Money management app for teenagers.

Personal project.
Product Design | Research | Branding

Addressing the Teenage Fintech Gap

Problem

In recent years, tech-savvy teenagers have become a significant consumer group for digital products. However, financial apps for teens are often an afterthought, serving parents' needs more than the teenagers themselves, with designs that mimic adult accounts with added animations.

Solution

Recognizing the unmet needs of teenagers, I set out to design a product that simplifies financial management and aligns with popular products.

TACKLING THE PROBLEM

Analysis

Study the most popular products among the user group and get insights into what works best for them and what they expect from a product.

User Research

Define the user group and understand its needs and pain points via interviews.

Design

Designing a system and tools that meet teenagers' needs in managing finances, using best visual practices.

Accessibility

Ensure the product complies with the best international practices of age-appropriate design, like a code of practice for online services.

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM OUR COMPETITORS

YouTube

Discord

Instagram

Roblox

To understand what teenagers like in digital apps and what they expect from a digital service, I asked them about their favorite apps and why they like them in interviews. The apps most teenagers like are YouTube, Discord, and Instagram.

TEENS’ motivation for using apps:

Stay in touch

Easy to use

Popularity

Entertainment

Reliability

Learning

Considering these insights, my primary focus should be offering options that allow users to stay connected while maintaining a simple and well-organized layout.

LISTENING TO THE USERS

To understand users’ needs and pain points, I interviewed 8 teenagers from 9 to 15 years old. Participants were students in private and public schools in America and Asia. I asked them the following questions to find trends in what apps they use, their current financial behavior, and their problems and needs with money management.

Interview Questions Highlight:

1. How often do you typically use mobile apps or digital tools in your daily life? What are your favorite apps or platforms, and why do you like them?
2. How do you prefer to seek help or support when you have questions or issues with apps or digital services?
3. Can you describe a recent purchase you made with your own money? What influenced your decision to buy that item or service?
4. How do you keep track of your spending currently? Do you use any tools or methods to budget your money?
5. What level of control or oversight is appropriate for parents regarding your financial decisions and activities in the app?

Analyzing the interviews

Analyzing trends in interview debriefs and affinity maps, I narrowed the factors affecting teenagers' experience and expectations according to my interviewers to the most popular topics. It helped me articulate the HMW Questions to pinpoint critical problems to solve. I noticed how important the role of an engaging and organized user interface is, how significant the problem of overspending and saving is for teenagers, and the desire to learn and take control over budgeting.

Teenagers’ focus:

UI, Budgeting, Learning
As a social platform, I like to use discord as it is user-friendly and very easy to start using.
I like to spend my Robux on avatar items instead of in-game items because I know I would not play a specific game for a long.
It would be nice if there was a built-in guide on how to manage money and spending and why you should.

UNDERSTANDING THE USER

Considering the key insights of user research and a glance at the potential audience of the service, I moved on to creating a Persona.

IDEATION

I began by brainstorming and exploring different ideas to find better solutions related to money management to create a better user experience for teenagers.

Smart Budgeting

The storyboard shows the value of personalized money management suggestions and how they can help overcome overspending obstacles and achieve saving goals. It is inspired by an interviewee's financial struggles and search for guidance.

ACCESSIBILITY

After checking possible accessibility issues and age and developmental stages for the age group of 13-15 years old with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), I adjusted and confirmed the product development roadmap and feature set.

key considerations:

Independence

Teenagers desire greater independence and autonomy, distancing themselves from parental values and rules.

Exploration

The use of new services that parents aren’t aware of or don’t use is popular as is the use of language that parents may not easily understand.

Parental influence

Despite often seeking independence, their family continues to be a great influence in teens’ lives.

Age of consent

Children aged 13 and older can provide their consent for data processing in the context of offering online services directly to them.

