Redesigning Nigerian Mobile Banking Apps : A Minimalist Approach

The term minimalist often colloquially refers to anything that is spare or stripped to its essentials. In design and architecture the term minimalism is also used to describe a trend in design and architecture, wherein the subject is reduced to its necessary elements.

“wherein the subject(app, interface, product) is reduced to its necessary elements”

The quote from the definition above is exactly what i wanted to achieve when i was challenged to redesign any mobile bank app of my choice by someone from square the largest community of developers and designers in Africa, feel free to hit me up for an invite 😉 .

Rather than just redesign a chosen banks mobile app of my choice i thought it would be nice to create something different, simple, easy to use, intuitive and sleek without jeopardizing the user experience as well. I personally, don’t use any of these apps on my phone, the USSD method serves all my mobile banking needs.

I downloaded a few apps, checked that of others as well, some worked well some didnt since i didnt have an account with the bank, but one thing i noticed generally was the apps having too many features which i doubt the users rarely use, i believe they(banks) might think bringing the whole banking experience into a mobile app is the best idea, you know like having the power to do all sorts of transactions and banking stuff right on your smartphone, to me this is rather too much, and also considering the design style (minimalist) i wanted to base my designs on and also a fundamental law of design “the Hicks Law” which influenced my reasons for stripping down the app to a few core features only, that would be conflicting, think of it as a MVF (minimum viable feature) app. 😁

Objectives

  • Create a simple, neat and light weight user interface.
  • Give users features that they actually use and not features you assume they might need.
  • Create a different/new type of user experience.
  • Create and use simple icons.
  • Do away with the conventional app side menu that lists too many features and provide the user with just three core features that are easily accessible immediately after log in.
  • Reduce the number of screens and steps to complete an action by applying the Hick’s Law.

Hick’s law, or the Hick–Hyman Law, named after British and American psychologists William Edmund Hick and Ray Hyman, describes the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible choices he or she has: increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time logarithmically.

Research

I reached out to a few friends, community members in owerri, asked them what they do most on their mobile banking apps, a summary of their responses below

  • 95% uses the mobile apps for transfer
  • 90% uses it to recharge their voice call and internet data needs
  • About 70% use it to renew and pay for their satellite and cable TV subscriptions.

Sketching and Putting ideas on paper

I draw on almost anything i can easily lay my hand on

Hi Fidelity Prototypes

After getting a good idea of what the interface will look like, i created high resolution prototypes based on the rough sketches i made.

no splash page, straight to log in

Instead of having to wait for some seconds before getting to the app, i removed the conventional splash page most apps have, you open the app straight to log in. Notice my little logo up there? that was a fast one for the “mobile bank” app, didn’t want to attribute the design to a specific bank.

simple icons, lightweight UI
account detail page

While trying to keep the interface simple i designed a smiley and added it to the confirmation pages to tell the user if a money transfer, airtime recharge or other action being carried out was successful or not

smiley laughing = successful

smiley laughing upside down = unsuccessful => User Experience 😍

success and error pages

On the accounts page you can easily get a sneak preview of what your recent transactions have been like.

accounts page

Thanks for reading, your contributions on ways the app can be improved and general feedback on the post is welcome. 🙌

The link to the design on behance here

Made with love in Figma

Want to join Square ? the largest commnity of techies in Africa, Feel free to request for an invite here 😉