Simplifying Features to Prioritize Value
Contextualizing my Application Sizing
Earlier this quarter, I met with a developer to estimate how long my banking application design would take to build.
With development sizing information, I dug back into my wireframes to evaluate what features are essential to delivering the core value of my product.
I then combined the details of the wireframes with externalizing the high-level priorities of the app. Together, these approaches drove the creation of my product roadmap, which communicates my development sequence and strategy.
Outlining my Product’s Priorities
When going into the prioritization process, I found it important to remind myself and highlight what value I aspire to deliver with this app. These pillars are simplicity, security, and inclusivity.
Most banking apps have way too many options – as a designer, I should take a stance and make certain decisions for users, like the few types of alerts a user can choose to create.
When people get on their mobile banking apps, their goals center around convenience and efficiency. I want to quiet the clutter so users can complete their task, then hop off.
When researching barriers to mobile banking, security rose as the most striking concern. In 2016, The Federal Reserve ran a study where 73% of non-mobile bankers said security concerns are a key reason they do not bank through a mobile device.
Additionally, a FICO study found that 44% of US consumers rate identity theft and banking fraud as their biggest concern in life.
Source: American Banker
Designing an application with security top-of-mind will help the application provide comfort and ease to users – particularly users who may not engage otherwise.
I want this application to feel natural and breezy to more than just native English speakers in the United States. We have the potential to create something valuable to many more people. I kept this in mind while designing, and it will come into play via internationalization on the roadmap.
The Externalization Process
To get an idea of the entire picture at once, I wrote each flow on a purple post-it, and then I wrote out all additional pieces on green post-its. Then, I kicked into (de)generative mode and explored ways I could potentially get rid of each flow. The good ideas made it up in the form of the yellow post-its, along with some notes reminding myself of certain features’ importance. This activity helped illuminate what to start pruning away.
- Create account
- This can be housed on the bank’s website, simplifying the login process
- View transfer history
- View deposit history
- Both these transaction types can be viewed from the searchable transaction lists in Accounts
- Set up a recurring payment in Zelle
- Zelle is a quick pay platform. People are not as likely to have recurring payments through Zelle, versus bill pay and sending money to an account
We narrowed flows; now let’s address function
With the flows prioritized, I looked into Sketch to see how I might reduce some man-days off of my key flows’ estimates.
In revisiting the details of my wireframes and questioning their necessity, I found a handful of opportunities to further simplify my designs by removing one inessential element of a flow. All the 1-2 day savings add up, like with the example below.
With Zelle, a friend can easily ask or look up their friend’s phone number or email address. People are not demotivated by having to add it in themselves, so this feels like time well-saved to not develop this feature now.
The Product Roadmap
All this pruning and re-designing yielded what you’ve all been reading for: the product roadmap. Flows are prioritized based on the value delivered on my three pillars (simplicity, security, and inclusiveness).
As mentioned previously, internationalization will be a driving foundation of this project. My developer estimates about 15% extra work on top of the total. To be conservative, I scheduled every week as a 4-day week, providing some buffer and some time for my developers to execute to their fullest.
What’s Coming Up
The roadmap felt like it came together quite easily once I had my priorities sitting on the wall in front of me. I want to continue to externalize data as I navigate new systems and refine these frames.
Next week, we will be taking our roadmaps and developing a “feature brief,” which is designed to bring high-level stakeholders on board for your vision. I will pull from this week’s material, while continuing to explore how I might bring empathy further into the discussion.
My comprehensive set of edited wireframes live here.
The full Excel version of my roadmap lives here.