Role: Research, Concept Development, UI Design, Prototyping                                                                                                        


LEarn is a gamified financial education app that allows parents and children to collectively set purchasing goals and achieve them by completing a customized, modular curriculum. This is a service design project  in partnership with the PNC bank. Our team collaborated to execute each phase of research and ideation, while I was largely responsible for service strategy & design prototyping


Design Brief


Design a new service that empowers family financial education &  establish a positive relationship between the PNC bank & teens, their future customers.


Preparing the next generation for a solid financial future is critical. However, most teens nowadays have low financial literacy due to the lack of financial education & opportunities to learn through real life experiences. 





Our client PNC Bank suggested that teens, future customers, lack financial education given the amount of money they have access to.  Our task was to help PNC establish a relationship with teens through financial literacy. 



Through exploratory research of parent-teen pair interviews and comparative analysis, we learned that the best time to start financial education is middle school, and family play the biggest role in financial education during this time. However, most middle-school aged teens do not receive proper financial education from their parents .

Based on the findings, we reframed problem space more specifically to family influenced financial education for middle school age teens to maximize effectiveness of the service.  We then created a stakeholder map to further understand the influences on middle school aged teen's financial decisions, and the value flows associated with those decisions. 

Preliminary Research


With the new problem space, we conducted more teen-parent pair interviews to understand teen financial experience from their perspectives and how finance is taught at home. A survey was created to evaluate parent's effort to educate teens financial concepts. We found: 

  1. The vast majority of parents make effort to teach finances but lack tools and resources to teach their teens effectively. High financial literacy of parents does not necessarily yield effective teaching

  2. Teens need strong incentives to learn finances, such as working towards a reward

  3. PNC Bank does not have direct touchpoint with teens

  4. Teens learn finances best when they Interact with banks or retails from real world experiences, but lack chances to do so

Thus, there is a great opportunity to provide active teaching parents with an educational tool that both build an experience of working towards a goal for teens, and bridge connections between teen, parents, bank and retail.


In-Depth Research

Interview, Survey & Comparative Analysis


User Persona


Design Opportunity


Concept Making + Testing


With the new focus of shifting ineffective teaching to effective teaching by providing tools and resources to active teaching parents, we went through brain-storming session. 30+ high level ideas were generated, discussed and merged into 3 concepts: Learning Value of Things, Money Game App, and Stacking to a Goal. We created storyboards and conducted 8 sessions of speed dating with parents and teens in local middle schools to decide on a direction for our final design solution. Key feedbacks: 

  1. Teens prefer to learn in an adult-like way. They do not like some of our ideas because they are "too childish" for them.

  2. Visualization makes learning more engaging for teens.

  3. Incentives, short term and long term goals must be presented for teens to learn.