introduction

purpose

this case study is an unsolicited redesign of the erie federal credit union mobile app


i examined design opportunities and offered solutions; that said, i have the most respect for the designer at the efcu and would like to redesign this solely for educational purposes


i’m also assuming in this case study that everything designed is feasible and that there is an appropriate amount of engineering resources to execute the project

business background

the erie federal credit union is a financial institution serving the erie and crawford pennsylvania communities with an asset size of $670M


it serves over 65,000 members and has been open since 1936

71% of banking customers now prefer multichanell interactions


source: mckinsey

25% want a fully digital enabled banking journey with access to remote human assistance


source: mckinsey

primary and secondary research

lack of satisfaction

local credit unions often do not have sufficient design resources (if at all), especially in the rust belt, where i’m from


both the web app and the mobile app violate multiple design principles. as a result, the app currently has a poor rating with <3 stars on average


how might we improve satisfaction of efcu’s mobile app?

secondary research: app store feedback

i kicked off my research with analyzing the user reviews below:

it seems that users


  1. cannot order checks; only the desktop application allows them to, yet this is a important need


  1. are not able to link Apple Pay to the credit union


  1. are unable to see card number unless they call customer support


4. find the sidebar to be confusing


  1. report a large number of bugs


  1. think that the app tricks them with features that don’t actually exist


  1. use other platforms like capital one that have functionality such as remembering passwords

core research: existing literature

background

since i wasn’t able to source actual users for this hypothetical project, i fortunately found (after searching through the depths of the internet for much, much longer than i’d like to admit) a pre-existing user research study


this was for a credit union also in western pennsylvania with an almost perfect match with efcu’s personas


here is some background about the mixed methods research for chrome federal credit union:

context for research

the ceo had a vision to rebrand the institution to boost business results


needed to fix outdated technology


ideas in focus was the agency tasked with researching and designing this project

methodology

defined users based on demographics, financial goals, products used, and tech used


in-depth interview: credit union members


online survey: 431 credit union members

similarities between chrome and efcu

location


customer base size and demographics (leans towards rural and old)


both focused on the need to research users with a focus on technology needs

personas

based on the research, i’ve crafted some personas so that i could better understand the target user groups and their frustrations, needs, and goals

Ellen

Retired



Cranberry, PA

Married

Female

60

Background

Ellen retired but still has debt to pay, after putting her children through college. She and her husband are not frugal but still check their accounts frequently

Goals

Enjoy life, rather than save as much as possible

Get quick answers to simple questions

Frustrations

Lives a very hectic life, so it’s difficult to make time for managing money

Bothered by frequent engagement and marketing

Needs

Not the most likely to adopt new technology and would appreciate simple apps

Prefers in branch interactions rather than technology

Better personal finance education

Beth

VP Marketing



Erie, PA

Married

Female

43

Background

Beth is a successful marketer and a mom who is very busy. She is smart about money and would like to save for her kids’ college tuition

Goals

Save money for the future

Use a wide variety of financial products so that she maximizes benefits

Explore products

Frustrations

Lacks time to go to the physical branch

Customer service is too slow

Forgets about payments due to busy lifestyle

Needs

Use the app to replace in person transactions or phone calls

Privacy and security

Easily access information on the app


unanswered questions

although this study provided information, there were still additional questions left unanswered:


which factors do you consider when deciding on whether or not to download the app?


what is your process for ordering a check?


what steps do you take to send money, receive money, and view transactions?


what is your biggest challenge when using technology to interact with your institution?

what are the most helpful and frustrating features on the app?


these insights would allow me to best understand how users currently use the app and what problems exist in the process


i would have also liked to have conducted usability testing on the current mobile app so that i could observe areas of improvement

user journey audit

information architecture issues

before redesigning the mobile app, i first audited some screens to note some positives and negatives


it seems that the current mobile app could improve upon its organization in the header. when users tap “more,” they get redirected to a payments transfer screen, which is not intuitive

cognitive load concerns

when users tap on the menu option, they see the following screen. it overwhelms them with too many options

the navigation bar is something unexpected because most systems include it in the home screen

prioritization

considerations

with the redesign, i wanted to make sure we continue to solve user needs when it comes to checking account balances, reviewing messages, making deposits, and making payments


