Product design for a fintech startup

A fintech startup was initiating its offerings with employee family leave management, helping U.S. companies navigate complex legal and financial details that shift over time and vary from state to state. I led design for the self-help leave planner that employees could use to privately explore and determine leave options, and then submit them to HR when ready.

The challenge

What did employees need to know?

What might they want to know?

How would we remove the burdens of navigating a maze of leave options offered by employers, insurance companies and government and at the same time respect the intelligence of inquisitive and capable working people. Too little info could feel patronizing. Too much info could be overwhelming to expectant parents.

The work

I began with an introductory meeting with the founders and engineering team. It was important to understand their unique workflow and handoff expectations. Next came an audit of the existing wireframes and prototype, and immersing myself in founders’ user research.

As the project progressed, I initiated additional UX interviews to iteratively test and advance ideas and solutions. Wireframing was only needed in places where I made major changes to existing interactions. Because I was also establishing overall look and feel, the prototype was completely restyled and interactions updated while I simultaneously began scaffolding a design system.

In writing copy for the leave planner experience, we needed to strike a similar balance, somewhere between calming and authoritative. To that end, I led an accelerated voice and tone workshop with the founders to lay the foundation. I then documented our insights and applied them to the in-app copy.

Untangling complexity

The most interesting piece of this product design puzzle was the core planner tool. Expectant parents face very different leave options for pre-birth, post-birth (the time immediately following a child’s arrival), and bonding leave. This is where companies and states can vary the most widely, and where families need the most support (and privacy) to fine tune their plans.

We provided three widgets for each leave phase, each dedicated to its unique leave options. Choices users made were reflected in real time in a timeline window just below the widgets. They could review the timeline, and then go back and make adjustments as often as they wished, all privately, until they were ready to submit their plan to their employer.


With base structure for the design system and a working prototype, the deliverables also included assets, interaction patterns, and other documentation for engineering, as well as clear direction for a junior designer.

Because the prototype was also being used as a sales demo tool, I centralized all copy that would mention the prospective company name as Figma components on a separate page. This saved hours of picking through the prototype copy to customize the demo ahead of a presentation.