After cooperating with a digital financial project for a year, we learned how human-centered design can impact a business. At the same time, we wanted to offer a tool for financial inclusion, in this case, for more than half the economically active population of Argentina. If we understand the motivations and obstacles that an unbanked person goes through, then we get the chance to improve their experience. How can we do so?
Developing Objective and Accurate Features
Depending on the business objectives, we will address different types of users.
- If our goal is to narrow the financial inclusion gap, then we know that we should start by finding out more about those people that never had access to a bank account, whatever the reason.
- If the business objective entails being an innovative proposal among the existing ones, then we know we should research contexts in which people already have some knowledge and their expectations are different.
It’s possible that, in the research process, we find patterns of shared needs between different types of users, but if we get to know their differences in motivation, we have a better understanding to put into use when thinking of solutions.
Empathizing allows us to focus on users’ needs, prioritize them and create a roadmap of features to be designed and developed at a later stage. Validation through UX research techniques can help us avoid having to rework on a feature that took months to develop. While we go through these processes, proposals are validated as if they were hypothesis; as such, they don’t become outdated while in development if they don’t meet users’ expectations, thus causing them to choose a more efficient option.
Being objective with our solution proposals is beneficial for the business but also for the user, and it’s even motivating for the people who take part in the whole development process, since there won’t be so much uncertainty when the time comes to take these proposals to production.
Transparency and Trust as Competitive Advantage
Another benefit of using Design Thinking methodologies is that we’re able to develop solutions that traditional banks don’t offer. We mustn’t forget these institutions are generally focused on their business, and access to their products tends to be more of an inconvenience that anything else. The fact is that 78% of unbanked people don’t trust banking products. With that information in mind, and using different research and validation techniques, we could even figure out how to create a transparent relationship with the client, so that they know their money will be safe in every circumstance and that they might get access to a loan faster and without so many prerequisites.
Nowadays, according to results from D’alerio IROL consulting firm, 20% of unbanked people have already tried a prepaid card. Its accessibility and its different uses (Internet server payment, online purchases, and decrease in the use of cash) make people choose this type of solutions, which become a link to other products offered by Digital-First companies.
Another difference between FinTech companies and traditional banks lies in the points of contact. The fact that these companies don’t have local branches and they make paperwork easier on the phone possibly changes people’s perception when interacting with a banking entity. The challenge would be to keep these channels available and make them simple, as well as promoting self-service procedures thanks to its ease of use.
Reducing the Learning Curve in an Unknown World: The Financial World
The financial world is complex and that’s actually one of the reasons why the average user is reluctant to get its products, besides lack of trust. That’s why, from UX, it’s vital to make these complexities, which are inherent to the financial system, seem friendly and accessible, bridging the gap between the product and the user’s mindset.
The purpose of FinTech companies seems to be always the same: ease of use for all the operations. And for that, we need to take into account two things:
- Know what the user wishes and what they expect to see on screen.
- Always remember the importance of financial data. The sensitivity of this type of data will shape interactions with the user, because we want to avoid accidental interactions.
But, how can we achieve ease of use for a FinTech product as well as educate the user while they’re using it? The answer is “content”.
Human beings discover the world through metaphors and stories: a good story enthralls us, more so when it appeals to our emotions, making it more memorable. Knowing the context in which a FinTech product is used allows us to create an effective narrative, in which the user feels comfortable with what they read and with the actions they’re asked to perform; over time, this creates more product engagement. In order to do so, we need to remember to:
- Develop a story in which the actions seem natural for the user. That’s a way to keep them company, ensuring safety and autonomy all throughout the process, although we mustn’t lose sight of security.
- Generate some friction so as to mitigate user errors and promote trust. All stories have a moment of tension and, when it comes to a FinTech product, that moment would be the crucial moment in which a transaction is made. That’s when, using our content, we need to ask the user for a bigger effort in order to prevent errors.
- Use familiar language with which the user feels identified will also work in favor of learning and trust.
- Safeguard the amount of information shown on each stage: there will be moments in which information will be more comprehensive due to the nature of the procedure (for example, the details of a bank transaction). However, when transferring money, we can just ask some simple questions that will help the user focus on the action: who will receive the money, how much and why. These decisions have an enormous impact on the length of the flow: it can be lengthier, but it mitigates dropouts and errors.
We can see how N26 uses double confirmation to withdraw money. This additional step lets the user know that the action about to be performed cannot be canceled and, in doing so, it helps prevent an error on the side of the user.
All these elements help build a great story that can connect the user with the product, helping them getting involved in the processes and tasks to be developed, but making them feel natural, not tedious or unsafe.
In Argentina, access to the financial world is new for many people, and the business strategies must be centered precisely on those people. That’s why UX is a big ally to embark on a learning journey and to transform ideas into solutions.