BUILDING THE LOGIC

Next, I started working on the logic of steps a user follows to complete a task or achieve a goal in the app. While working on it, I gained a deeper understanding of how users interact with the app and identified areas for improvement. I used this information to optimize the design and functionality, ultimately improving the user experience.

WIREFRAMING

Based on the Task and User flows created, the next step was to develop Lo-Fi wireframes for the website. They helped me to get a basic representation of the app's layout and structure and visualize its overall flow.
After exploring some ideas and choosing ones aligned with my Persona goals, I converted my low-fidelity wireframes into a mid-fidelity digital format.

THE SOLUTION

Clearly organized,
easy-to-use interface

The goal was to avoid typical colorful designs and childish animations prevailing in product design for this age group. Instead, create an easy-to-use, organized layout, considering teenagers' cognitive development stages.

Budgeting and Saving

Since users were primarily concerned about money management and saving, developing budgeting and saving flows was a priority for this stage. These features were designed with learning components and considering users' developmental limitations, such as time perception.

Learning component

The learning component is one of the essential parts of the product since the topic of finance itself is unfamiliar to the users, and there was a user request for education in this domain. It was realized as an onboarding process and tips for functions and services along the app.

TESTING. PRIORITIZING. IMPROVING

3 key design improvements

After completing the initial design approach, I tested it with 6 users, some familiar with the project and others not. I then organized and analyzed their feedback and discussed the results with my mentor. Based on this process, I identified three main UX issues that required further iteration.

Tailoring Design for
Teenagers' Preferences

It turned out that users found images redundant and distracting. They prefer a cleaner, more organized visual interface. This supports my previous observations and conclusions that teenagers are not kids; they like functionality over flashy elements. So, I redesigned it, removing unnecessary images and making it more straightforward, which made users happier and more engaged.

Embracing Simplicity
Through Screen Segmentation

It became one of my most significant design challenges. Initially, I attempted to fit everything onto one screen, but users found it cluttered and disorganized. So, I divided the content into separate screens, one for each function. This made the design less cluttered and more organized. Learning to embrace white space was key.

Enhancing User Experience Through Tooltip Redesign

One crucial app component is education, which is integrated into the design using a tooltip element. However, users found the tool unattractive and its functionality confusing. Initially, the tooltip appeared after the delay. I redesigned it to enhance its visual appeal and included a button for a smoother and clearer user experience.

STYLE GUIDE

THE FINAL PRODUCT

REFLECTION

What I’d do differently next time.

That was my fourth and last solo UX project at DesignLab Academy. I’ve used my skills to showcase my best work. Looking back, I see the path I’ve gone, learning how to become a better designer, as well as the skills I handled and the areas of future development. Here are some things I would have done differently:

1. Use customized animation and iconography. While it wasn't a priority for this study project, I've realized how it impacts the visuals. I typically utilize free resources for my study projects, including icons and vector images. Despite spending significant time carefully selecting the best options that align with my design's overall style, the end result still appears too generic. I believe that having the budget and resources to create and use customized imagery and icons would positively impact the project's appearance and overall impression.

2. Designing all user flows. As this was a study project, I had to prioritize the flows I needed to create to showcase my work effectively. I chose to design the most relevant flows for the project, specifically focusing on demonstrating budgeting features and setting savings goals. However, I realized that many other useful and interesting flows were missing. If I had more time, I would have designed all the flows and prototyped their interactions. I hope to have this opportunity when working on future projects.

3. Exploring alternative solutions. While brainstorming solutions to address user problems, I generated different ideas. However, within the project's scope, I didn't have the opportunity to design and test all of them, even though it would have been interesting to see how various solutions could meet users' needs. For instance, users expressed a strong need to connect with peers and request education. As a potential solution to both of these issues, I conceived the idea of incorporating "stories" at the top of the dashboards, where users could exchange their ideas or experiences along with advice provided by the service team. Developing and implementing this feature alone would have required significant time and resources; nevertheless, I believe it would be a valuable feature to test and gather user feedback on.

Thank you for reading!

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