Nudging towards the future

Designing a financial app for people living in the now

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A graduation opportunity was given by the start-up Buyproxy who are developing a financial app. The assignment was formulated as designing a user centered solution for the application, focussing on user engagement, to trigger the desired behavior change.

Based on user research within the analysis phase, it was concluded that there are four kinds of origins for financial problems: Lack of financial education, abrupt change, living in the now and yearn to belong. It was decided to focus on only one origin for the this project which resulted in millennials who are living in the now as the target group. Among other things, this group is characterized by yearning for instant gratification.

A small research on their spending behaviour showed that feeling overconfident and misinterpretation of one’s balance leads to various ways of overspending. Therefore a design goal was formulated which would serve as the foundation for the creative process:

“I want people to feel self-conscious and composed while spending money and/or making financial decisions”.

As a result from several design and research activities, it was decided to revolve the design concept around strengthening delayed gratification as opposed to instant gratification.

The challenge was in doing this without trying to change the users’ lifestyle completely. The new design guides the user to shortly engage with creating future visions and reminds him/her of them while using the app (Flashforwards), in order to convey financially effective decisions. The main functionality of Buyproxy’s app namely, budgeting is now served as a tool instead of the main focus of the app. Throughout the entire experience of using the app, it aims to influence the decisions of the user without imposing limitations or rules. In addition, the concept contains usability adjustments mostly for using budgets and doing payments, which are more tailored to the behavior of the target group.

In more detail, the solution entails a budgeting system that is optimized for millennials living in the now. Particular in-app and automated actions trigger a Flashforward to appear. Besides the visual reminder of the future self, they also show financial feedback to encourage the user to make the right financial decisions.

Based on the results from an evaluation test it can be concluded that the main functions and interactions of the new design, concerning budgeting, are an improvement of the current app and relevant for the targeted user.