Giving Users Guidance and Affirmation

Think-Out-Loud Usability Testing with V3

Last Sunday, I approached seven strangers at bars with the request to test my banking application project, which was then in its third stage of iteration. My testers thought out-loud through the test, giving me instinctive emotions and feedback as they set up a recurring payment and explored the application’s primary navigation structure. And, while the testers ranged from a mellow Sunday beer sipper to a rowdy visitor, certain critical obstacles within the application remained consistent. 

1. Consider the User’s Context

My first lesson came on the landing page for the Send Money menu item. I realized I was relying on users having knowledge about the features that I only had from studying my bank’s application and from designing this one. This first function selection caused users to pause and question their paths, rather than moving confidently into the correct feature.

Due to the recurring payment task, users wanted to go through Bill Pay rather than Quick Pay.
Due to the recurring payment task, users wanted to go through Bill Pay rather than Quick Pay.

2. Guide Users Through Foreign Workflows

My bank’s quick pay platform uses either a phone number or e-mail address to complete its delivery, so I included these two forms as options. I overlooked that fact that many users are not accustomed to mobile payment delivery through their banking application, and, without clear instructions, users questioned the purpose of the below screen.

Users were unclear on the purpose of this page, and many were not inclined to select a mobile number to proceed.
Users were unclear on the purpose of this page, and many were not inclined to select a mobile number to proceed.

 

3. Let Users Know they Have Made their Selection and Help Them Proceed

Throughout this form, I had tap-to-collapse interactions to bring users back to the main form page from each sub-category. These got users stuck often. The most frequent obstacle with this interaction came (unsurprisingly) with its first instance: the account selection.

Users felt stuck with the lack of selection affirmation and clear guide to their next step.
Users felt stuck with the lack of selection confirmation and clear guide to their next step.

 

Addressing the Information Architecture in V4

With my third iteration, I made a significant overhaul to my navigation and information housing. This week’s fourth iteration served well to test out the kinks and refine it. Primarily, I moved more frequently-used functions to the menu tab and housed the more secondary functions within these four homes. The current plan for the application is illustrated below.

My plan for the application's information layout as of 11/29
My plan for the application’s information layout as of 11/29

 

V4’s Look and Feel

In addition to refining the application’s information structure, I focused this week on guiding users clearly through filling out a form and making the experience visually compelling.

For the form, I experimented with a new, more condensed button layout, illustrated with the deposit flow attached below.

Deposit V4 Screens 1+2

Deposit V4 3+4Deposit V4 5+6Deposit V4 7+8Deposit V4 9+10Deposit V4 11+12

Moving Forward

I feel I am gaining some traction with the visuals, and my navigation is coming together. I plan to continue focusing on these elements in this next week, along with building out some of my more ancillary features.