HANDLING EXPENSES : Do we need a drug or a vitamin ?

 

Why I thought so

Money has always been an integral part of our life. The advent of virtual money in the form of cards and wallets have made it more easy and accessible to use. This has made people spend without anticipating its effect and end up in a financial crisis. Many application has addressed this problem by helping them to document and monitor their expenses on a daily basis. 

But I believe the solution is within people itself. It’s the lifestyle which they need to change. They need a companion who can assist them with the right information at the right time and help them to improve themselves. 

‘’ It should be like drug which can slowly cure the cause and keep you less dependent on it later, not like a vitamin which gives you instant relief but makes you use it throughout your life “  

 

What I did 

Based upon the time and people at my disposal I used the following approach to reach a conclusion. 

  1. Problem analysis, generative and explorative research: Evaluated and refined my problem statement.
  2. User Research : Identified the real cause by understanding user action and behavior.

  3. Design approach : An attempt was made to propose a solution for the identified cause.

During this endeavour, i have tried not to be biased with my perspective of habits, beliefs and attitudes. Decisions were made purely based on data and analysis, not based on any assumptions.

 

What I got

Based on the user group selected I was able to identify their expense patterns and suggest a better categorization of their income. Based their behavioral models I was able to suggest an interaction which can give them more clarity over an act of purchase and to better anticipate its effect.

Problem analysis : Generative and explorative research

This research method is followed as I am in the earliest stage with few assumptions. So I wanted to start from the scratch with a basic definition of a system.Understand its problems first.     

 
The perfect system

A system is stable when a person has enough money to satisfy his need. 

   
The real system

A system is unstable when a person doesn’t have enough money to satisfy his need .

 
Understand if the problem is real 
 
Understanding the context 

 

Users were interviewed to understand how they fail in these three instances. Based on the information obtained I was able to identify certain patterns they followed in these instances. 

 
Conclusion

From the identified patterns I was able to draw the conclusion that expense is the key factor which is affecting all the other failures.

 
Final problem statement

User Research : Affinity diagram

User Research : Understanding an action

User Research : User Persona 

User Research : Final reality check

Based on the information obtained from the analysis and models, I asked few more questions to confirm my insights on the cause.

 

Design approach

Understanding your income

 

Once provided, these two amounts will be removed from your available balance assuming that it will be consumed anyway. Rest is the actual amount you will have in your hand for your daily expenses. Looks like a good amount . But you are just starting your days . 

 

Decision making

Wireframes

Input Screen

While on an act of purchase, this interface is used to add a purchase amount.

 

 

  • This interface should be initiated fast on tap of the app icon. 
  • Once initiated user should be able to enter the number fast.
  • Bigger number keys will enhance visibility and tappable area. 
  • Entered numbers should be displayed in bigger fonts for better feedback.

 

Balance view screen

Once added user can check the balance available and validate his purchase amount using this feature. 

 

  • The User will be provided with both daily and monthly balance left. 
  • The User will have to select either of these to check in the purchase.
  • If that purchase belongs to their daily expenses, they can select daily otherwise monthly.
  • Once selected updated balance will be shown.
  • Time left will be displayed in hours for daily balance and in days for monthly 
  • This information will help user to take a decision on their purchase
  • They can check in the amount to confirm the purchase or cancel if not purchasing.

 

Screen flow

 

Prototype

What I learned 

I learned the importance of having a well-defined and close-ended problem statement. Following a generative and explorative research helped me to introspect into it by asking the right questions and refine it in each phase.

I was able to leverage the techniques of Hook Model ( which I learned from Nir Eyal’s HOOKED ) to my benefit in anticipating user actions in the context of a purchase. With further studies, I realized that my user group wouldn't be interested in spending time and effort for an individual exercise to manage their expenses. Rather they will appreciate an intelligent assistance during an act of purchase. So I was more focussed on designing that one interaction which can enable this service.