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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?

Introducing Intelligent Portfolios
Redefining Accessibility and Simplicity in Investing

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, a cutting-edge platform, reimagines the investment landscape by offering an effortlessly intuitive interface. This innovative solution not only fosters a deeper understanding of investment strategies but also significantly reduces the workload for everyday investors. Empowering users with professional insights, this platform guides them towards their financial aspirations. Through interactive digital planning tools, a personalized investing roadmap is at their fingertips.


Embracing the latest in user experience (UX) design, our automated tool expertly constructs, monitors, and adjusts diversified portfolios. This comes without the burden of service or management fees. An automatic tax-loss harvesting feature intelligently offset taxes on investment gains, maximizing the return on investments. With over $21 billion in assets managed through Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, the product was a huge success.

Business Problem

In response to evolving demands, we embarked on refining a MVP web app post-launch. The primary goal was to enhance consistency and introduce key features. Beyond the web, our mission expanded to creating sleek native compact and tablet apps for iOS and Android.

Design Process

Research Actions

We kicked off with defining outcomes, researching, forming hypotheses, then moved onto designing, prototyping, testing, and learning. Collaborative discussions were key in creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that we could learn from.

Process Overview

As the lead designer, I drove the collaboration between product managers and developers. Our teamwork led to innovative feature designs and native application development. We refined initial wireframes, initially combining retirement savings and withdrawals, into a more user-friendly separation of Retirement Savings and Retirement Income, thanks to insights from User Experience, Research teams and Product Owners.

Documenting Research


In partnership with the Charles Schwab UX team, we crafted detailed consumer personas. These personas were further enhanced through collaboration with an external research agency.

Customer Journey Map

The UX Team was instrumental in creating a comprehensive customer journey map, which vividly traced the user’s experience from engagement to celebration of their goals.


Goal Set-up Interaction Sketches
Exploratory sketches paved the way for innovative interactions, among them, the transformative Monte Carlo simulation chart, a visual gateway to future return scenarios.

We sought a natural, conversational data entry approach. Users could now effortlessly input goal details using their voices, progressing through prompts seamlessly.


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

Elevating Investment Tracking

The Goal Tracker, a daily companion, monitors goal progression: On Target, Off Target, or At-Risk. By projecting portfolio performance scenarios, users are empowered to make informed decisions.

Relevant performance information surfaces at a glance, ensuring users remain informed effortlessly.

“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

Relevant performance information surfaces at a glance, ensuring users remain informed effortlessly.

Multiple Account View

Clients managing multiple accounts can effortlessly navigate through them with a simple swipe, allowing them to access and manage their investments with ease.


The Unseen Effort Behind Success
The journey from research to launch underscored the considerable effort, time, and resources invested in building and maintaining a digital product. Underestimating these facets is an all-too-common pitfall. Amidst the complex challenges, unwavering collaboration and dedication to our craft propelled us forward.

Significant Accomplishments

Our team's ingenuity culminated in a solution that simplifies investment pursuits, all within an ambitious timeline. Collaboration with three distinct engineering teams harmonized the user experience across platforms, underscoring our commitment to seamless functionality.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Navigating user research, conceptual design, and launching an MVP posed many challenges. However, these challenges served as catalysts for growth. Thankfully we found that collaboration, a shared mission, excellent leadership, and a commitment to craftsmanship empowered us to conquer even the toughest hurdles.


During that period, Schwab faced an uneven ratio of UX designers to product managers. Remarkably, the UX team has since expanded significantly, leading to a healthier dynamic. This transformation was fueled by an atmosphere of open, creative collaboration among design, product, and development—a potent remedy for a previously strained design team.

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