however, i also designed a new feature, which is the ability to transfer money between accounts by first ordering a checkbook. since local credit unions serve many non-gen z customers, this is a feature that a large proportion of customers want that is available on the web app but not on mobile


i also prioritized designing an integration with apple pay, since customers specifically called out that functionality

solution brainstorm and evaluation

i then evaluated the ideas based on a number of factors so that i could focus on only prototyping the most important features, and leave out some additional ideas mentioned earlier in this case study for a version 2 redesign


in terms of defining stakeholder benefit, i like to think of it as how much the business can grow as a result of the new feature and how much partners would be interested in the feature. for engineering effort, i rated some of them as low because they’ve already been built in the current app

design

home

the home screen has a number of features that are easily accessible, such as the ability to make payments, review notifications, and enabling users to remember their debit card information. this is much less cluttered than the original ui

order a check

after users tap “order a check,” they’re prompted to confirm which account they’d like to order from, since sometimes users have multiple accounts

confirmation

after selecting the account, i decided that it makes the most sense to double check with users that they’re ordering the correct set, since sometimes numbers can get mixed up

visualization

similar to the web app, i provided a visualization of what the check would look like and prompted the user to fill in some details to go on there

customization

afterwards, the user also has the option to change details on the check. they then see the price of the check before they’re able to order

apple pay

in a number of different parts of the user journey, such as making a payment or ordering a check, integrating with apply pay is such an important solution

reflection

the final experience

after the redesign, users find it easier to make payments and access notifications. users can now easily locate their statements, account settings, and reach out to customer service directly on the navigation bar


the success of the redesign may be measured qualitatively by users' reactions to the new ui. ideally, users would feel comfortable and trust the platform more. this may result in more time spent on the mobile app and an increased interest in bringing their family and friends to the community

business goals

by including a referral program, which the majority of credit unions already have, we were able to design for growth and use technology to support marketing initiatives


by also allowing users to link the credit union to apple pay, we should see an increase in conversion when they make payments or order checks. providing users with their card number in case they forget on the home screen should also improve usage of credit union transactions


lastly, allowing users to order checks directly on their mobile devices should boost revenue, especially since users can order checks on amazon more easily and may be hesitant to use the credit union desktop app as an alternative

my challenges

this was my first redesign case study. a few of the key challenges i faced include:


understanding the information architecture

making significant alterations to the UI and thinking creatively

prioritizing features and designing almost entirely from scratch

additional thoughts

potential features

as new technical constraints, user concerns, and business goals are uncovered, the team at efcu can continue to identify areas of improvement. some ideas that add user value that i haven’t yet designed include:


map of branches and in-network ATMs

login history tracking

terms of use page

forms download

dashboard for rates

65000 users experience pain

through this exercise, i learned about the power of design and how much opportunity there is to advocate for a redesign that completely improves the ux and thus the overall business. so many users need to use this app frequently, yet they need to deal with the unideal experience and confusing user flows


i hope that more financial institutions can devote resources to design and make technology better for all of us

background

© made with crayons by al wang and a lot of help from mentors

introduction

purpose

this case study is an unsolicited redesign of the erie federal credit union mobile app


i examined design opportunities and offered solutions; that said, i have the most respect for the designer at the efcu and would like to redesign this solely for educational purposes


i’m also assuming in this case study that everything designed is feasible and that there is an appropriate amount of engineering resources to execute the project

business background

the erie federal credit union is a financial institution serving the erie and crawford pennsylvania communities with an asset size of $670M


it serves over 65,000 members and has been open since 1936

71% of banking customers now prefer multichanell interactions


source: mckinsey

25% want a fully digital enabled banking journey with access to remote human assistance


source: mckinsey

primary and secondary research

lack of satisfaction

local credit unions often do not have sufficient design resources (if at all), especially in the rust belt, where i’m from


both the web app and the mobile app violate multiple design principles. as a result, the app currently has a poor rating with <3 stars on average


how might we improve satisfaction of efcu’s mobile app?

