User interface (UI) and design are crucial to any software’s success. But, many startups ignore UI, relying fully on back end development. But UI is more than just a pretty face; it can instill consumer confidence in your startup and differentiate you from the competitors. Such was the case with leading online personal finance site Mint.com. Though founded by an algorithms engineer with expertise in the deepest technology, from the early stages of development, the Mint team designed easy to understand charts and graphical representations of people’s finances, making the previously intimidating and frustrating task of money management quick and painless. Early challenges included bringing meaning to an unknown brand in a security-sensitive industry, differentiating from the dullness and palette of banking sites while respecting the seriousness of people’s money, and creating an experience free of negative emotions often associated with budgeting and financial management. Each decision has been intentional, down to the hue of the logo (which was lightened in order appeal more strongly to female users). This dual presentation will feature Aaron Patzer, VP/GM of Intuit Personal Finance Group and Founder of Mint.com, an algorithms engineer with several patents at the core of his product who also recognizes the value that perfectly pixilated, easy-to-understand charts and graphics brought to Mint. Along with web design expert Jason Putorti and moderated by Fortune Magazine's Jessi Hempel, the presentation will discuss the value of design to both early stage startups and developed companies, how to successfully merge front end and back end development and specific design advice.
Aaron Patzer is the VP and General Manager of the Intuit Personal Finance Group, managing the Mint.com and Quicken brands. He is also both the visionary and technical mind behind Mint.com, acquired by Intuit in fall 2009. Aaron designed Mint to meet the needs of people who value the immediacy of the web, simplicity and their free time. Prior to founding Mint, Aaron was an architect and technical lead for the San Jose division of Nascentric. Before Nascentric, Aaron worked for IBM and founded two web development and online marketing companies: PWeb and International. Aaron holds an MSEE from Princeton University and a BS in computer science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering from Duke University. He has 10 patents filed or pending. Aaron’s innovation leadership has been recognized by national and international organizations. CNNMoney identified him as one of six Money Heroes in the US in 2008 and a Top 40 under 40 entrepreneur in 2009, and Inc. magazine included him in a list of the Top 30 US Entrepreneurs under 30. He was named one of just 34 worldwide Tech Pioneers by the World Economic Forum of Davos, Switzerland in 2008.
Jason Putorti is the current co-founder and designer behind the newly released Votizen— the first social lobbying platform in the United States.
Jason was the lead designer at Mint.com from early 2007 through its acquisition by Intuit in November 2009, when he became the first Designer-in-Residence at Bessemer Venture Partners, a top-tier global venture capital firm.
Prior to making the move to Silicon Valley in 2007, Jason founded a specialty book publisher, a design agency, and spun off a software company, all in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he attended college.
Born in upstate New York, Jason has been a web designer for 15 years.
Jessi Hempel is a New York-based senior technology writer for Fortune. She has written extensively about digital media, online advertising and social networking. Before joining Fortune in July 2007, Hempel worked at BusinessWeek and most recently served as their innovation department editor. Hempel is a graduate of Brown University and received a Masters in Journalism from The University of California at Berkeley.
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