Iteration 3 of the VCU App

For my third iteration of the Velocity Credit Union banking app, I changed up my usability testing methodology.

Not entirely – I still used the Think Aloud Protocol, which calls for users to literally say out loud what they are thinking as they accomplish a task. Studies have shown that though thinking aloud slows down users, it does not alter their choices as they accomplish a task. In other words, you can get an accurate picture of the choices people would make while doing a task even if you have them say their thoughts out loud the whole time. This is great for designers in that it allows us to get a lot of insight into where our designs are confusing or annoying people.

The other advantage of Think Aloud Protocol is that it is gentle on the wallet: you can get substantive results after testing with 5 users, and your returns (in terms of new information) diminish sharply after 10 users.

I did change my technique this week in that I organized my screens in a much simpler way, which allowed me to take better notes as people were testing out my app. This gave me much better results as I was able to ask my participants about their moments of confusion after they completed the tasks rather than having to piece together what was happening from my audio recordings.

The tasks I had my users test out were paying a bill to a saved payee, paying a bill to a new payee, paying a friend back for pizza, transferring money from your savings to your checking account, and setting up a recurring transfer.

As a result of my usability testing, I learned about quite a few problems with my VCU app. Here were the top three:

1. Poor Proximity and Visibility of the “Make a Recurring Transfer” Option

“I hit the 15th. How do I make it recurring?”


  • Users did not notice the small “Make this a recurring transfer” option on the main page.
  • Even if they did notice, they first clicked on the calendar icon and selected a date.
  • All users expressed that they wanted to be able to make payments recurring from the calendar screen without having to navigate back to Screen 6 of the Transfer Money Between Accounts Flow.

Recommendation for Fix:

  • Enhance the visibility of the “Make this a recurring transfer” box by making the text larger and checkbox larger.
  • Enhance its proximity to the date selection feature by placing it on the same screen as the calendar image.

Here’s what changed:

Transfer Flow, Iteration 2

Transfer Bad Version

Transfer Flow, Iteration 3

Transfer Good Version

2. Poor Mapping of the Person to Person Search Option

“Was John Smith already on the list?”


  • Users’ first instinct was to click the “Invite a Friend” button rather than searching among the saved contacts.

Recommendation for Fix:

  • Remove the “Invite a Friend” option from Screen 3 of the Person to Person flows, so users are forced to search among saved contacts first.
  • Instead, show the “Invite a Friend” option on the search results page so that users turn to that option only if their initial search does not turn up the person they were looking for.
  • Change the heading of the Saved Contacts list from “Saved” to “Contacts” to better suggest that the list includes all your contacts, not just people you’ve entered into this system manually.

Request Money from a Friend Flow, Iteration 2

Request Friend Bad

Request Money from a Friend Flow, Iteration 3

Request Friend Good


3. Search Results in Bill Pay Flow Do Not Appear Clickable

“Do I click on Search again? ”


  • Users found the payees they wanted in the Bill Pay flow, but then did not know what to do.
  • The current signifiers that the search results are clickable are insufficient.

Recommendation for Fix:

  • Add a chevron shape to each search result

Bill Pay Flow, Iteration 2

Bill Pay Bad

Bill Pay Flow, Iteration 3

Bill Pay Good


Other Flows

Those were the big shifts, but I also created or revised a number of other flows this week:

Set Up a Weekly Transfer Flow

Set Up Weekly Transfer

Set up a Biweekly Transfer Flow

Set Up Biweekly Transfer

Withdrawal Limit Charge

Withdrawal Limit Charge

Transfer Add Memo Flow

Transfer Add Memo Flow

Deposit Check Flow

Deposit Check Flow


I also revised my VCU concept model to reflect the changes in the information architecture of my app.


Asset 2

Tune in next week for Iteration 4.