Chase Bank wants to expand their personal finance management capabilities for their mobile app. The business also wants to keep their existing customers away from competitors, while also introducing them to their other financial product offerings in order to generate more revenue.
This Chase budgeting feature educates users on how to set and reach their personal financial goals by guiding users through a pain free tutorial on how budgeting can work for them. Gamification elements have been incorporated to help keep users on track with their goals. As users grow wealth through proper budgeting, Chase Bank also benefits by having the first opportunity to offer their wide portfolio of financial services.
Solo UX Designer for a personal project. Design a new feature to the current Chase mobile banking app. Includes research, information architecture, interaction design, and iterative prototyping.
As a Chase mobile app user myself, I only used the app to keep track of my expenses. Although the app had its own budgeting and goal setting features, I found myself looking toward other more comprehensive budgeting apps like Mint. If the Chase mobile app were to expand its personal finance management capabilities, at the very least it would need to introduce similarly useful features onto their own app.
I started off the project by digging deeper through Chase’s mobile app to understand their current personal finance management offerings. I then competitively researched several other personal finance management apps which include:
Seeing how robust these personal budgeting apps were in comparison to Chase’s budget tracking service seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand functionality. This would not only introduce budgeting concepts to Chase’s customers, but also serve as a means to offer Chase’s existing services along a customer’s budgeting journey.
As personal finance management was a new area for me, I spent a lot of time up front to fully understand the concepts behind well-known budgeting strategies including the 50/30/20 rule, zero balance budgeting, envelope budgeting, and more. I also spent some time learning about how Chase generates revenue.
I created a survey to select for 5 participants who had experience with personal budgeting in my research, and interviewed them with one research goal in mind.
The power user was one who had a deep interest in all manner of finance management apps, and would make an active effort every month to set and follow financial goals. This type of user was willing to pay for a subscription-based budgeting software like You Need A Budget.
The typical user was one who has tried some free services for finance management, but does not fully commit themselves to sticking closely to the budget. This user recognizes that they are lacking in personal finance management knowledge, yet does not have the time or effort to figure out in-depth what should be done to improve this situation.
Ultimately both of these users want to set financial goals for themselves and save money in order to reach those goals in the future.
Because it was difficult to find more power users for interviews willing to share their time, and the short timeline of this project, I decided to focus on designing this feature for the more common, typical user. I created a user persona, Daniel Miller, that summarized my user interview findings. It was evident that while the user had loose financial goals, they didn't know how to reach them, so this feature needed to help the user easily learn how to manage their personal finances.
To better visualize how this feature could benefit both the user and Chase, I listed out my user goals against Chase’s goals on a Venn diagram. Another key point that I was mindful of was Chase’s goal of keeping user’s within the Chase ecosystem, especially since there are so many competitors already out there. The overlap indicated that this feature should help users grow their wealth in order to make large purchases.
Before I started designing out the budgeting feature, I wanted to take another step back to make sure I wasn’t overlooking anything else important that should belong to a personal financial management feature. I had a brainstorming session with a mentor to lay out all the possible ideas that should go into a personal finance management app, and prioritize which ones seemed to be the most important pieces to showcase in the feature.
With features in hand, I looked back toward the existing Chase mobile app. Chase already has a budgeting and an autosave feature, however these are two separate features within their app. Furthermore, their budgeting app is fairly simple in comparison to other budgeting apps. My goal now was to not only redesign these two features into a single one for better interconnectivity, but also to educate users about personal finance management and offer Chase services when appropriate.
To understand how this would work, I created a user flow for Daniel Miller for both the existing process of creating a budget, and my new proposed process of creating a budget.
Starting off with some sketches, I designed a lo-fi prototype based off of the user flow, and conducted usability testing with 5 participants. I organized my debrief notes through an affinity map and put together a list of findings for my next iteration.
The 50/30/20 budgeting rule seems to be a popular method of introducing someone to the concepts of personal finance management. Working off of Chase’s existing budgeting ring style motif, I displayed this budgeting rule in this intuitive ring format.
While designing the tutorial, I found that one of the most important parts of educating was creating the copy that would go into each tooltip. While larger bodies of text may explain concepts better, it comes at the risk of users losing interest or glossing past important information.
Adding to the Chase Snapshot
While working on this project, I read Yu-kai Chou’s "Actionable Gamification". His framework outlined gamification’s effect on building user habits for better retention. To help keep users on track with their goals and add a piece of personalization, I added another goal tracking section to the existing Chase Snapshot overview feature. This served as a way to increase a user’s sense of ownership and accomplishment when they looked at their budgeting progress.
I also saw this as an opportunity to offer Chase's services via the call-to-action button.
Another gamification element I introduced was a daily roll feature. This served as another method to help users develop a positive habit of monitoring their budget by relying on a user’s sense of accomplishment, and to avoid losing previous work.
If I were to continue developing this feature, I would start by testing tasks to my usability test. With these tasks the most important point would be to evaluate how well users understand the budgeting concepts. If this feature were to be put into production, I would monitor how many users continuously use this app over time, and for how long they use it before dropping off. I would also keep track of metrics pertaining to the goals that users set for themselves, and their rate of accomplishment.
Furthermore, I would monitor the amount of users who sign up for additional Chase services through this personal finance management feature. With each stage along the user journey, monitoring metrics provides the opportunity to adjust the app to better serve both the users and the business.