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Intelligent Portfolios



Research-driven UX Design

Time Frame

May 2014–December 2016


Senior UX Designer

Senior Researcher

What is Intelligent Portfolios?
• Schwab Intelligent Portfolios is a simple, intuitive interface that makes investing more accessible, easier to understand, and a lot less work for average investors. It provides professional guidance, helping customers reach their goals with interactive digital planning tools that provide a customized investing roadmap.

• The automated tool builds, monitors, and re-balances fully diversified portfolios without service or management fees, and automatic tax-loss harvesting helps customers offset the taxes on investment gains.

• Over $21 billion in assets are managed via Schwab Intelligent Portfolio.

Business Problem

We needed to increase consistency across the MVP web product post-launch, add a few key features, and design robust, compact native and tablet apps for both iOS and Android.
As the lead designer, I collaborated with product managers and developers to design new features and finish the remaining native application work. The initial wireframes presented retirement savings and retirement withdrawals together. Product owners and the UX team discovered during some collaborative rapid prototyping that this approach was too complex. Later versions of the interaction wires would show Retirement Saving and Retirement Income as two separately.


Sketches & Wireframes
Illustration: chart a user's potential retirement goal.
Collaborated with members of the Charles Schwab UX team to document Schwab Intelligent Portfolio personas. Coordinated with an external agency to research and develop the personas further.
Customer Journey Map
UX helped to inform stakeholders and teams with a robust customer journey map that visualized the steps a customer moves through. Steps were taken as they are engaged, across time to set up goal(s), make adjustments to stay on track, receive support and guidance, compensate for life changes, keep the goal(s) in mind, and finally celebrate.
Goal Set-up Interaction Sketches
After explorative sketches, the product owner and UX agreed the best way to communicate the details of future return scenarios visually, was with a Monte Carlo simulation chart.

The team also had to identity the best customer interaction for setting up their financial goal. After explorative sketches, we agreed the best way to communicate the details of future return scenarios visually; was with a Monte Carlo simulation chart as shown below:

Different sketches explore goal setup interactions. A horizontal meter to communicate confidence and progress against a goal seemed simpler at first.


Sketches show our shift toward data entry being more natural and conversational. We wanted customers to use their voices to enter goal set-up data, advancing through forms one prompt at a time.


Low fidelity wireframe displaying multiple years, projections as well as a goal. This wireframe wasn't pursued. The chart did not meet our requirements for simplicity.



Goal Tracker

Setup & Track an Investment Goal
Goal Tracker provided daily monitoring of whether a goal is On Target, Off Target, or At-Risk by projecting hypothetical portfolio performance.

The product tracked progress against a goal over time and allows adjustments to variables, such as contributions. The impacts of the changes to their goal are reviewed with the customer before saving.
“I literally had to do nothing else but sign up and transfer the funds. I can't speak highly enough of it.”
— Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Customer
Shows the most relevant performance information at a glance.
Multiple Account View
Clients with multiple accounts can swipe left and right to view each.


The amount of effort, time, and resources required to research, concept, design, launch and manage a digital product can be easily underestimated.

Collaboration and dedication to craft amongst the team led us through the most complex challenges.

Significant Accomplishments

The team provided customers with a simple solution for their investment goals within a relatively aggressive timeline.

Stakeholders collaborated with three separate engineering teams to create a seamless product experience across platforms.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

An unhealthy ratio of user experience designers to product management, web/mobile development resources was the most challenging problem in my opinion.

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