Competing with todays new generation of mobile banking

Monzo, Revolute and Plum are examples of apps that have helped us undertake more than just the basic banking requirements. We can save money, make easy international payments and more. But how does this affect the traditional banks of England?

According to an international survey on mobile banking, 42% of smartphone users have explored third party services beyond their primary bank. These are either challenger or fin-tech banks offering different services that their traditional bank may not be providing successfully. What if this were to change?

Our client wants to introduce a special app for a new type of account. The main goals are to incorporate features such as easy international payments, real-time balance and a notification system that could alert users of scheduled bills.

After looking into various competitors of Barclays, we were able to understand the market, and why users were turning to other apps for other services. Through numerous interviews, we found that people liked the relatively new idea of managing their spendings via Monzo, which was launched in 2015. It may not be the primary necessity, but users were attracted by the glow-in the dark, bright pink card which was separate to their bank card.

Understanding the Competitors

We also found that people liked the idea of visualising standard information in different ways, such as graphs and pie charts as these methods were more engaging. Another reason why apps such as Monzo and Plum may be more popular than the traditional banking app.

In order to summarise our target user into one person, we created Liam, our persona. He is 30, lives in London and frequently transfers money to the U.S.A, where he previously lived, in order to pay off his university student loan.

His frustrations in terms of banking is that he has frequent bills to pay which range from utility to international, and he struggles to keep track. Making international payments becomes a long, confusing process with lots of steps. To think that wasn’t stressful enough, Liam is constantly bombarded with paper bills through the post which he cannot keep to date with.

Following this, his main goals are, to have a general understanding of the cash flows within his account, to make his payments on time and to save a little money where possible.

Sketching Liam’s Banking Problems

In order to prioritise various features, we organised it within this matrix, while keeping in mind what was the business needs compared to the users. Based on research and interviews, we found that people liked the idea of having their spending breakdown available on their mobile banking app, but it wasn’t necessary. Not many users understood or needed the facility to store money in multiple currencies. So for the purpose of this study, we limited our attention to these features.

From these findings, we deducted that the Barclays app should feature the following:

  • All everyday banking tasks & info in your pocket
  • Proactive notifications and alerts to stay on top of your money flows
  • Auto-generated insights to help you understand your income and spending better

Our next challenge was to begin the design phase. We began by prototyping our ideas in the form of a quick design studio. Five minutes of drawing followed by discussion and reiteration. Agile methods were key in our process of developing and testing the idea with the user. Below is the flow of design iterations, from paper (low) to high fidelity.

Design Iterations- Notifications

We tested the notifications page on the home screen and found that users wanted to have the option of viewing this, without it being the first thing they see. Following these findings, we comprised this information into ‘The Next 7 Days’ and incorporated it as a scrollable flow below the home screen.

More Testing

Other features we tested were the visuals on the home screen and how users were able to view their balance. Testing showed us that people were keen on having this information big and bold, however, they were more engaged to the screen when their balance was displayed in more interactive ways. Circles and bubbles conveyed different feelings to the user than bar charts- which felt more daunting. Overall, these elements incorporate the users current balance, monthly average, and remaining balance in a clear and concise way.

We found that users appreciated familiarity.

Agile Testing

Icons are the micro elements of design which are not tested enough. How often do you use an app which contains icons of little clarity and purpose? In order to simplify the experience for the user, we tested icons that we felt were necessary to the App. Our response was key to our design, and we were able to develop a straight forward language between the user and the processes within the app.

The final icons we concluded to are shown below. These were simple and easy to follow for the user.

From our research, testing and design iterations, we summarised our app into three key words. These were applied to the main aspects of the design in order to enhance the users experience.

  • Visual- The experience has visual ways of delivering standard information.
  • Efficient- It simplifies the experience, by incorporating only the essential aspects of mobile banking for the user.
  • Authentic- The app embraces the vision, ethos and values that comes with its heritage.
Design Principles

Click here to view the Barclays Prototype

Be notified before payments are scheduled to leave your account. Therefore, you can always ensure that you have sufficient funds within your account.

No more boring account summaries and balances. Not only can you view your balance in real-time, you can also change the way you see it. User research showed that circles made people feel calmer when viewing their account summary.

All your everyday banking needs in your trusted Barclays app.



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