This research projects came through KSU where we were tasked with taking the Robinhood mobile app where we were reasearching the user experience to identify potential gaps & opportunities.

The Project

About Robinhood
The Robinhood founders have disrupted the stock trading industry by offering $0 commission fees for ETF stock trading; as other companies charge around $7-$9.99 per trade. The company has grown their user base to well over 2 million users since the iOS launch in 2015 to April 26, 2017, by capturing a niche market of both experience traders and those just starting out. Although Robinhood started with the iOS launch, then Android Launch, Robinhood Instant feature, and Robinhood Gold feature; all of this has helped the substantial growth of the users base.

Problem Statement
However, with a diverse mix of experienced investors, day traders, and also inexperienced users, the level of engagement per user has now started to see a considerable decline.

Research Question
“Why is there a substantial number of users’ accounts having very little or zero activity?”

Research Method & Target Audience

Focus Groups
• Inexpensive to conduct
• Larger number of participants in a short amount of time
• Open script to allow for natural discussion with the group
• Listen and understand about what people think
• Group discussion about each others opinions
• Generate a larger number of ideas
• Very much like a brainstorming session

User Interviews
• Inexpensive to conduct
• Smaller number of participants
• Takes little bit more time conducting one-on-one interviews
• Tightly scripted with interview questions
• Listen to what people say they do or think
• Ideation is on a per individual basis
• Very much like an open discussion with two individual

Target Audience Profile
My optimal participant that I’m looking to target would be a young professional 30-40 years of age who is interested in investing in the stock market. An individual that is looking for a tool that is easy to use, helps them learn how to invest, and show me why investing can help me build a strong financial future. They need to by tech-savvy using a smartphone to invest and comfortable moving funds from their bank account to this cloud base platform that is a digital-only company.

• Goals – learning investing basics, understanding investing vocabulary, advice & coaching
• Frustrations – costs of commission fees, complicated technology, confusing terminology

Data Analysis

Results from User Interviews
After conducting the user interviews, I found during my exploratory research that six key data points could help the Robinhood app grow both their user base and revenue. See below what the participants said, had in common, and what they wanted:

• 67% – Highly interested in stocks
• 100% – Need better understanding of how to trade stocks
• 67% – Invest at work with 401K
• 33% – Currently talks to and uses a financial advisor
• 100% – If I had extra cash I’d like to Invest
• 67% – Features I’d want are: real time updates, news, and alerts

Results from Focus Group
• Unable to conduct the focus group
• Recruiting the participants took longer than expected
• Participants didn’t all show up on time for the session
• Had to cancel and inject some exploratory questions for the user interview session




“If the Robinhood App was able to link to my bank account or a 3rd party app that I use such as Mint for my finances to find me savings that I can put into investing; that would be pretty darn cool. This feature would make me more engaged in the app.”

— Cole

– – –

“Considering that I’ve never traded myself in the stock market, I want a tool to help guide me…hold my hand in giving me the best possible decision-making advice based on your expert research and market analysis in a simple and user-friendly interface as possible.”

— Chandlee

Key Findings
The findings from the user interviews provided some great insight on what users wanted and their pain points with the app. Overall, the majority of them said they just want some guidance on how to make stock purchases and learn from everyday people that are big investors to gain insights from their experiences.

• Most people don’t have discretionary money
• The unknown scares people and they just won’t risk their money, not even a small amount
• People want to feel educated so they can feel comfortable about investing money in buying stocks
• People willing to self educate if the information all in one place
• Addition of a stock finanical trader would really help them
• People want real-time updates, news, and alerts


My report does find that Robinhood app is missing out on a massive demographic that it is not targeting today and at the current rate of new users to the app will plateau very soon. This significant gap in the marketplace which is currently untapped by other competitors in the space and it is a vital opportunity for Robinhood.

Product Recommendations
By considering some or all of these recommendations, the Robinhood mobile app would increase the rate of user activity. We will also see an increase the number of users that we’re not currently targeting, who are the novice investors. See some of the recommendations below:

01. Vetted stock traders that write blogs or articles
02. Look into my finances and find my ways to save money to be able to invest
03. Connect me with an independent financial advisor
04. Real-time updates, news, and alerts
05. Marketing effort, simply start with $100 or less