Discover new stocks to invest in with collections.

Robinhood Header Image


In the winter of 2018, I interned at Robinhood as a product designer. During my time there, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of new projects including features for the 2018 release of Robinhood Crypto and Robinhood for Web.

In addition to these new products, one problem area I was able to focus on involved helping the subset of users who sign up to Robinhood but don’t end up investing with the product.

In the end, a solution for three key locations of the product was designed to make picking investment opportunities easier to understand, accessible, and more convenient.

Problems uncovered from user research

As with many mobile apps, a significant portion of Robinhood’s user base is taken up by inactive users. In the months leading up to this project, a study by our user research team was conducted in order to understand the underlying reasons behind why Robinhood new users become inactive. Reading through these findings, I learned when new users are looking to invest, their main hurdle is deciding which stock they should invest in first. There seemed to be two main reasons for this:

  1. The first reason was that Robinhood lacked the tools necessary for users to discover stocks on their own. When users are first using the product, it is very common for them to say "I don’t know what stocks are available to invest in on the app".
  2. The second reason was due to users lacking confidence. With the exception of current and former professional traders, almost all users say they are "not an expert" and don’t feel educated enough to invest themselves.


These two problems of stock discovery and user confidence informed the goals for this project.

The first goal was to enable new users to easily find different stocks to invest in. The second was to improve education in order to help users feel confident and empowered enough to invest themselves.

Understanding where we’ve been

Our team has not previously focused considerable attention on problem two of user education. However, work has been done in the past towards addressing problem one of encouraging stock discovery. In the months leading up to this project, a feature on Robinhood for Web called Collections had been designed.

Collections is a feature that helps users discover different investment opportunities by allowing users to search through different curated lists of stocks that relate in some fashion.

Prior research regarding Collections on the web product was overall positive with there being many active users of it. On the web product, Collections exist in three locations: on a stock detail, in search, and in a collection list view.

Initial Web

With this existing design for Collections on our web product, it was decided that we not go through an end-to-end design process towards addressing the first user problem of discovery. Instead, we decided that to introduce discovery to mobile by designing creating parity with our web product and bring Collections to iOS and Android.

Previous design on mobile

Below shows the previous design of both iOS and Android apps without Collections.

Previous iOS Previous Android

Creating parity between web and mobile

The process of designing Collections for both iOS and Android largely consisted of designing different iterations for how the pill-shaped buttons would work on mobile while following design principles from Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines and Google’s Material Design Guidelines.

New iOS New Android

Design process for solving user confidence

Once this initial portion of the project was complete and we had released Collections on iOS and Android, it was time to begin thinking about how we can introduce education to build user confidence.

This process consisted of a combination of reading user research, analyzing products from other companies that successfully engage users during discovery, developing prototypes that attempt to help users learn more about investing, and consolidating learnings from feedback received on those prototyped ideas.

Robinhood Process Image

Unfortunately, this project was cut short due to the Collections portion of this project being re-scoped with more features as well as it being the final few days of my internship. However, our team learned a bunch about how we can bring this aspect of user education to discovery.

For example, one prototype that was well-received is an idea that teaches users, on the empty-state of search, different investment strategies that are common for other investors that have similar goals and investment experience.

Robinhood Prototype

Inspiration for these prototypes came from an earlier project I worked on during my internship where we came up with a design that surfaced Collections on the homescreen on our web product, shown below.

Web Collections Animation

Key learnings and future improvements

With much excitement, the first portion of this project of bringing Collections to iOS and Android was released in the final days of my internship. This did, however, mean I was unable to see the impact Collections had on engagement.

Overall, internal feedback was positive and there was feeling of enthusiasm to continue improving this area of the product. I’m excited to see where the product goes in the coming months, especially in terms of improving user education and evolving the way we help users to discover different ways to make money through investing.