The part of the work that I most enjoy at CFPB are the least flashy, but most challenging projects. Breaking down complex information into more visually enjoyable and understandable chunks is my JAM. I enjoy helping passionate people who are excited about their work reach a larger audience.
Building blocks of financial education
The youth financial education team needed a simple and visually appealing graphic to engagingly explain to parents how children develop their understanding of financial concepts across developmental stages.
After many iterations, like using a rainbow rock and stack toy as a visual metaphor, this pinterest-worthy graphic has become the main visual way the CFPB explains learning financial concepts as part of child development. It illustrates how learning aspects of financial literacy iteratively over multiple stages in a child's life compound on one another and lead to better financial well-being in adulthood.
Understanding variations in credit scores explainer
Because consumers can now readily access their credit scores from multiple banks or other institutions, they may see a variation in the numbers. The task of explaining this variation was complicated by the fact that there is no consistent formula for credit scores, and most factors that go into these formulas are beyond a consumer's immediate control.
Through a collaborative process the financial education team and I decided that we wanted a simple graphic that conveyed the following:
- it was ok to see some slight variation in scores
- why scores might be different
- the aspects that the consumer could control to improve their score
After workshopping numerous options, I came up with the concept of using marbles or sand art as a visual metaphor. It helped tie the graphic together and give a concrete example of an abstract formula.
This graphic has lived beyond the one blog post it was created for, and found a home on the difference between credit scores and credit reports page of the site. consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/credit-reports-and-scores/difference-between-credit-scores-and-credit-reports
Legal Coverage Flowcharts
Recently, the Bureau has begun to create yes/no flowcharts as a simple way to help people understand if they need to follow particular regulations. It's a high level look to provide more information on when the rule should be followed.
These complex charts need to be clear and printable because lawyers hang them up in their offices to easily access.
Adding subtle color to the yes/no boxes helps clarify the flow and makes it easier for users to recognize the difference between the options, because often a yes doesn't lead to a positive outcome.
Because of the success of this style, we've started to make similar flowcharts for more of our rules and regulations.
Curriculum Review Tool
This is one of the more complex projects that I've worked on at the Bureau. This tool helps financial educators evaluate different financial education curricula. It involved creating a simple system for a 4 part, 100+ question form that has 2 scoring metrics, and takes users 4+ hours to complete.
Guide for K-12 financial education resources
This project involved making a dense 120 page guide of full of useful resources and case studies easily manageable for educators and policymakers. The report is broken into 3 sections with 11 subsections.
My solution was to create a system of mock tabs to help users navigate what section of the report they are in and to easily flip between them. Color works to unify each section, and add visual interest.
There's also a visual guide with questions in gray boxes that helps to connect users to the section that will meet their needs. Each section can also be broken out and distributed individually.
The result is a report that works better and more dynamically for its users.