Budget Tracking | Finance App

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This project was completed as a design challenge in an 8-hour time constraint. 

The Challenge 

In this day and age, there are so many ways to spend money; in many cases, too much money. Design a digital experience that would help a person keep track of how much they’re spending as well as help them save money. 

The Problem

Millennials find it challenging to save money and stick to a budgets. They don’t know where to turn for solid financial advice and many are concerned about how debt is going to affect their future lives.

The Solution

This budgeting app aims to help millennials take control of their finances by providing an all-in-one platform to track spending, set budgets and get advice on spending and saving habits.

User Research

To guide design decisions for the product, I wanted to understand who I was designing for and what their needs and behaviors are. Due to the time constraint, I used existing research to help discover who the target user would be. In my research, I found that millennials would be a primary user for this type of product. Current challenges are:

  • Low financial literacy

Almost half of millennials are concerned they have too much debt, and although they are saving earlier, they admit to not saving enough

  • Lack of financial security

Millennials are saving earlier, but admit to not saving enough. Financial security is valued, and two-thirds have established a monthly budget they try to follow. Over a third use a digital budgeting system.

Competitive Research 

To understand what resources are currently available to people looking to take control of their financial lives, I did a competitive analysis of other digital products that are available to consumers, looking specifically at what they did well and what users’ feedback on the experience was.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 1.43.14 PM Mint offers a consistent experience across devices and uses data visualizations that make understanding your finances easier. They offer tips based on your spending and saving behavior and guide users through the system in an intuitive way.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 1.43.21 PMWith Pocket Expense, users’ accounts aren’t automatically added. The user has to manually set up budgets are there are no defaults or guidance for users who may be setting up a budget for the first time. Calendar feature provides a good overview, but can be hard to interpret.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 1.46.41 PMMvelopes offers a good on-boarding process that addresses customers’ goals/concerns, but has an inconsistent experience across devices. Website feels outdated with a cluttered interface. There are no reminders of privacy when adding bank/credit card accounts.

Exploring the Problem

To better understand how this product could be used I started by brainstorming with an affinity map, then started sketching user journeys and writing scenarios.

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Example Scenario

James, a recent graduate of NYU working in journalism, recently downloaded the app. He has already linked his savings account and credit cards to the app. He sees his spending habits are a bit sporadic, and wants to start managing his money more responsibly. He gets a notification that he can create a budget on the app and decides to see how the app can help him. 

User Flow

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Initial Sketches

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Low-Fidelity WireframesScreen Shot 2015-04-06 at 1.50.31 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 1.50.40 PM

Final Key Screens

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Apple Watch Integration 

Example Scenario

James now has his budget in place, and is grocery shopping. He usually orders from Seamless, but wants to start cutting back on his take-out budget and is at Fairway getting some fresh produce for the week. He gets a notification on his Apple Watch reminding him of how much money he has left in his monthly grocery budget.

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In the 8-hour timeframe of the project, of course there wasn’t time to explore the entire scope of what a product like this could look like, but these are a few areas I think would be good next steps in the designs.

  • Explore Debt Visualization

A concern of many, debt can be overwhelming. I’d like to explore how to help the user create a plan of how to save enough to get out of debt and visualize where they are and where they could be.

  • Incorporate savings goals

For this challenge I focused on the budgeting aspect. I’d like to add a feature that allows users to create and track savings goals that are linked to their accounts.

  • Other Platforms

I chose to design for mobile iOS because it is commonly used by the primary demographic and for on-the-go access. I’d like to work on a desktop site and android version next.