Case Study

Capital One—Cashing in on human-centered design to improve financial interactions

4 min read
Kaysie Garza
  •  Oct 4, 2017
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Capital One Financial Corporation focuses on consumer and commercial lending, in addition to deposit origination, as one of the world’s leading diversified banking companies.

However, developing user-centered banking solutions for customers poses large challenges in such a heavily regulated industry—especially with a design strategy that spans 10,000 employees.

Beyond the sheer size of Capital One’s team, design is made up of dozens of small groups spread across 11 locations, from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.. This made idea-sharing a challenge, especially when it came time to communicate and gather feedback specific to a new initiative.

Since designing through a human-centered lens is core to their design strategy, Capital One turned to InVision Enterprise to streamline communication and push the envelope on innovation by making compliance part of the process.

“InVision is the best way to bring the feedback-collecting process into the modern world.” 

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Uniting designers and stakeholders to make better products faster

Despite having 11 design teams spread across a handful of time zones, Capital One operates as a centralized design organization. This means dedicated teams tackle specific lines of business and customer experiences.

“All of us work together at different points along the project life cycle in order to add value. Different people come in and impact a project—we don’t just have everybody on board the whole time with the same intensity,” said Director of Digital Design Ryan Page.

Since multiple viewpoints come in and out along the way, the Capital One team needed a fast, flexible communication tool that maintains a project’s integrity throughout the design process. By adopting InVision as both a communication hub and creative routing tool, Capital One was able to incorporate stakeholders from outside the design organization—and outside the state.

[Previously], we’ve used some antiquated software to collect feedback from the legal, compliance, and brand departments in regards to what we’re developing. But we conducted some analysis, examined the process, and found that InVision is the best way to bring the feedback-collecting process into the modern world.

Driving innovation and design to exceed industry standards

At Capital One, considering user interactions and experiences within the digital space is essential to their design thinking process. In fact, the entire team at Capital One rallies around 3 core principles: simplicity, ingenuity, and humanity. With these guideposts, designers use rapid prototypes in InVision to introduce potential solutions to customer challenges. But that can be tough to balance when working within the confines of complex legal parameters.

The key to successfully introducing these new solutions to market is looping in legal counsel while they’re still in development. With reviewer seats and real-time collaboration capabilities like Boards, InVision gives Capital One the power to fuse regulatory guidelines into the early stages of a design.

This turns legal and compliance stakeholders into a resource that speeds up the design process, instead of a hurdle to overcome later.

“They can provide input into how we think about regulation and how we can actually be innovative in terms of what we’re offering customers—and at the same time be compliant and meet with what regulation asks of us—that’s really where we’ve seen some great things happen,” said Page.

“Design flourishes when you have the ability to tell a compelling story around human and business impact. InVision’s great for helping us get sign-off on designs—and it acts as a system of record, too.”

Using a human-centered lens to meet modern customer needs

The Capital One team works every day to unify its design approach under one key focus: valuing and deeply considering the user’s experience.

Though they don’t always work in the same room, design teams use InVision to give each other a glimpse of what they’re working on. This, in turn, allows the group to continually advocate for customers by balancing co-creative processes with empathy research.

After getting an idea of what customer’s needs are, rapid prototyping makes it possible to test those hypotheses fast.

We’re really invested in direct feedback from our customers around the things we’re thinking about building—or ones we’ve already built but want to improve. We use InVision prototypes to actually put something in front of customers as a way to get feedback.

Internally, this allows Capital One to bring to life what a particular design or experiment might feel like when it’s actually in the hands of customers. When this step loops back to the practice of sharing work across teams, Capital One is able to better connect customer experiences.

“You can’t move forward without business value, but if the business value doesn’t prioritize human desirability, then we’d certainly feel like that strategy isn’t going to be as successful as it could long-term.”

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