Design Thinking — UX Case Study

Eugene Bos
Dec 18, 2018 · 5 min read

A Methodology to create solutions

In this second exercise for @ironhackams, we have to create a feature that allows paying with the app when you’re travelling abroad. Using the Design Thinking methodology. I am hoping to better understand how this methodology helps solve the challenge.

Our client, Carol Holmes, is currently helping the Whole Bank CEO migrate their banking app to more technological and user friendly solutions. When this Massachusetts small city company started, their goal was to offer a different way to save and manage money by giving customers innovative options such as virtual currencies. Today, they seek to offer an alternative to the conventional Credit/Debit System to satisfy the needs of their travelling customers.

Currently, their customers depend on the physical card to be able to get money from the ATM machines or to make payments. But when traveling, they can encounter blocking difficulties such as: card loss/theft, card damages or malfunctions, and traditional shops not accepting card payments.

This has also happened to me on several occasions while I was traveling around europe. The idea is to give Whole Bank customers access to a payment feature that they can use exclusively when they travel. So instead of using their cards, they can use the app on their mobile devices.

Scope of Project
Whole Bank already developed a mobile application for their customers. They log in using personal credentials or their fingerprints (in smartphones that allow this technology). They then get access to their financial information and they can perform several tasks in the application — like creating wire transfers, blocking lost/stolen cards, etc.

My assigned task is to create a new feature that allows the bank’s customers to pay for things using the mobile app as the point of purchase as they would use a credit card. They already have their information on the bank’s digital platform, they would not need to input any data when paying or checking-out.

Questions I asked myself…

In order to find a suitable solution for the company’s problem, I decided to follow the design thinking methodology. I started by setting the scene: I asked myself a few key questions to help me get a better insight of the current situation and to plan the next steps. The questions were:

  • What problem are you solving?
  • Who is your audience?
  • Who is your client’s competition?
  • What’s the tone/feeling?

EMPATHY STAGE: “Get in their shoes with Interviews”

Once I immersed myself into understanding the problem, I needed to gather real-time data from 5 different users who had traveled and experienced using their bank cards abroad. I did this by asking open-ended questions to hear their needs and frustrations.

The questions selected were:

Handful of interviews to define the problems and pain points
  • Q1- Do you like traveling? How often do you travel? (This first question has the purpose of getting confidence with the person interviewed)
  • Q2- How do you pay things when you’re travelling abroad? Why? What’s your experience?
  • Q3- Have you ever experienced any troubles with your credit card while travelling? (e.g lost card, card damage…)
  • Q4- Have you ever used your smartphone to pay? Why?
  • Q4.a- (If the previous answer was yes:) What problems did you find using this payment method?
  • Q5- What kind of payment method would you prefer to use when you’re travelling abroad?

DEFINE STAGE: Show yourself, you “Problem”!

Affinity map after the interviews, Though it was a stressful process…I got great insight!

After I had my interviews, I identified the audience’s needs in order to define a problem statement, focusing mostly on the user’s point of view.

I organised my findings by using the affinity mapping technique, so that I could see the bigger picture, group and prioritise my findings.

Through my affinity map, I was able to identify Habits and Wants of my interviewees. And also group their problems under specific and general ones.

IDEATE STAGE: Let’s get Brainstorming!

Mind-Map…Winston! 🤣

Now it’s time to bring up the ideas!

I tried to use the mind-map technique as a way of getting the information in and out of my brain. Mind mapping is a creative and logical means of note-taking and note-making that literally, “maps out” your ideas.

Similar to my previous article on Sketchnoting, the Mind map is the external mirror of your own natural thinking. The great thing about mind mapping is that you can put your ideas down in any order, as soon as they pop into your head.

I brainstormed focusing on my general findings and the specific ones. It was identified that;

  • Most of them forget their login password
  • Some have bad or no network connection
  • They need to be informed on mobile payment
  • They are unclear with the exchange rates
  • Need cash out without credit card usage

Phew!🥳….I finally got some features to prototype!

PROTOTYPE STAGE: “I don’t have a one-liner for this”

Once I decided how my features will work, I developed a few hand-sketched screens for my prototype. I prototyped the Login, Mobile payment, Withdrawal without card and Exchange information before withdrawal.

The design had to be simple and easy, so everyone could use it.

Now the only thing left is to have some people Test it!


Overall empathy is really needed to understand both the business and client needs. The design thinking process helped me a lot in this exhausting yet satisfying process. I learned some useful lessons that I believe would be useful in my future projects:

  • User interview is vital: it’s the key to understand the people you’re designing for (what worries them and that they need). Asking the right questions is important.
  • Keep requirements and user’s needs present at all stages of the design process: this will prevent you from losing sight of what you want to accomplish.
  • Brainstorm freely and then add your restrictions: write down every idea that comes to your mind, no matter how crazy it might be.

Thanks for reading❤️. Thoughts about the process, the thinking and refining, testing and prototypes presented? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments!

Other articles worth reading:
📝 Visual Note-Taking 👀
When Africa meets Design 🎨
Trust The Process 🛫

Eugene Bos

Written by

Product Designer (UI) at Effectory | I bring together Form and Function to create something that looks good and performs brilliantly. Simple.

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