iShares 'Conversation'

iShares came to McCann SF looking for a better way to connect with their investors and use as a sales tool. Enter the "Conversation" app - a central hub for iShares fund information, editorial content and debate.

Our Target Personas

The strategist and I developed our two main personas. We had a number of assumptions about the users that proved correct, but a few that were dead wrong...

Big Discoveries: Wireframes, Prototypes, Testing

After floating a number of wireframes, we settled on 3 concepts and did one-on-one user testing with medium fidelity prototypes. The results were eye-opening.

The First Prototype and Testing

We tested all three prototypes with both user groups. The number 1 concept was the clear winner, but it was far from perfect. Below is what we learned from testing. Here's the link to the prototype. 

#1 WIns, Simplicity wins

We thought design #1 would feel light on content. But users love the simplicity of it; compact, yet easy to dig into if desired, unlike #2 or #3.

CREATE A "PRO" Version

The needs of the Financial Planners were different enough from the average investor that we needed a "Pro" version with more an emphasis on research.

Search Feature For the Pro Version Only

Average investors didn't like the content of the search, but CFPs loved it. They liked being able to look up their funds research.

Questions = Engagement

We featured the topics as both sentences and questions. The feedback was that the questions felt more engaging.

Fix usability flaws

The #1 prototype was far from perfect. It had a number of usability flaws,like the left/right arrows and no scroll bars.

The Regular and Pro Prototypes and Testing

For the next round we did testing on specific features and fixes for both the regular and pro versions. Here are the links to the regular prototype and pro prototype.


Both groups were annoyed that there was no indication which content a user could comment on. We added in the comments icon as a solve.

The scrollbars helped

Given a tasks of finding specific content that was hidden, users now knew to scroll to get to the content.

CFPs love the toolbar

The ability to bookmark, save and and follow funds was well received by the CFPs who needed the most up-to-date info for their clients.

an expand icon

Both groups loved the content but thought it was a bit small on the screen. We added an expand icon - which both groups used. 

Add labels

This was a big one. Both groups felt in the initial prototype that the content was hard to browse. We explored a number of options but the dark labels had the most favorable response. 

The Icon Design

The App Design

Once the app loads, the latest question appears. User can then interact with a number of elements relating to the question: polls, articles, videos, blog posts, etc. 

When a user taps on a module (like the Matt Tucker video) an overlay opens for them to watch the content and engage in the commenting.

The app tracked the interactions users had with the commenting and sent notifications as other users replied. The users loved this feature, often carrying on debates for weeks at a time.

To change questions a user swipes right. 

The Pro Version

For the Pro version, we created specific features that targeted the pain points of the CFPs, like bookmarking, the ability to "follow" funds, and search funds information. A timely, one-stop source for all iShares information.