Let us first agree on two things: climate change is bad, and we should all know what our money is funding.
But when founders Bonnie Gurry and Elizabeth Landau looked at their financial portfolios, they had more questions than answers. What were their accounts doing with their savings, exactly? Were they unwittingly investing in fossil fuels? What was the real world impact of their personal finances?
With no source of truth and no clear way to compare financial products, they began to seek a solution – not only to offer insight into the climate impact of personal finances, but also to use that insight as a driver of positive change.
GreenPortfolio took root when Bonnie and Elizabeth decided to create a platform that helped people invest in a more sustainable world. And as they cultivated research to fortify their big idea, GreenPortfolio began to grow.
Why they chose us
When GreenPortfolio approached ustwo, the product was still in seedling form. The structure of the platform was established, but it needed a design boost in order to blossom. We partnered with GreenPortfolio to conduct a redesign of the platform’s key elements to elevate the look, feel, and emotional impact of the user experience.
We’re thrilled to share that in the fall, GreenPortfolio will be publicly launching their product, a new kind of financial platform that guides users towards investing in companies, funds, and services in line with their values.
Climate change looms heavy – and according to studies from Pew Research and Yale, concern about the climate is a greater burden on Millennials and younger generations. GreenPortfolio gives young people a much-needed tool for action, leveraging control over personal finances in the fight for a more sustainable world.
To help users stay engaged in complex, potentially overwhelming spaces (climate change and finance), GreenPortfolio needed to make their user experience feels as emotionally resonant, optimistic, and focused as their mission.
How could they create a new kind of financial platform that felt rewarding and interactive, rather than a chore to avoid? As a digital product studio focused on creating moments of delight in all human contexts, we said: challenge accepted.
The Fun Stuff
Finances are a serious matter, and climate change even more so. However, through empathetic design and our pillars of Play Thinking, we could reframe the high-stakes context into something that both looked and felt friendlier. This approach transforms the user’s mindset, turning anxiety about finances or fear of climate change into excitement and action.
Building off learnings from research and user testing, we landed on visual “islands” as a dynamic, approachable way to illustrate the “green-ness” of a user’s portfolio.
GreenPortfolio employs a proprietary AI-driven calculation method that scores personal finance portfolios on a scale of 0 to 100 for climate impact (0 = bad, 100 = good). The islands serve as visual representations of this scale in a clear, motivating way, allowing users to grasp their portfolio’s overall climate impact in a single glance.
User testing demonstrated significant response to color-coding, so our islands each corresponded to a distinct palette for differing levels of climate impact.
For instance, a portfolio with a desirable climate scorecard would show a lush, thriving island against a green background, whereas a portfolio with harmful impact would reveal a barren island set against an orange or red palette.
These visual metaphors not only provided a playful way to convey good vs. bad, but also potential force to motivate – if people feel a sense of loss when viewing an island devoid of life, they may then feel driven to follow the platform’s suggested alternatives for greener choices in their portfolio.
To inform users without overwhelming them, we incorporated subtler ways of explaining the implications of their data, balancing explicit statistics with implied expressions of value – such as a vertical score layout that tapped into people’s intuitive sense of “up” being more desirable than “down.” Throughout our design, we kept visual clarity in focus for an accessible user experience.
We not only wanted to present information clearly, but also foster an emotional connection between people and their finances to encourage confident decisions and positive action. The ultimate goal was to design a financial platform that would feel like a natural and rewarding part of a user’s routine.
Our redesign established GreenPortfolio as an insightful, empathetic financial platform and a trusted partner in the collective fight against climate change.
Why it matters
Anxiety is a normal emotional response to complex issues where there is no simple solution. However, anxiety doesn’t solve problems. We can combat anxiety by creating opportunities for action, large or small, to drive positive change that ripples outwards.
GreenPortfolio offers a compelling example of how people can make everyday sustainable choices in a previously overlooked aspect of their life – armed with the knowledge, the tools, and the motivation to stay engaged. By providing users with an easy-to-use platform for greener financial decisions, GreenPortfolio helps people take steps towards doing something… in a fight where every move adds up.