Creating a new Onboarding Experience for Squirrel

General Assembly UXDI , Project 4— June 2017

UX Design Team: 3 people. Duration: 2.5 week sprint
Squirrel: Fintech money management app

Methods used: Feature comparison and heuristic comparison, Crazy Eights.

Deliverables: Research insights and findings concerning competitors, user types and behaviour; personas and scenarios, experience map/ user journeys, information architecture; design and usability recommendations for improvement user flows and screen flows; sketches and wireframes, low to high fidelity prototype, client presentation, design spec and ui kit.

Software: Google Sheets, Illustrator, Omnigraffle, Invision, Keynote.

The Client

Squirrel is a fintech money management service. Squirrel takes care of your money by setting aside your money to pay your bills and at the same time putting aside money for savings goals as soon as you’re paid. Spending money is left over. You can have your account set up weekly or monthly.

The Problem

Squirrel wanted to improve their onboarding experience and successfully engage new customers. This process was to include sign up and activation.

The Solution

The redesigned onboarding, sign up and activation process within this responsive app was dramatically shortened by cutting the trial phase out of the pre-existing process. Trust, understanding what Squirrel do and how the app works were the key areas targeted for this solution.

Discover— User Research

Researching the competitors

We defined Squirrel’s direct and indirect competitors and looked at common features.

Competitor analysis chart.

What really stood out for me in competitors money management apps were the following:
• Monzo — simplicity and smooth process 
• Ynab — pratical annotations
• Moneybox — illustrative but simple

Heuristic analysis chart.

In terms of heuristic analysis I found the following really interesting:
• Monzo — by far the best all round onboarding experience
• YNAB — annotations were really helpful and useful to explain the product

Screener survey

We sent out a 15 question screener survey and had 37 responses. From our respondents we selected we selected millennials to interview, who were our target market. We found:
• 31% Run out of money or go in to overdraft each month
• 48% Felt they were able to save at least a little each month
• 28% Used an app for money management or saving


We set up 3 types of interviews around the areas of money management in general, existing customers and contextual enquires. Our key findings were:

1. Money management and fintech 
These interviews focussed on people’s overall attitude towards money management and how they felt about using apps to help them with this. 
Key findings were:
• Trust is a major issue
• Familiarity/brand awareness is crucial
• A need for more concise language in when it came to explaining products

“I only just trust banks and they’re hundreds of years old, so why should I trust 
a startup?”

“I can’t stand all the financial jargon — I don’t get it.”

2. Existing Squirrel customers
We discovered how users were getting on with the existing app and what they remember of the onboarding experience. Key findings were:
• Users understood the product well once they had signed up
• The product had become invaluable

“I can’t imagine surviving without Squirrel.”

3. Contextual enquiries of Squirrel’s existing onboarding 
We user tested the existing onboarding process on people who had 
no previous knowledge of the product. Key findings were:
• Difficulty understanding the product
• Users didn’t necessarily get that Squirrel is a bank account
• Users unsure about the relationship between Squirrel and their bank account

“How do I keep my money Safe?”

“I don’t understand enough to give out my ID and proof of address.”

“Why is there a double sign up process?”

Affinity map of user interviews findings.


Using our interview findings we developed 3 personas.

We chose Carol as our key persona as she represented a Squirrel user with money management issues as well as savings being problematic for her.

We looked at the user journey she would go through with the pre-existing onboarding process. Her pain points can be seen below.

Carol’s user journey shows she is quite confused by the onboarding process — there is a trial part to this process where you put in your details. However once you are actually asked to sign up at the end of onboarding, again it asks for your details. There is also the major issue of trust and handing over your personal bank details without really understanding what the product is.

Defining the Problem

Feature Prioritisation

Our team decided to focus on the following 4 problem areas in our design ideation studio.

Developing the Solution

Design Studio

We ran two ideation sessions using the Crazy Eight method — with everyone individually creating up to 8 ideas in 5 minutes. We then voted on these and the top 2 ideas went forward to the next round.

Design studio held in Squirrel’s offices near Old Street, London

After the second design studio, we had a clear idea how we were going to move forward. The top 3 ideas were:
• Filter concept to explain how Squirrel works
• Annotations to explain how the app works
• Use of a progress bar to show where you are in the process

Filter concept explaining how Squirrel works.
Annotations and a progress bar concepts.

Design Iterations

We formed our first prototype around these ideas.

Our team iterating further ideas.

We went on to do many more rounds of prototyping, using testing at least 6 times on each version. In summary see below the key areas and changes we made.

1. Introduction/ welcome
We focused on trust as our key issue to tackle the introduction/ welcome area. We found in user testing people thought 1) “Get paid differently sounds dodgy” and funnel graphic too complicated; 2) new graphic didn’t work either. 3) In the end we got rid of the funnel graphic and kept it simple, using Squirrel’s acorn graphic and highlighting the trust issue by bringing out the Barclays logo.

Welcome and introduction area.

2. Explaining what Squirrel does
We then focused what the app does and how it can add value. We found in user testing people thought 1) “very wordy” and “there’s too much information to take in on one page — I would leave the app here”; 2) but still people said “not sure i’d have the patience to read everything here”; 3) people liked this, “i get it now”.

3. Explaining how the app works
We looked at annotating the app to explain how it works. We found in user testing 1) people liked it; 2) thought it was a good idea; 3) found it really clear and intuitive.

4. Addressing the ‘trial’ issue
We created a ‘trial’ and ‘activated’ area, see progress bar in 1). In the ‘trial’ area you entered your details, but you were also asked to enter your details in the ‘activated’ area. People got confused, “I didn’t realise we were in a trial version. Why do I need to enter my data again?” and “Why do we have to signup again?”

So we removed the ‘trial’ and ‘activate’ progress bar and added a sign up button instead to go directly to the ‘activate/sign up’ area, see 2). We also introduced a ‘save details’ button, see 3), as we thought this would be a good idea to be able to let people save the data they had submitted as they went through the app. However, through user testing we also realised this ended up confusing people “Why do I need to save my details if I am going to Sign Up?”. In the end we took off this button.

So we made a fairly radical change and completely removed the ‘trial’ section and created a whole new section that was specifically dedicated to explaining the product and how the sections worked.

Left, ‘trial’ area removed. Right, ‘explain’ area introduced.

We then created a final userflow, see below.

Onboarding userflow.


To view this prototype please click on the link below:

Delivering the Solution

Client presentation

We presented our new onboarding solution to the client who was delighted by our new solution and they said they were going to implement the changes as soon as possible.

Design specification and UI kit

We then created a design specification and UI kit which we handed over to Squirrel along with all the deliverables which we shared with them from our group Google Drive.

A page from the design specification.

Next Steps

  • Investigate emails, SMS and Push notifications to get users to complete their setup
  • Research into onboarding from web view and how it differs
  • Experiment with animations for ‘how it works’ steps
  • Look at the App store summary of the app
  • Add high fidelity ideas

If you have any comments or suggestions please don’t hesitate to write comments below. Thanks : )

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