Why Less Features Mean More Value

A story about how we designed a super simple experience to send money between friends.

You are in the shower one day and you come up with the greatest feature ever. 
You design it, code it, ship it. The next week you have another great idea, you design it, code it, ship it; you keep shipping, shipping and shipping…
The temptation is real. More features mean happier users, right?
Well, not really.
More features usually mean more unnecessary complexity.
Swap lets you send and receive money. All from your mobile device.

My team and I had the task of redesigning Swap, an app that had been around for 2 years and had already gained thousands of users.

We worked closely with them to plan and create the first iteration of their redesigned service.

We faced several challenges during the process but the hardest one was going back to basics and focusing on the main use case, sending and receiving money, and getting rid of the rest.

Here’s how we did it:

Early prototypes focused on the main use case.

Focus on one big thing — and just one

At 23 Design, we prioritize features based on real use cases. For Swap, we knew that people were already using the app for things like splitting a restaurant bill or tallying expenses between roommates.

So we kept those scenarios in mind as we started to design, starting with the interface.

We redesigned the main screen, putting the action of sending money front and centre.

Any other features, like including analytics or physical payment options, were discarded.

Reflecting the value proposition through the main screen with an straightforward quantity input

Simplifying while keeping users safe

There’s a minimum amount of things to ask in registration forms and there’s always a way to support them, but avoid noise in the process is to understand the context that involves forms.

Onboarding in five steps (mockups)

Every Swap user can only register one device per account for security reasons

That constraint gave us the path to choose number based accounts with a gift: a simple registration form.

We were able to maintain the unique device restriction and also subtracted one important input from the flow.

A complete win for the user!

Asking the right things at the right time

My mom used to say: “everything has its time.”

Asking the user to do something a little different than than what they’re expecting can be irritating and sometimes scary.

Our approach is something we like to call “the right moment”, we only ask for the user’s input only when it makes complete sense to them, without even having to explain it.

This applies when you are asking for payment info. We didn’t ask for it at the initial form, that would be ruthless even for a financial app.

We ask for it when the user naturally understands the process: just after setting up their first transfer when they’re ready to send it.

A happy accident: simplifying other use cases

As designers we get surprised by our own decisions, even when we’ve made them many times before.

As a consequence of making the right decisions while designing the onboarding experience, we discovered we had simplified the amount of steps the user has to take on a second use case.

Transferring money when everything is set up correctly is a whole lot faster.

It now takes only three steps!

Swap is available for Mexican bank accounts only, download it on the App Stores now!

Remember: listen to your users

Creating a clear unique path, being resourceful, making transparent decisions and trusting your process. Doing all that with the users in mind will ensure the success of your product.

Now that the new Swap is out, getting real data from users will help us better understand our future options.

Our next challenge is to understand the evolution of the product and translate it into features while keeping it easy to use.

Until the next one!


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