Monthio is a Fintech startup based in Copenhagen.
The solution Monthio is working on will allow people to better manage and understand their economy, by processing and enriching the user bank data.
I left the company before starting the testing phase and implementing the product.
I worked in this company almost since the beginning. This allowed me to start the design process from scratch with very limited time and resources. I mostly worked as a UX team of one, but I always kept collaboration with the rest of the team. The primary challenge was to make a complex solution easy and fast to use.
I divided my design process into 4 parts:
Research | Concept | Design | Testing & Tracking
The process is not meant to be linear. I often went back and forth between phases, learning, improving the solutions, testing again.
The first step was to learn and understand the different needs, goals of both the users and the stakeholders.
Since in a startup the time is often a critical factor, I decided to adopt a Guerrilla research approach, by making the best use of the available resources.
The company knowledge
I began to get familiar with the concept, reading, and understanding all the data that the stakeholders had previously collected.
In order to keep the process fluid and organized, I created a “knowledge library”, where all data and ideas about the concept are stored.
A competitor benchmarking
I needed to learn how similar services and apps work.
I spent a few days studying the competitors, analyzing their apps and collecting screenshots and notes.
This collection of information helped me to have a good overview of the state of art and it was very useful during the design phase.
I set up a round of explorative interviews with the key stakeholders to understand the business needs, their ideas for the product.
Based on their input, I started to draw sketches, both on paper and digitally, to quickly visualize the concept. Those sketches were a quick way to validate the idea.
I set up a round of explorative interview with them, to understand the business needs, which idea of the app they have in mind and how ready they were to get the idea revisited many times.
Based on the information I learned through the stakeholder interviews, I started to draw sketches, both on paper and digital, to quickly visualize the concept. Those sketches were a quick way to validate the idea.
At this point, I needed to understand what the users wanted and how they felt about the idea.
I made a round of preliminary user interviews with 10 people.
I presented the concept through sketches and I asked them to go through the solution and think aloud.
I also video-recorded the interviews to be able to analyze them at a later stage.
This quick series of interviews gave me valuable insights, that validated some assumptions and showed the direction to follow through the design process.
With a solid base of information collected during the previous phase, I started to explore the initial concept.
I created personas, scenarios and defined the user flow.
This phase of the design process is the one that I usually love the most.
Following the Guerrilla approach, I created 3 proto-personas. I’m using the suffix “proto” because the personas were created merging the data from user interviews data and some assumptions.
These kinds of personas must be always validated during the testing phase.
An important step was to define the user flow.
“How the user will go from point A to point B?”, “How many flows should we consider?”.
I asked these questions to the team, pushing them to think about different flows and scenarios.
As a result, I sketched different flows on paper and on Sketch.
Use Cases and Scenarios
The product owner and I worked on use cases, such as logging in for the first time or modifying a transaction category.
The use cases were then placed in a wider context and combined together to create more complex scenarios. This approach was a useful tool to investigate and show the team different contexts of use.
For the third step, I got my hands dirty and started visualizing the product.
I explored solutions and interactions through wireframing, lo-fi mockups, simple sketches.
Part of this step was to look at best practices and get inspired by other app design and solutions.
I presented the sketches and wireframing to the product owner to get his feedback and input.
By doing so, I could iterate and improve the design solution. During this phase, I also loved to explore and “play with” micro-interactions.
Eventually, I added some colors and the right font to get ready to test the look&feel.
A selected number of prototypes were meant to be tested with our target users, during the test phase.
You can find an interactive example of the Sign in flow at this link (it will open a new tab).
Testing is a very important step in the design process.
I often tested wireframes and mockups with people not involved in the design process, just to have a different opinion and use a "fresh pair of eyes". This type of test was part of the Guerrilla testing methodology.
Unfortunately, I left the company before actively working on the testing phase.
However, I managed to start working on UX KPI’s and decided how to run and collect the user test data.
This was a pretty challenging and complex project I worked on. It took quite some time to get familiar with the fin-tech context, get to know the terminology and processes when it comes to personal finance.
I absolutely enjoyed the concept evaluation step, creating the personas and explore use cases and scenario.
Probably having a team of designers (UX Researcher, UI Designer) would have helped to overcome more easily some of the challenges.
The startup working environment is very dynamic, but often the resources (time & money) are limited.
That is partly what makes challenging working in a startup. However, at the same time, it also pushes you to work efficiently and to think outside the box to make the best use of the few resources available.
I am always up for a chat, possibly while drinking a warm and delicious cup of tea
(that's right, I am an Italian guy who does not drink coffee).
©2019 Daniele Internicola.