Square it

Square it is an app idea that is used for splitting payments and settling debts, aimed to be used by groups consisting of more than two people. Primarily targeted at small-medium communities, like shared housing. As well as small parties, like a group of friends eating out or splitting a cab.

Users will have to log in with their bank details, this will come in handy when displaying and tracking their expenses on the platform.

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Introducing groups

Groups are used for irregular payments between a group of people, this feature is often used when paying for a one-time thing. Perhaps after seeing a movie at the cinema, a cab ride or anything you can think of.
Easily see how much you owe and see who has paid in the group. Pay your share in one tap. Regardless of your bank, it's that easy.

Introducing Communities

Communities are used for regular payments monthly or weekly between a group of people. This feature is mainly targeted at monthly bills. Such as rent, electricity or gas. You as a community have full control over how much you pay individually and when you pay. The money will be transferd automatically to your recipients, so you don't have to worry.

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Easily create groups and communities, and add your members. Easily adjust your group or community to your needs.

We will keep you updated

Easily keep track of your money by seeing when you get added to groups and communities, additionally see when money is going out of your bank account, and see when money is coming in.

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Design process

1

Discovery

The roots of the idea

This idea started during my first year of university, where my flatmate and I found it unfair that everyone in our shared household paid different amounts for communal items, this was not a fair solution to us, because in our mind a community should consist of a group of people who contributes equally. We realized that this mindset and idea could apply to different areas where people struggle from a day to day basis. We concluded that we could apply this to bills and debts as well. Thus, our idea of “square it” was born, a platform where equality, transparency, and community stood in the center of our design and ethos.

The challenge

Create a platform targeted at small-medium communities, like shared housing and small parties to help them with setteling debts, and present them an easy way to automate monthly bills like rent or eletricity. 
The platform will need to have access to users bank details for quick and easy bank transfers.
This fact will make it even more crucial to stay true to our design guidelines (equality, transparency, and community) throughout the design process.

2

Definition

Persona

This persona is based on my flatmates in my household, and how the added stress of overseeing the bills of any given household could add a lot of unnecessary stress. More importantly, this persona will help me to understand what my users experience in a broader view. 

Empathy map

Empathy map gives us an insight into what our users say, thinks, does and feels. It is a snapshot of how our user experiences the problem I am trying to solve, by grouping post-it notes we can get an overview of what kind of problem the user might encounter the most. More importantly, it gives us valuable user insight. This insight will be in the back of my mind throughout my design decisions. 

User insight 

At this stage I have gotten to know my most common user, at this stage I try to dig deeper and sum up my user`s main concerns she is encountering during her day to day life, but more importantly I try to figure out a creative solution for her problems. 

This is what i know about my user 

Thea is under a lot of stress because of the pressure of being the lead tenant. She feels alone in her shared household when it comes to paying expenses, to make matter worse she always forgets who has paid their share and when, but she hates asking her mates if they have paid because she is shy and find it hard to ask about money. In addition to this, she is on a tight budget. It is therefore essential that she gets her money back on time.

overall pain 

After getting to know Thea, I have concluded that these are her overall obstacles in her daily life.

She feels overwhelmed 

Thea feels like the pressure of being a student is more than enough for her. She finds that she is alone when it comes to paying the bills in the house. It is essential that she gets her money back because of her student budget.

She would like an easy way to track her expenses 

She is struggling to remember who have paid their share of the bills. She would like to have a notification saying that money has been transferred to her account.

reliving pain with design thinking

User statements

Pain

Design opportunity

Ux rules

Potential outcome

She feels alone in her shared household when paying her bills

visually present everyone in her household and how much they are paying. This make her feel like she is not alone

Group related objects near each other.

I believe that this feature will ease her, and her housemates get to contribute as well. This will relieve her stress as a lead tenant

Checking her bank account all the time might be stressful.

have users log in with their bank details, with this data I can display her balance on the platform, and I can display how high her expenses are month to month,

Be credible and trustworthy

Make a good first impression

She might feel less stress when she can easily compare her expenses month to month.

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Money is scares so every penny counts. She needs feedback when money gets in her account.

Give her notifications when her housemates pays her.

Feedback

She does not have to log in to her bank to check her balance.

Features that this user might appreciate 

Visualize her housemates and how much each individual within the house pays each month.

Give her full control down to the penny how much she pays each month, and when money goes in and out of her account.

Have a feature that automatically takes out money from everyone`s account within the shared household.

User story

User stories helps me sum up my user`s pain in a clear format.
This helps everyone in the team to see the overall problem in
a clear way
, this will be handy when ideating new solutions.


 

As a lead tenant
I want a way of not nagging my house mates for money that they owe me.
So that I can feel relaxed, and in control of my finances.

 

User story:
 

3

Ideation

Now that I got to know my users and what they need, it is time to sketch out how square it can meet their goals, and how the layout of the design can be useful and easy to use. These sketches drive the design and idea to the best product it can be. Beneath we early designs and brainstorm ideas.

how she might set up a group for her house hold

log in and early home screen sketching

how square it and its ethos can meet the user's goals.

overview of groups

Overview of when money comes in and out of the bank account

creating a community or group

create community and visualize everyone in the household.

We believe these features will meet our users goals:

We want to introduce communities, we picked this name because a household is a community who should contribute equally. In this feature, we want to visualize every house member and how much they pay each month.

Give our users control, after all, it is their money. Achieving this can be done with the help of a notification hub, where expenses and income is tracked on the platform. 

We haven't forgotten one of our core pillars when developing this app, which is transparency. Our users would appreciate seeing how much money they are using on the platform month to month.

4

Solution

Site map

A sitemap is a great way to get an overview of the information on the platform and see how it all connects. Information structure and correct labeling of information are essential to forge good user experiences. This is a great blueprint when designing the user interface as well.

Wireframes

Now that I have gathered information about my users and what they want it is time to let this information help me make design desitions. This is where wireframes come in, this is a cheap and fast way to try out different solutions to the user's problem.

Home

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Create community&group

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Activities

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Your communities

Groups

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Create community 1

Create community 2

Transactions

User flow

User flow allows me to map out how much effort the user must go through to perform a task. I tend to do multiple flows throughout the design process, if a common task is done in more than three clicks, I might have to reconsider my design solution. Flows allow me to routinely check if the design solution meets users goals and see if my users are experiencing more pain than necessary.  

Goal: Start creating a community so everyone in the community can start paying their share.

style guide

When I feel that the design solution at hand solves and meets users pain and expectations it is time to design the user interface elements. 

Colors

Type

Form elements

Navigation

Buttons

Graphs

Communities

Groups

5

Testing

What do people think and feel about our idea? To get answers we had to ask the experts, which is our users. In this case, we did not test the user interface or the usability, but we tested the idea as a whole. Did we solve our user's problem?

The pitch

We decided to enter our idea to a local competition in Brighton, the competition is called "Local genius". It is hosted by Barclays which is one of the biggest banks in the UK. 

The Local genius competition is all about giving back to the local community. We felt like our idea was innovative and a fresh take on the current marketplace that needs change. Luckily this is what the judges and other users felt too, Barclays in Brighton crowned us the winner of the competition, this meant that we had the best idea out of the five other ideas. This gave us a spot in London. Where we pitched the Idea to the CEO of Barclays. Read more about our journey here.

Conclusion

It was amazing to see how design thinking could solve real problems for real people. We didn't know where to start when tackling this problem ahead, but thanks to the design process we were able to build empathy and have our users in the back of our mind throughout every decision. Which ultimately lead to a solution that resonated with so many users.

Let's have a chat about how design and empathy can make your users love your product.