The Janus Savings Platform
This project received the Student Runner Up recognition from the Core77 Design Awards in Service Design.
This project was designed in collaboration with Jonathan Lung and Wan Jung Hung. My responsibilities included conducting user interviews, generating insights and "how might we" questions to seed the design process, conceptualizing the platform, branding physical collateral, and designing the user interface for the website.
What: A financial system
Who: Minimum wage workers
Where: Products of Design class "Design Research and Integration", under the guidance of Sarah Lidgus, Lawrence Abrahamson and Ellen Hudson
When: Products of Design, Semester 1
Why: To help minimum wage workers rise out of poverty
How: The Janus Savings platform is the result of implementing the IDEO design research method and conducting several interviews with minimum wage workers. It is a financial platform in which low-income people who make below $35,000 a year can crowdsource their savings goals [this threshold was based on our classmates' research]. Donations are made via credit card points and an optional "Save the Change" program, whereby purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar, with the difference donated to a savings goal. Direct contributions to savings goals are also possible through the Janus Savings platform.
The platform is physically manifested in a metal white credit/debit card, intentionally branded in opposition to the ultra-exclusive "black cards" that exist in the market. We chose the name Janus after the Roman god Janus - who is the god of beginnings and transitions. We felt that was appropriate for a platform that we hoped would help workers eventually lift themselves out of poverty. The double face imagery was also symbolic of our belief that people need help in order to escape the minimum wage - that it is extremely difficult to do so alone.