Kernel Wealth

A faster way for regular contributors to invest

UI & UX Design
Product Strategy

About Kernel

Kernel was born out of frustration with the inefficiencies, lack of innovation, and low financial literacy holding back the New Zealand financial industry and, ultimately, Kiwi's financial futures.

The project

At Kernel, we believe that consistent contributions are crucial for financial success. We identified that less than 20% of our users used Auto-Invest, a tool for automating recurring buy orders. This project aimed to increase the frequency of our users' investment orders, promoting dollar-cost averaging for index investing (investing regardless of market movements).

My contribution

I was the sole Designer for this project, working closely with the Product team. Together, we investigated the factors behind our low Auto-Invest adoption rate and brainstormed product solutions to boost the number of "regular contributors" on our platform. Once we defined the solution, I crafted the final mock-up for development.


As at 3 Sept, 2023


Total bulk buy orders


Of total orders


Most common order amount

Design challenge

“How might we make it easier to invest on a regular basis?”




Synthesising user research

Our Product Manager and I conducted bi-weekly user interviews to explore our users' needs, desires, goals, and pain points. We asked users about the Auto-Invest feature, whether they had used it or were still using it, and why. Surprisingly, all the users we interviewed had previously tried the tool, and many were regularly investing, just not through Auto-Invest. Identifying the exact motivation behind this behaviour was challenging. One assumption we drew from the discussions was that users found more control and reliability in manually buying investments.

“... at the beginning, I did their Auto-Invest thing. But I've stopped that now.”

“Ideally I would like to pop in X amount of money a week and have it split between my four funds.”



The system

Technical challenges

Our buying and Auto-Invest functionality was developed by 'Adminis,' the custodian for Kernel (a government-approved entity responsible for safeguarding customer securities). While we had some flexibility to make adjustments on our end, any modifications still required integration into their existing system. Consequently, our design focus was on improving the user experience and presenting information more intuitively, rather than introducing new purchasing functionality.

Restructuring onboarding

While KiwiSaver and Save require fewer security checks than investing, our tech capacity could not separate onboarding flows based on product choice. So, I made AML verification mandatory before accessing any product, simplifying tech interactions and encouraging users to complete verification before use. There was no benefit to entering before AML had been completed since everything in the product was hidden or disabled before you completed it.

Buying multiple funds at once

Our research revealed that the low adoption rate of Auto-Invest was not due to a lack of awareness or understanding. Users simply preferred the manual buying experience. Our regular contributors were buying each fund individually every fortnight. We asked ourselves, "Why haven’t we allowed people to buy multiple funds simultaneously?" Our first step to enhance the experience was to allow multiple fund purchases at once.

Structuring the flow

Our current purchasing flow catered primarily to new investors who preferred researching each fund before making a decision. However, the redesigned purchase flow aimed to prioritise user efficiency, allowing them to quickly select and purchase their desired funds.



The solution

Fund selection

To optimise the space better, I designed a vertical checklist for the funds. I used a pinned footer to display the number of selected funds to the user. The vertical scrolling and fund avatars enabled users to quickly scan the list and efficiently build their order.

Improved onboarding flows

To minimise distractions, I opted for a separate, streamlined flow within the product. I introduced a refreshed user interface with small, center-aligned cards for each step. This approach encouraged simplicity and ensured that the process remained easily digestible. Moreover, the design seamlessly scaled down for mobile devices, providing a consistent user experience across different screen sizes.

Buying confirmation

I designed a new summary and confirmation screen that highlighted key order details. This included the expected trading day, a summary of the funds being purchased, and their current status. Our research revealed that trading days were a source of confusion for newer users.




Key metrics

As at Sept 3, 2023


Total bulk buy orders


Most common order amount


Of total orders




Where we succeeded

While this project originally set out to improve Auto-Invest, I'm pleased that we shifted our focus to improving the manual buying process. Our research provided an explanation for the low adoption rates and it was reassuring to discover that many of our users were regularly contributing, even if tracking them was challenging. Although this release addressed only one aspect of the problem, it serves as a valuable stepping stone for further improvements in the buying process. In the future, we could integrate the Auto-Invest functionality into this flow to provide a centralised solution for buying investments.

Where we could improve

In retrospect, we could have refined how we tracked the project’s success. While we successfully decreased the time required for fund purchases on our platform, its impact on the volume and frequency of user investment orders remains unclear. Surprisingly, bulk purchases did not become the preferred method for acquiring funds, despite its efficiency and clarity. Users continue to use the fund drawer for their purchases. In the future, I would like to explore a unified buying experience rather than having multiple separate experiences. This would allow us to offer a consistent user experience regardless of the type of order they place.

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