Echo

A Transparent banking application

Timeline: 7 Months
My Roles: Lead of Human Factors Design, UX Design, Visual Design, UX Research
Team: 4 Designers, Client was Head of Engineering of Exictos
Tools: Sketch, Axure, Framer, Marvel, Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, InDesign

Problem:

Our client, Exictos, tasked us with creating a contextually-aware consumer banking product. Through research, we found that many of users' problems with banks stem from banks being opaque, or not giving their users insight into is happening with their money inside the bank. This opaqueness forms a lack of trust in banks and creates more skepticism when dealing with their bank.

Solution:

Our final solution is a mobile banking application that gives users clarity into their financial activity and actions. The application features three main sections: transactions, goals, and simulator. These sections work together to give users the ability to understand their finances in past, present and future. Transactions gives users insight into their spending habits in the past, present, and utilizes machine learning to estimate future expenditures. Goals helps users save for their financial and life goals by taking into account their spending habits. Simulator gives users power to understand hard to answer questions such as moving between cities, or the cost of having children and how that would effect their finances. As the content strategy and human factors design lead, my job was to ensure that our application created value and was easy for our users to understand. 


We took several design principles into consideration when coming up with our final solution: being a transparent app (letting users know what is happening), empowering users with the choices they make, and giving foresight, or predictions, into their future spending patterns. 

If the above PDF isn't working, you can find comprehensive details about the research and design process by looking at the process book here.

 

The first four months of the project were dedicated to researching the problem space. To guide our investigation into Portuguese consumer banking, we created a series of core questions. Each question lead us to a research method.

  • What is already known about the banking market?
    Literature Review, Market Study
  • What do users already use and have?
    Survey, User Study
  • What are our competitors doing?
    Competitive Analysis, Market Study
  • How do users think about money?
    Interviews, User Study
  • How do our users live?
    Photo Diary Study, User Study

Echo

Transactions:

We designed the transaction to give users a clear understanding of their spending habits and patterns. To be able to truly understand their transaction history, we created a way to let users focus in on a single transaction’s insights while also being able to focus on the ability to see their total spendings categorized. By categorizing transactions, we are able to give users an informative, cohesive picture of their spending history. We take the information we gained from categorizing and display it in ways that helps users truly understand where their money is spent.

 
Understand now.png

Understand now 
We give users a clear and prominent representation of the user's available balance. The user can also see their expected spending for the month. This acts as a budgeting system, without the user having to input anything. 

 

Critical insights 
These flickable cards display information that are relevant to the user, such as goal progress, updates on their spending habits, and important bank notifications.

 
Upcoming transactions.png

Upcoming transactions
By utilizing machine learning, we allow users to see a list of upcoming transactions based upon their financial history.

Automatic categorization To understand their spending patterns, users need to see their transactions at multiple levels of representation (i.e. categories). It's also helpful to know the relation of one month to the previous and upcoming months by utilizing machine learning algorithms.

goals:

We created the goals section to help our users to be able to easily reach their financial goals in life. We do this by creating virtual accounts that the money moves into on a daily basis. How much is saved over time for the goal is shown in days, which gives users a better understanding of the impact of the goal on their finances. 

 

SIMULATOR:

 

Many financial situations are complex and do not exist in a vacuum. Simulator is designed to empower users with the knowledge they need to understand which financial options are available to them, and which ones best fit their needs. Simulator allows users to follow and understand the ever-changing financial environment they live in and how it might affect them.

search, profile, and onboarding:

When designing our product, we included additional features that were also important for the final application to include to meet all the goals a banking application should be able to provide. I took the initiative to create a fuzzy search system, helping users find what they're looking effectively and efficiently.  

Prototypes:

Prototyping

During our ideation phase in our design sprints, we built a mid-fidelity prototype to test and gather feedback on our concepts with users. We used Axure as our main design tool and put it into Marvel for our user testing.

These are our prototypes in the order we created them in, click on an image to see the prototype. 

For our final product, we built two prototypes, one in Marvel and the other  in Framer. The Marvel prototype focused on the visual design of the application while the Framer prototype focused on the interactions and animations in the application.

 
 

Conclusion:

Our final product is the culmination of eight months of research, visions, designs, prototypes, and iterations in the Portuguese market. Through extensive testing, we have hard evidence that our solution solves a very real problem in the Portuguese community and brings value to users. By bringing more value to users, this in turn helps Exictos’ clients retain their users as well as grow their base.

By focusing on transparency, we resolve many of the issues users have with their banks, returning trust to the bank-client relationship. We empower users to truly understand their financial actions in the past, present, and future.