Robinhood - Add a Feature

My Role:

Product Designer

Project Type:

Add a feature to existing app


View prototype


2 weeks

Tools Used:

Figma, Zoom, Notion

The Problem:

Gen Z & Millennials are not confident in making investment decisions alone

According to a Pew Research study, only 37% of millennials feel knowledgeable about their investments. In another study, Gen Z investors were nearly five times as likely to report that they get financial advice from social media as adults aged 41 and over, with 28% turning to friends and online influencers for guidance.

The Solution:

Make investing social!

Adding a feature to Robinhood that allows users to connect with their friends and see each other's trading activity on an activity feed. As a social generation, young investors value input from their friends to make investment decisions. This is also beneficial to Robinhood's business goal to increase transactions on their platform.

1) Add your friends

  • Stay motivated and engaged by connecting with your friends
  • Talking about investing helps everyone become more financially literate*
*according to Business Insider

2) See what your friends are investing in!

  • Discover new investment ideas and strategies
  • Make more informed investment decisions with real-time information and social feedback
  • Increase knowledge-sharing and idea exchange among friends to build confidence

Secondary Research:

A massive 86% of millennials want to discuss investing

I started this project researching industry trends for investing platforms and Gen Z & Millennial investors (Robinhood's target market). What I found was pretty surprising:

1) Only 37% of millennials feel knowledgeable about their investments according to a study by Pew Research.
2) A massive 86% of millennials want to have open discussions about investing, and 50% of those want to discuss investing in the stock market.

It also turns out, talking about investing is also incredible beneficial:

"Knowledge is power and people tend to feel a huge sense of relief from discussing their situation and possibly fears with regard to money, this in turn allows them to make better decisions, avoid critical mistakes, set attainable goals and demystify the subject of money."

- Greg Heller, founder and CEO of HCR Wealth Advisors in Los Angeles.

Competitive Analysis:

With the above statistics in mind, I did a competitive analysis for 3 of Robinhood's competitors who had a social aspect to their investing platform. These platforms validated the need in the market for this feature.

User Interviews:

My interviewees all discuss investing with friends

After learning that Millennials and Gen Z do in fact what to talk about investing, I conducted 4 interviews with my peers (age range of 25-34) who have used apps investing apps like Robinhood. The goal of the research was to understand if people would invest more frequently if they could openly share, discuss, and see what their friends are investing in. From the interviews, I was able to create an Affinity Map to begin finding patterns and trends.

Sample Interview Questions:
1) Can you tell me about your experience with with investing apps like Robinhood?
2) Can you walk me through how you decide what you are going to invest in?
3) What’s the hardest part about deciding what to invest in?
4) Have your friends’ investing decisions every influenced you? If yes, can you tell me about that time?
5) Are you comfortable with sharing what you are investing in?

Findings & Insights:

Investing is a social activity

After creating the Affinity Map, it became evident that young investors not only value the investing opinions of their friends, but they also actively seek out the opinions of their friends. What's great to note was that they wouldn't blindly follow their friends, but they used the opinions of others as another factor in their investing decision process.

User Persona:

From the research, I was able to create a User Persona to inform the rest of the design process. Zara is a young professional who is interested in investing, but is still learning the ropes. She values learning and a big resource for her is from her friends who have more experience with investing.

User Flows:

For this feature, the flows I built were:
1) Adding friends after new feature is announced
2) Disabling 'Ghost Mode' to make your trades visible to your friends
3) Buying $AAPL from the Activity Feed

Task Flows:

Building the task flows pointed out areas to make the workflow easier for users such as where to put the call-to-action button on the home page to announce the new feature.

Low Fidelity Sketches

After creating the flows, I started to sketch several of the screens I had to make. The interesting part was trying to keep within the constraint of Robinhood's design system.

High Fidelity Wireframes

Upon finishing my low fidelity sketches and receiving feedback, I built out the high-fidelity wireframes on Figma.

Usability Testing & Iterations:

2 main improvements for better usability

1) Activity Feed

From the usability tests, I received feedback that my Activity Feed could be confused for a group chat.

I edited it to make it appear more like a traditional Activity Feed.

2) CTA on home screen

Based on feedback, I changed the pop up CTA on the home screen to be darker so that it is more visible.

I also changed some of the content to make it more apparent to users that there is a new feature.

Final Product:

View Figma Prototype


1) In this project, I faced the constraint of working within the existing UI of Robinhood, which presented a challenge of incorporating a new feature without disrupting the overall layout and navigation. While it was possible to add more elements, I wanted to avoid rearranging the homepage or navigation tab. Therefore, I decided to integrate the new feature into the Profile Page as it seemed the most logical placement. However, upon reflection, I realize the importance of testing my assumptions and validating the design decisions.

In hindsight, I would have benefited from conducting a card sort or seeking feedback from potential users on their expectations regarding the placement of an "Activity Feed" feature. This would have allowed me to gather insights and ensure that the design aligns with users' mental models and preferences.