Nicolas Renou
Senior Product Designer


Lead designer - 2019

A tool that gives investors the economic insight to make better decisions.

Khalo app dashboard
Lead Product Designer
Project manager
product Team
1 designer, 3 developers
Project type
Beta version (MVP)
Product strategy
Project management
Visual identity
Design and prototyping
User testing and synthesis
Visual front-end development
Quality assurance
Economic Research
10 months

Context and challenge

The world of finance and investing is full of opinions. It is difficult – even for seasoned investors – to cut through the daily noise. What really matters is the macroeconomic data but it can be equally difficult to aggregate all this information on a daily basis, which means investors can spend more time building spreadsheets than actually analyzing data.

As we talked to active investors, we identified the following primary needs:
1. Assess the health of the economy
2. Keep track of economic indicators (charts)
3. Manipulate and compare economic data


We worked in 2-week sprints with a product team consisting of 2-3 developers and 1 designer. In collaboration with the team, I managed the product strategy as well as the team workload. Everything was managed in Github which made it easy for developers to track issues from initial request to development, testing, and release.

For quality assurance, I put in place a simple testing and review process of each new feature and bug fix. The developers had their own peer-reviewed process led by the technical lead.

In addition, I regularly contributed to the codebase for simple functionality and visual styling, in order to reduce the developers' workload.

Starting with the visual identity

khalo logo darkkhalo logo light

Before getting into the app, we created a simple and effective visual identity. With the constraints of a very early stage start-up, we decided to design a strong logo and work on the full brand later as the company grows.

The dashboard, a bird’s eye view of the economy.

The economic dashboard is the key screen of the app where investors are able to capture the state of the economy with a glimpse. It shows key data in different forms, such as trend indicators and risk levels, to give proper context to those numbers.

khalo web dashboard

As a proof of concept for the dashboard we built a recession estimate timeline to test our economic model.
I translated the model from a spreadsheet to a step-by-step algorithm, and finally to a simple visual concept.

khalo recession dashboard

Diving in data, the second layer of information.

The dashboard is important to give the user a quick summary of the situation and find important trends quickly. The app gets even more powerful when the user explores the hundreds of economic indicators available by default, such as unemployment rate, GDP, industrial production, etc. Users can search through hundreds of thousands more. Users can also access interactive charts where they can compare them easily.

In addition, alerts can be set up on charts to notify the user when certain values are reached, or when two charts cross. This functionality removes the time-consuming task of having to check the app every day for new updates.

Khalo charts listKhalo chart viewKhalo commentaries screenKhalo active alerts screen

Building a scalable user interface

In order to quickly prototype new functionality, we built a simple design language that could be more easily understood and reused by our developers. As an early-stage startup company, we decided to use the Material Design library as a base and customized it to our needs. Its neutral look and mobile-first approach made it the right choice for a growing application.

A people-centered design process

As the product took shape we received user feedback and organized additional user testing sessions. I had created a spreadsheet to gather all user insights and organized it by recurring feedback and priority. The feedback we received helped us see the most pressing issues and led me to organize the teams’ workload and priorities.

User research spreadsheet

Launching commercially

The current beta version is built as a SaaS application, with payment processing, user account, and ready to scale. We built a simple website to explain our offer and let users sign up for a free trial.

khalo web dashboard

What's next: the opportunity for machine learning

As we built the tool, we recognized the opportunity to go beyond tracking economic indicators and apply advanced data analysis to all this data. We could use machine learning to organize the economic data in intelligent ways, find exceptions, correlations and much more.

Next projects