Native Mobile Expense Tracking Application

Goals

Business Goals: A large bank was looking to expand its mobile offerings to their small business credit card customers in order to increase customer engagement and loyalty. The company aimed to create a product that helped solve an unmet need among their customer base that would also drive customers to spend more on their credit cards.

User Goals: Primary user research and contextual inquiry studies had revealed a need to provide expense tracking services to small business owners. The common practice of tracking expenses with paper receipts often resulted in a complex and frustrating process to maintain financial records and generate invoices. Small business owners and their employees needed more efficient and easier method of monitoring their credit card transactions.

Results

As part of a cross-disciplinary team, I led the User Experience Design of a native iPhone and Android application that allowed small business owners and employees to manage their expenses. Through a highly iterative design and usability evaluation process, I explored a wide variety of interaction design approaches. By remaining involved throughout the entire development process, I ensured that the desired user experience could be achieved across platforms, including the companion web experience. With tens of thousands of active users, the application has helped make expense tracking and transaction monitoring easier for thousands of customers.

Stakeholder interviews: At the start of the engagement, I spoke with our client team to understand their goals, success metrics, and to discuss prior research that was conducted. Information from these interviews helped to solidify the direction and vision for the product.

Functional Requirements: While initial functional requirements were provided to us, I guided the team to evolve the requirements based off of capabilities that would both be a value add to the user and business and that would be technically feasible to implement. As we explored ideas for the application, I updated documentation to reflect changes.

Experience Map: In order to better understand the ecosystem surrounding the application’s usage, I created a user experience journey map to illustrate the different phases of user engagement. I documented each touch point, activities and interactions, user expectations, barriers, and possible user emotions to help understand how desired capabilities fit in with the overall experience.

Brainstorming: In order to involve all members of the client and internal team and to generate a wide variety of ideas, I facilitated brainstorming exercises to help identify different interaction options for the application.

Sketches: I created numerous sketches to document early ideas and concepts. I facilitated sketching workshops to engage both the client and internal team members in generating ideas for the application. As requirements shifted, these sketches also allowed us to clarify how the requirements could translate into a user interface, helping to gain alignment more effectively than by only using written documents.

User Flows: I created user flow diagrams to help visualize the logical flow of information to help clarify requirements and to identify the different use cases that had to be accommodated within the application.

Information Architecture: I created an application map to organize the screen hierarchy throughout the mobile experience. The map allowed our team to visualize the scope of the application and to see the big picture of how each screen was connected throughout the application.

Annotated Clickable Prototypes: I created clickable prototypes using Axure RP that demonstrated how the user would interact with the application on both iOS and Android. By viewing these prototypes on actual mobile devices, we were able to get a sense of the overall user experience prior to development. These prototypes were also used on mobile devices during usability testing to try to replicate actual usage as closely as possible.

Usability test planning:  I identified two areas where user feedback should be used to aid product development. I created test plans that consisted of a combination of user interview questions and a set of both structured and unstructured tasks.

Usability test facilitation:  I conducted a quick, informal test with friends, family, and coworkers to identify initial usability flaws with early ideas and concepts. I later facilitated a more in-depth usability test with target users with an interactive clickable prototype on a mobile device. This allowed us to evolve the product to better fit the needs of our users.

Usability test analysis: Following each usability test, I analyzed the results to help inform changes to the application. In the interest of flexibility, these reports were lean and focused on actionable recommendations that could influence the product.

Aligning stakeholder priorities: During the course of the project some stakeholders disagreed on the product’s direction. I helped to identify these points of contention and facilitate conversations to reach an understanding based on data and alignment with success metrics.

Designing for both iOS and Android: I helped to identify where consistency across platforms should be reached and where  interactions had to differ in order to meet the design patterns standard to iOS and Android.