IntroDPD Pre-test: {kb622}, {Kun Bi}

Quick notes and Smart notes

— Two improvements for the note writing step in Venmo

From the Interviewee:

When I was trying to pay or request money, Venmo always asked me, “What’s it for?” I understood that it was necessary to leave notes to make everything clear especially when money was involved. However, when the amount was trivial, or both of us know what was it, it would be semi-annoying to leave notes. It often happened on trades between very close friends or family members. For instance, I frequently had Pho noodle with my roommates, and we would always split the money afterwards. Because Venmo would not allow you to proceed until you fill the blank, every time we wrote random words making no sense.


One major feature of Venmo is to make daily money transfer more convenient. Venmo needs to make sure every step of money transfer is easy and clear to make the function works well. Ask users to add notes for each transaction contributes to the clear side indirectly. It prevents unclear transaction happening if people leave notes properly. However, forcing people to fill the blank does not help to make this step easier and neither does it fit all circumstances. That is why the interviewer got semi-annoyed — people do not want to spend more effort than they need.

Define the problem

What will be most impactful to solve?

Pain point: The step of leaving notes is not easy enough.

When I make trivial/frequent payment, I want to skip leaving notes, So I can save time and effort.

But I can’t do that because:

  1. Venmo would not allow me to proceed until I input some notes
  2. 2. There is no other convenient way to fill the blank.


A few solutions as below:

1. Allow users to skip this step: add a button to skip

2. Allow users to set other users as favourite people : users do not need to leave notes for their favourite people

3. Allow users to save preset options: provide a few editable preset notes. Instead of using keyboard, users can click on the presets to input a note almost instantly.

4. Allow Venmo to remember previous most common input: Based on the analysis of user’s previous inputs, Venmo will try to predict what the users want to say when they are typing the first few characters.


This is a user flow for using quick notes and smart notes to fill the notes of charging or paying user. It shows six steps: “Add quick notes → Confirm the new quick notes → Add another quick note → Use quick notes by clicking on it → Use smart notes by clicking on the suggestions→ Finish writing notes and pay.”

All the quick notes would be saved automatically. After the initial setting, what users need is one simple click to leave a note, then it is ready to go. If they want to add new notes outside quick notes buttons, then the smart note would try to help. To remove a label, users need to click on the “ — “ button and then click on the unwanted quick notes labels.


This solution is a combination of two small tools. One is called quick note, which are preset labels allowing users to enter their frequently used notes by one click. The other one is called smart note, it uses the history data to predict users’ input to save their time and effort.

  1. How good is your solution?

Although the new tool is helpful and works well for its purpose, the function of the button is not quite clear for first time users. They need to play it for a few times to get used to this feature. The flow and graphic design of this new feature need to be tested on more users. In addition, when users open the app, a detailed explanation can be presented on the loading screen to inform users how to use this new feature.

2. How long did you work on this? About 3 hours.