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Money Moves (Zelle): Case Study

4 module financial education macro-course experience geared towards a teen audience.



Zelle needed an engaging financial education course for high school students covering such topics as peer-to-peer money payment apps and financial transactions, so they turned to EVERFI—the market leader in K-12 financial education.

Since this product was sponsored by Zelle—it also needed to align with their brand, which is modern, young, and often uses humor in their advertising.

Project Example (Module 2)


The complexity of meeting the learning objectives within a fictional narrative presented itself early on. While the initial drafts of the scripts hit the learning objectives—the activities and interactions were disconnected from the narrative. Who is engaging with this interaction? Is it the user? Is it the user as a character? Are the characters observing this interaction by the user? Additionally, vital information was often buried in exposition by a character, missing opportunities for user engagement and retention of learning objectives.

Using Oregon Trail and RPGs (role playing games) as inspiration, I proposed breaking the exposition into “decision points”—giving the user the opportunity to succeed or fail at key learning objectives by taking control of the main character in each of the 4 modules. “Decision points” were also used to drive the action forward and give users the “illusion of choice” and “delight” with choices for potential “witty responses.” I also suggested the idea of a “voice of reason” character in each of the 4 modules to serve as an “omniscient” observer of the action to deliver key information to the user that can’t always be covered in activities.

The result is that the course plays like a “game” rather than a series of Q&A screens. The conversational UI of this course was meant to reference mobile device “chat messages” to help connect with the teenage audience.

Project Example (Module 3)


Money Moves was conceptually, a very difficult concept to execute from the script revisions to the negotiations to make sure custom course components made it into a release. For example: setting one border radii corner to “0” for a “chat bubble” style proved more difficult than expected when dealing with a legacy SDK.

In the end it was worth it, as user testing revealed that the pain points and the struggles for the vision of the product were exactly what users responded to most (the decision points, choice of responses, chat bubbles). This was the rare project where we actually heard users say back to us the things that we worked hardest to achieve!


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The Knell: Case Study

I founded, designed and developed social video startup The Knell—a social video platform showcasing traditionally underrepresented voices (women, people of color, LGBTQIA) and creators that support diversity in front of and behind the camera.

The Knell was built using Vue.js (SPA), Webpack , Ruby on Rails and AWS (EC2, S3, CloudFront, Amplify).



The lack of diversity in tech and entertainment had revealed inefficiencies in the way that underrepresented consumers connect with content that matters to them. Starting in 2016, I began an entrepreneurial journey to create a platform for underrepresented content creators to reach consumers that were interested in their content.

After the end of Vine and before TikTok, there was a void in the short-form content space for creatives and underrepresented content creators.

Project Example (What Is The Knell?)


The Knell was a social video platform showcasing traditionally underrepresented voices (women, people of color, LGBTQIA) and creators that support diversity in front of and behind the camera.

The Knell sought to fill that short-form content void with something that we called “knells”—1-5 minutes videos. To encourage discovery, The Knell would also run a mix of short and long-form content blocks in a 24/7 continuous stream.

Additionally, The Knell included a rating system for parental controls and a feature called The Knell Grade.

The Knell Grade

The Knell Grade contained two self-evaluation challenges for creators:

  1. The Bechdel-Wallace Test: Does my video have at least two [named] women, who talk to each other about something other than a man?
  2. The Biddle Test: Does my video have at least two people of color and/or LGBTQIA who are not relegated to cultural stereotypes?

We assigned a letter grade (on an A-F scale) based on our challenge criteria. Higher scoring videos received the most prominence on the platform.

Project Example (Video Sample)


The Knell was a labor of love and helped begin my plunge into the technology product design space. It was truly a worthwhile learning experience and I can think of few endeavors that were such a university-worthy crash course (product design, front-end development, business strategy).

But like many entrepreneurs of color, the struggle to attain funding and find collaborators who understand your mission often go beyond your own “bootstrapped” runway.


The Knell Proof of Concept

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Achieve: Case Study

53+ module adult financial education micro-course experience (5-10 minute completion time per module).



The problem for Achieve was two-fold. First, while EVERFI had exceeded at creating financial education experiences for K-12 learners, it had not yet tackled that experience for adult learners. How could we create a comprehensive suite of financial education topics geared towards an LMI (low to moderate income) audience? Second, given the amount of topics necessary to cover (over 50)—how could we deliver these in a timely fashion to meet market expectations?


Given the target demographic of LMI adult learners, the product needed to “meet users where they are.” As most of our K-12 products were designed for classrooms, the desktop experience was the main (and sometimes only) requirement for the course design. Given the necessity of the working professional on the go, EVERFI opted for a “mobile first approach” where we began all wireframes with the mobile versions and considered the other viewports later to ensure that our mobile experience wasn’t simply a pared-down desktop experience (as is often the case).

Project Example

Regarding the second challenge, the strategy for how to release was a difficult one. The need was addressed (the product) but the “how” (re: go to market strategy) was still murky. There simply weren’t enough staff members necessary to complete the work in time for the pre-determined release. Even with the help of an outside agency for additional design and development resources the deadline wasn’t feasible.

After much discussion, I proposed a “lean, mean” MVP pilot program starting with 4-6 (of the promised 50) modules that would allow us to perfect the kinks and receive iterative feedback from pilot partners that we could include in product improvements for the remaining modules.

In the end, this proposal was agreed upon as the best way forward with the compromise of starting with 12 modules.

Achieve’s micro-learning experience has become a flagship EVERFI product with many other projects (many of which I have lead) being based upon this framework.

Project Example (Achieve’s children)


While Achieve and it’s product offspring have become a high percentage of EVERFI’s revenue, the challenges of “building fast” are not without their pitfalls. As Achieve has grown in scope, so has the code debt. Spending time early in the “discovery” phase can mitigate these potential problems, as I am currently helping spearhead a more scalable update of Achieve to release the summer of 2021.


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