secondary research: app store feedback

i kicked off my research with analyzing the user reviews and found the following takeaways:

it seems that users


cannot order checks; only the desktop application allows them to, yet this is a important need


are not able to link Apple Pay to the credit union


are unable to see card number unless they call customer support


find the sidebar to be confusing


report a large number of bugs


think that the app tricks them with features that don’t actually exist


use other platforms like capital one that have functionality such as remembering passwords

core research: existing literature

background

since i wasn’t able to source actual users for this hypothetical project, i fortunately found (after searching through the depths of the internet for much, much longer than i’d like to admit) a pre-existing user research study


this was for a credit union also in western pennsylvania with an almost perfect match with efcu’s personas


here is some background about the mixed methods research for chrome federal credit union:

personas

based on the research, i’ve crafted some personas so that i could better understand the target user groups and their frustrations, needs, and goals

unanswered questions

although this study provided information, there were still additional questions left unanswered:


which factors do you consider when deciding on whether or not to download the app?


what is your process for ordering a check?


what steps do you take to send money, receive money, and view transactions?


what is your biggest challenge when using technology to interact with your institution?

what are the most helpful and frustrating features on the app?


these insights would allow me to best understand how users currently use the app and what problems exist in the process


i would have also liked to have conducted usability testing on the current mobile app so that i could observe areas of improvement

user journey audit

information architecture issues

before redesigning the mobile app, i first audited some screens to note some positives and negatives


it seems that the current mobile app could improve upon its organization in the header. when users tap “more,” they get redirected to a payments transfer screen, which is not intuitive

cognitive load concerns

when users tap on the menu option, they see the following screen. it overwhelms them with too many options

the navigation bar is something unexpected because most systems include it in the home screen

prioritization

considerations

with the redesign, i wanted to make sure we continue to solve user needs when it comes to checking account balances, reviewing messages, making deposits, and making payments


however, i also designed a new feature, which is the ability to transfer money between accounts by first ordering a checkbook. since local credit unions serve many non-gen z customers, this is a feature that a large proportion of customers want that is available on the web app but not on mobile


i also prioritized designing an integration with apple pay, since customers specifically called out that functionality

solution brainstorm and evaluation

i then evaluated the ideas based on a number of factors so that i could focus on only prototyping the most important features, and leave out some additional ideas mentioned earlier in this case study for a version 2 redesign


in terms of defining stakeholder benefit, i like to think of it as how much the business can grow as a result of the new feature and how much partners would be interested in the feature. for engineering effort, i rated some of them as low because they’ve already been built in the current app

design

home

the home screen has a number of features that are easily accessible, such as the ability to make payments, review notifications, and enabling users to remember their debit card information. this is much less cluttered than the original ui

order a check

after users tap “order a check,” they’re prompted to confirm which account they’d like to order from, since sometimes users have multiple accounts

confirmation

after selecting the account, i decided that it makes the most sense to double check with users that they’re ordering the correct set, since sometimes numbers can get mixed up

visualization

similar to the web app, i provided a visualization of what the check would look like and prompted the user to fill in some details to go on there

customization

afterwards, the user also has the option to change details on the check. they then see the price of the check before they’re able to order

apple pay

in a number of different parts of the user journey, such as making a payment or ordering a check, integrating with apply pay is such an important solution

reflection

the final experience

after the redesign, users find it easier to make payments and access notifications. users can now easily locate their statements, account settings, and reach out to customer service directly on the navigation bar


the success of the redesign may be measured by the amount of new users onboarded, monthly active users per month to get a sense of engagement, and lastly the impact on revenue for monetization

business goals

by including a referral program, which the majority of credit unions already have, we were able to design for growth and use technology to support marketing initiatives


by also allowing users to link the credit union to apple pay, we should see an increase in conversion when they make payments or order checks. providing users with their card number in case they forget on the home screen should also improve usage of credit union transactions


lastly, allowing users to order checks directly on their mobile devices should boost revenue, especially since users can order checks on amazon more easily and may be hesitant to use the credit union desktop app as an alternative

my challenges

this was my first redesign case study. a few of the key challenges i faced include:


understanding the information architecture


making significant alterations to the UI and thinking creatively


prioritizing features and designing almost entirely from scratch

additional thoughts

potential features

as new technical constraints, user concerns, and business goals are uncovered, the team at efcu can continue to identify areas of improvement. some ideas that add user value that i haven’t yet designed include:


map of branches and in-network ATMs

login history tracking

terms of use page

forms download

dashboard for rates

advocate for the user

through this exercise, i learned about the power of design and how much opportunity there is to advocate for a redesign that completely improves the ux and thus the overall business. so many users need to use this app frequently, yet they need to deal with the unideal experience and confusing user flows


i hope that more financial institutions can devote resources to design and make technology better for all of us