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Our Design Process

Dignity-centered approach

Design is central to the MAF Lab’s work. Our in-house design team approaches building products by placing members of our communities at the center of our process. We design around the financial realities in the lives of the people we serve.

These design principles are the foundation for the solutions we build. What sets apart our products are their:





The MAF Lab conducts user discovery process to deepen our empathy for our clients and uncover their pain points and in their financial lives. We draw upon many different sources of data to inform our understanding including research we’ve already conducted, interviews with clients, and collaboration with internal teams and nonprofit partners.

We leverage our research to unearth the key pain points in our clients’ financial lives – and identify potential solutions we can build to address them.


Building on discovery research, the design team brainstorms potential solutions to clients’ pain points in collaboration with staff, clients, and advisors. Our brainstorming sessions allow us to imagine freely and generate a plethora of ideas. Co-creating with our stakeholders also creates space for many voices to participate in the process.


We bring ideas to life by designing lo-fi and high-fi prototypes. Our design philosophy mirrors MAF’s values: we seek to reflect our users in our products, we assume that our users are the experts in their own financial life, and we meet users where they are in their financial and technology journey.

Iterate & Test

Testing prototypes often and iterating quickly is central to our development process. In our testing process, we assess whether our idea is delivering value and whether our prototypes are easy to use. The group of test users we select reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.