Budgie is a simple, easy-to-use, financial application that helps guide college students towards financial independence and responsibility

September 2016 – December 2016 | Intro to User Centered Design (HCDE 318)


In a team of four, I conducted user research to develop personas, storyboards, sitemaps, paper prototypes, wireframes, and high-fidelity mockups. Working both collaboratively and independently, I worked through the full user-centered design process for this application. I contributed significantly to delegating tasks and keeping the project on schedule and within scope. View my team’s full project website.


Research

I conducted research in two main forms: competitive analysis of similar existing products, and interviews with potential users. After synthesizing data across team members, I identified user goals and pain points.

budgiegoalspains

I found that competing applications were geared more towards users with a pre-existing base understanding of money management. Often times these applications also had so much capability that they could come across as intimidating to users new to managing their own finances.


Personas & Scenarios

My research drove the development of realistic personas and scenarios, based on archetypes rather than stereotypes. I first developed provisional personas, then transferred everything over to digital format to create the polished personas. The personas aimed to capture behavior patterns to inform product design and develop an understanding of users’ goals in certain contexts. Throughout the design process, I used these personas to empathize with users.

I created a context scenario for each of our personas to explore how our product could best meet the needs of each persona. My scenarios were written from the persona’s perspective, focusing on human activities, perceptions, and desires.

Matt_Persona.png


Design Sketches

I brainstormed several pages of ideas and visual components of the app, which I used to build interaction frameworks. These frameworks described different ways potential users might interact with our application.


Sitemap

Through design sketches and storyboards, I decided which features, interactions, and functionalities to incorporate into our application. With this knowledge, I worked to build the information architecture of the app, creating a sitemap that was both intuitive and efficient.

sitemap


Paper Prototypes

I next created paper prototypes for several different interactions a user might encounter using our app. These prototypes allowed for quick and affordable usability tests within our potential user population. I tested four individuals that met our participant criteria to evaluate the current strengths and weaknesses of the represented interaction flows.

paperprototypes


Wireframes

After analyzing all data collected through the paper prototype usability tests, I incorporated this new knowledge into the development of wireframes for our complete system.

budgetwireframes1


High-Fidelity Mockups

After several in-class critiques sessions and subsequent modifications of the wireframes, our team developed a number of high-fidelity mockups for different screens of the application.

mockups

Learn more


Takeaways

1) Effective communication is key. When working on a team, there needs to be a strong open line of communication at all times. Team members need to feel respected and heard to accomplish anything.

2) Establish clear roles early on. Figuring out who’s doing what will save time and effort later on.