Designing a mobile app for a fintech startup — A case study
As part of design exercise for a job in fintech startup, I was asked to design an app that takes care of personal expenses on daily basis and helps suggest better ideas for money management.
The following case study passionately provides a little insight in how I would potentially approach User Experience design & User Interface design for a project.
I am a nerd for self development. As part of finance domain of my life, I daily track my expenses on an app called Pocket Expense. It does not have all the features I would like to have but it gets the job done & it is the only free app that I like to use.
An app is good when it actually solves a problem. On a snowy Paris evening in 2008, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp had trouble hailing a cab. So they came up with a simple idea — tap a button, get a ride . I also took the liberty of my problems as daily expense tracker and used it to base my use case scenarios.
Please note that this case study was written in 2016 and lots of things have changed in my design process and how I approach a problem at hand.
Defining user persona
Since the scope of this exercise is limited, I defined only 1 persona in order to keep the problem statement very narrow.
Sid — Busy tech professional
- age 25–30
- single, living alone
- have good salary income
- works long hours, mon-fri, 9:00 am — 7:00 pm
- tech savvy, perfers iphone over android
- goes out to movies, bars 2–3 times a month
The above persona would help me in defining different use case scenarios. In order to jump to that, I usually do quick market analysis to get the general idea of the market and commonalities between various tools. I look for established ux patterns that are mature and do not need necessarily redesign.
Pocket Expense 
I like pocket expense for 3 reasons
- simple UI
- catergory based expense entry
- multiple accounts feature
- It is good for data entry jobs. But I am looking for an app that intelligently suggest me how much to allocate my budget for a particular category, based on my spending habits history. An app that leverages machine learning to find user patterns and suggest very personalized tips.
This sheet utilizes the concept of “pay yourself first”.
First save a percent of your income in a savings account and then start allocation of budget for monthly spendings. I use this idea now to manage my money.
Sid is a busy IT professional working in Bengaluru. Though he earns Rs. 90,000 per month, he has almost no money saved up. Sid is getting married in a year and realized that it’s high time to fix his personal finance area.
Sid has no idea how to start managing his finances, so he starts looking in google for personal management apps.
As he is well informed about the tech domain & apps, the first preference for him to download an app is it should look modern and minimal. Also he is looking for an app that is intelligent & act as a personal financial advisor over just manual data entry.
A use case represents the actions that are required to enable or abandon a goal. A use case has multiple “paths” that can be taken by any user at any one time. A use case scenario is a single path through the use case.
In this project use case is Sid wants to set up a financial goal and start tracking his expenses.
Normally use case scenarios are used to list down features. Instead of writing down features list, I generally do a initial rough sketch of the scenario and then list features.
User case scenario #1
As a user open the app for the first time, they are taken to sign up screen. Usually user wants to see the app working as soon as possible to check if app works and intuitive. So user can skip the registration process and do it later.
Use case scenario #2
As a 1st time user, they are welcomed by a introductory screen where they are informed about the personal finance management theory called 3 bucket system. It will also alert user about the time & importance of next steps to set up and start using the app.
Use case scenario #3
As a 1st time user, they want to add monthly income.
Use case scenario #4
As a 1st time user, they should be prompted with AI generated percentage based on the income entered for savings bucket. Also future increase in income should be projected to encourage the user actions.
Use case scenario #5
As a 1st time user, they should be suggested with AI generated percentage value to allocated budget for monthly spendings.
Use case scenario #6
As a 1st time user, they should be suggested a predefined list of mostly use categories for monthly expenses along with AI generated budget. User can also change the allocation according to their personal preferences.
Use case scenario #7
As a 1st time user, they can allocate the remaining money in investment bucket. User is suggested with intelligent investment instruments based on their past performances. For e.g best long term mutual fund.
Use case scenario #8
As a user, they should be able to enter daily expenses. User can also see remaining budget for a particular category.
Use case scenario #9
As a user, they should be able to add multiples accounts.
Use case scenario #10
As a user, they should be able lock the app with a passcode.
I do moodboard to set some general theme & color scheme for the app.
I took current font color of the startup brand and generated slight analogous color to it in the color wheel. And then took some different shades of that color. The result is the following color scheme.
This whole process was done in 2 days. At that time I was happy with the outcome and was also offered a job there. I didn’t join the company but this exercise helped me in terms of articulating my design decisions and how to showcase them.