Debt Management Plan Web Portal

GreenPath Financial Wellness

GreenPath is helping people escape debt and build a financial foundation for their dreams.

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MESSA and its design logo are marks owned by Michigan Education Special Services Association, registered in the U.S.
GreenPath is a national nonprofit focused on financial wellness. They support people with coaching and education about paying off debt, making homeownership decisions, and building a strong financial foundation.

Atomic started by observing and interviewing GreenPath's call center team. Together with GreenPath, they created a prototype for testing using a sketching exercise.

A mockup of the mobile view of the portal was shared directly with GreenPath clients (the end users) via the private GreenPath DMP Facebook community.

Atomic learned that starting the DMP can be stressful. Clients are often confused about what they need to do, and they’re hungry for practical information about their plan. Atomic also learned that clients really appreciate encouragement and motivation to continue.

During design, Atomic asked the Facebook group to review workflows, user interfaces, and visual designs. They then made a clickable prototype and tested it with DMP clients on-site.

I love it! It's laid out month by month — all the way to your debt-free year — so there's absolutely no question as to where your money is going. You can see it for yourself!

Member of the DMP Facebook Community

Coordinating Stakeholders

In addition to team members Grand Rapids and Atomic Object, this project brought together lots of different groups. Having this many cooks in the kitchen required a lot of coordination and a complex project schedule that balanced several timelines and sets of constraints.
Recycling data from the GR Public Services Department
Dozens of vendors with rewards of various sizes, types, and durations — recruited and coordinated by Local First
The myGRcitypoints information website, created by The Image Shoppe

Project Highlights

The portal emphasizes motivational messages and useful, encouraging stats. It shows each user their unique tasks and offers live chat support with GreenPath. Users also receive nudges, progress updates, just-in-time messaging, and milestone badges to keep them motivated.

The three main features on the dashboard were designed to answer the 3 most common questions surfaced during user research: When is my next payment due? What tasks do I need to complete? How long until my debts are paid?

Technical Specs

Atomic designed the system architecture and wrote software and firmware for:

Custom Protocol
Reduces required bandwidth and handle collisions, allowing reliable transfer of a high volume of information through RF and cellular communications back to the data collection service.
Gateway Devices
Each is a Technologic TS 7800 single-board computer with a custom RF receiver. They run a combination of C and Ruby on an embedded Linux system.
Web App
A JRuby on Rails application using an Oracle database that deploys to IBM Websphere.
The impact of the visual design has far exceeded my expectations. It is truly motivating people to stick with the program—and to share their success with other people. Atomic’s design team was amazing.

Nicole Bladzik, Director of Information Technology

Results

  • Feedback from clients has been extremely positive, and retention rates are up.
  • Clients can better understand the program and see their progress, which helps them stick with the DMP to the end.
  • Increased transparency means clients feel more confident about GreenPath.

Under the Hood

For the new client portal, Atomic developed a responsive, single-page web app.

GreenPath had security concerns about giving the web app access to the API. The middleware server gives GreenPath the ability to publish information from their CMS into the infrastructure of the single-page web app.

During development, GreenPath’s internal team updated their backend CMS and connected it with the new API. The two teams collaborated on technical challenges.

If we needed to figure out how to make something work, Atomic was always part of the solution. The communication was great. There was always flexibility to meet our needs in the fastest way possible. It was like working with our own internal team.
Nicole Bladzik, Director of Information Technology

The Atomic Team

Here are some of our current Atoms who worked on this project. Click their photo to read their bios!

Project domain(s)

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Services provided

User Research
System Architecture
Information Architecture
Interaction Design
Visual Design
Software Development
User Testing
Exploratory Testing
Deployment

Tools used

(Confidential)