Change the way you change money
An app that allows you to exchange currency with anyone
Would it not be a good idea if you can change the unused foreign currency from your last trip with someone who needs it? Our team of 3 embarked on a novel project to see what people really think and want.
The process of currency exchange has not changed in the last few hundred years, despite advancements in technology, efficiency expectations, and customer service. We wanted to find out if the stagnant waters of currency exchange practices can be disrupted the way Uber has done to taxis and Airbnb to hotels. Do people want a better experience in a connected digital economy when it comes to cash?
Beginning of the research phase
Out of the 56 respondents from the survey, we interviewed suitable candidates (seven interviewees) to probe deeper in order to understand their pains, pleasure, context and travel behaviour.
We researched how people changed currency and the currency changing process. If there were ways that a convenient platform would be helpful for them, and what would they like to see. We also inquired how they would interact with technology. The insights we gathered was:
- Money changers would be too busy to receive calls if anyone called in to check for rates during peak hours.
- They will update the currency rate board every hour if nothing major happened worldwide.
We compared the below companies on their service flow and learnt about what could be included on our app.
Carousell, an online mobile platform for consumers to buy or sell items, lists and sells a variety of products. It has a straight forward flow for the buying and selling process which we decided to adopt into our flow.
Get4X would be our direct competitor. The app allows users to confirm the exchange rates with money changers online. However, they might not get the best rate because not all money changer would respond to the users’ enquiry promptly during peak hours.
Digesting all research informations and defining what we want for our app.
We created the app XCASH which will allow users to change currency and search by distance, rates and rating reviews. The app allowed people to browse where the nearest money changers and people that could exchange with them before registering an account. Another great feature enables people to buy and sell currency at their desired rates.
We chose to work on a mobile app as compared to a responsive website because it allowed push notifications which would be a main part of our app.
As there were many ideas of features that was going to be implemented, it was important to prioritise and seek advices from programmers. Therefore, we understood if any features would take a longer time completion and budget involved.
Affinity Mapping Results
We gathered essences from affinity mapping method and group them into 4 main categories.
1. Looking for best rates
People able to sort by best rates offered at one glance, whether it was a money changer or an individual. Best rates would appear at the top of all results.
From low-fi prototype usability testing, we realised people were able to perform the given task. But they confused on the “I want market rate” and “I want my rate”.
2. Looking for convenience
Some people would prefer to access to the closest money changer or person at flexible timing to change their currencies regardless of rates. User have the choice to search by ‘Distance’ from the result page.
From low-fi prototype usability testing, we realised the arrangement of the text would affect how people perceive information. Therefore, the feature “Chat for confirmation” would need to be highlighted.
3. Familiarity & Reliabilty
From the interview results we gathered. We understood people are still skeptical about changing money from strangers. Therefore, we learnt that actionable rating system and carefully curated content would help people to set expectations and make decisions. User would need to register with their IC number for security issues.
4. Confused Currency Exchange Rate Board
Many people were confused about the currency rate board at the money changer over ‘I Buy’ , ‘I Sell’ columns.
In Xcash, exchange rate is based on midpoint rates which makes it easier to understand. The app will calculate the amount so you know how much you should expect.
We did a few iterations to finalise on the feature that users would understand on they could set their desired rates or get market rates.
From confusion on “I want market rate” and “I want my rate”, we changed to “Get market rate” and “Set my rate”.
Also, we added confirmation dialogs that will prepare user to get into another stage.
We created the persona and the journey map after gathering all the informations through the interviews and affinity mapping.
Iterations after iterations.
As you can see from the above, I mentioned briefly on iterations from paper prototype to high level prototype. It helped us to work faster and clearer on which directions that we should adopt.
We realised users were confused on setting locations on the home screen. They were tapping on the map which showed the exact location they were even before they tapped on the search button. Therefore we made improvement on the user flow which will result a smoother and sensible flow.
A final prototype
Now, the final prototype able to allow:
- User sets location to transact at.
2. Revise the user flow by moving the map page to after the results page.
3. Results page shows listing of peers/money changers around your location.
4. When user clicks on a person who wants to exchange currency, the app will show the location of everyone around in the vicinity including information such as distance, ratings, profile.
We completed Xcash app based on Nelson Norman Heuristics.
The next step we might take on:
This project gave me an opportunity to fully understand, an end to end perspective of building up an app from scratch. Below is an video to illustrate how the app will work in real life. Please enjoy!
Thanks a million to Peter & Damian whom made this possible.