Curing the Debt Epidemic
Awards: Edison- Silver(2016); Spark-Gold(2015)
RKS Seeks to Offer a Solution to Nationwide Debt
RKS has designed hundreds of products for companies big and small. The team was drawn to do an independent project, something different, something to make a difference... something for the world. The RKS team looked for problems hiding in the world around us. Student debt stood out. They sought out to offer a solution to the 40 million graduates suffering from debt and the distress that comes with it. Student debt has taken the form of an epidemic affecting two thirds of college graduates in the nation. Education is the future, but these enormous educational costs are holding students back from reaching their bright futures. Graduates worldwide are buried with stress and discouraged by the piles of debt on their shoulders. Starting an adult life is extremely daunting with the added burden debt provides. Graduates are trapped as they are limited by the daunting decades of payments ahead.
Maximizing User Experience by Streamlining the Profile and Payment Process
A three year process started with identifying the challenges faced by our student community, focusing particularly on those who take on loans to build a better future. Psycho-Aesthetic maps fueled with deep personas based on interviews and analysis led us to innovating a Gen 1 concept. Over the years, we conducted ongoing interviews with loan holders and continually leveraged our insights through development of the service design. The brand and the UX evolved through processes of relentless iteration and streamlining to create a visual mark representing the emotion of the service. In engaging seamlessly with Co-founder Yakin Patel’s team of 30 developers in India we created an empowering UX. RKS associate Dr. Robert Deutsch shared his expertise and conducted his research into the essence of the challenge. He conducted a series of interviews which allowed the team to observe deep emotional dives and the decline in positivity that comes with carrying the burden of debt. Dr. Bob’s interviews uncovered what these students need and what we at RKS, consequently, pivoted our focus towards achieving: Restoring hope and drive in these distressed individuals. Removing the dark cloud raining on their accomplishments as friends and family come to offer their love and support. The pride of achievement that they are fighting to grab hold of. Restoration of energy and freedom to live their lives without the weighted vest of debt was found to be the needed cure. This process of using empathy, connecting, and personal insight to lead innovation and design is only beginning. This emotional specific research and implementation strategy continues onward and upward in bettering this world, from the inside out.
Building the Light at the End of the Tunnel
LoanGifting enables family, friends, and generous donors to conveniently support their loved ones by making a payment directly to the principle of student loans. The web platform provides a convenient and user friendly experience for both students and gifters. LoanGifting presents an opportunity for the greater community to rescue the millions wounded by debt. As students conquer their debt with a little help, they will be able to reach their full potential and give back in fulfilling their great purposes for the world. The value of a loan gift holds a much higher value than its present dollar amount because it avoids future interest. A gift of just $60 per month applied directly to the principle could reduce a 10 year loan by 4 years. LoanGifting brings together the tens of millions of students who have taken on loans to fulfill their dreams and the greater community seeking to provide gifts and educational support in the mutual fight against debt.