IronHack Design Thinking Exercise — Whole Bank

Whole Bank is a bank from Massachusetts currently migrating from the traditional bank to a more technological and user-friendly bank.

Today, they want to add a new option for their traveling customers. The idea is to give 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.

An app already exists for their customers in which they can see their personal information and perform several tasks such as wire transfers, blocking lost/stolen cards and even applying for a loan.

However, they do not have an answer for the traveling customer whom wants to pay using the app in various country.

My goal here is to create a feature allowing them to pay through the app, I will ideate and come with a prototype using the Design Thinking method.

The Design Thinking method
  1. Empathize

I first started to answer several questions about this app:

  • What problem are you solving?

After answering those 4 questions, I had a clearer view of the work that was ahead of me but I needed answers, datas to help me find the best solution.

I started by interviewing 5 frequent travelers which I know use different methods of paiement when they are abroad and asked them questions about their habits, their issues and what feature would be the best for them.


What do you do when you are abroad?

What kind of payment do you use to do these activities?

Any issues when you have to pay? And what are they?

What would be your best solution to these issues?

What’s the bigget threat, when traveling, you’ve encountered when you want to pay?

If you can pay with an app, which feature do you think is mandatory?

Anything you want to add?

With these questions I would have a clearer view of their issues and I would have enough material to start working on a prototype.

2. Define

After the 5 interviews, I discovered several issues and paint points that travelers would have when they pay abroad. However, what I found the most interesting was how different each of their experiences were from each other.

After going back to the results I realized that they were not only focused on how an app can help but also on the way people are using their money abroad.

How they use their money:

  • Setting a budget

What is important in an app

  • Easy to use

Fear of using an app

  • Technology restriction based on the country

Thanks to these information, I am now ready to ideate !

3. Ideate

In this part I did a brainstorm of every possibility existing or not to pay, then, using the same process, I tried finding new solutions for an app with the answers I got from the interviews.

During this part, I organized the different subjects into categories and then tried to fit my ideas into each of them. If one idea did not stick to one category, I would simply get rid of it.

One last comment got really stuck in my head: “I always look at the cost of living of the country before creating a budget”. As I thought it was a good idea, I could not find a proper way to introduce it in the app.

I think some great ideas simply can’t be added to any project and that even if it can help, you have to think about the client as well which is Whole Bank.

Let’s get to prototyping !

4. Prototyping

I first started a quick prototype for the full app in order to see what I could come up with and what could be improved. I tried to do it as quickly as possible not to waste any time and seeing the big picture and how it could be improved.

At first I divided my prototype into 4 different segments:

  • Pay function

I quickly drew the different parts of each process, corrected when I found the results were not good enough and finally made some changes based on how the flow of the app felt.

After a first change I finally decided to go for the real prototype.

Make a payment
Creating a budget
Help section

This exercise was really interesting, what I learned from it was not to think about an answer straight away but keep an open mind and listen closely to what the persons I am interviewing have to say.

What I could have done better would be to have searched to get more inspiration for how an app is actually designed. But this exercise kept me motivated to continue learning more and more.

Product Designer @LiveMentor

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