Human-centered design meets banking app?

The past week we have been conducting “think aloud” user testing on our redesigned banking app wireframes. During this style of user testing, I quickly found that it is incredibly difficult for me to not answer questions or help the user as they proceed through the flow! Even when they muttered questions quietly to themselves, I had to restrain myself from offering words of encouragement or guidance. Instead, my duty was to continually ask the user to explain their actions and “think aloud” through their decision-making as they navigated through the wireframe flows.

Despite my personal challenges in keeping my support silent, this form of user testing illuminated a number of interesting design opportunities. For example, one user spoke aloud as he clicked down through the steps of filling in the required information to transfer money out of his bank account, and then when he reached the bottom of the workflow he expressed frustration at needing to jump up to the top right portion of the screen to “preview” his transfer. He said: “I had to click here, do a thing, click here, do a thing, click here, do a thing… and then go up here!” By moving the “Preview” button down below the required information areas, we could help to ensure a more consistent and intuitive experience as the user navigates down through the workflow.

Design for intuitive workflow in a logical profession
Design steps for intuitive workflow in a logical linear progression

Beyond these more technical design decisions, one of my favorite discoveries from user testing was the opportunity to recognize and design for human emotion. For example, while banking apps may seem dry, users may get nervous when pressing “Submit” on large transactions. I heard this sentiment from my users even though there was no actual money involved: that tendency to read over the final “Preview” page one extra time to ensure accuracy before taking the leap to click “Submit”.

Help users to celebrate milestones with your human-centered design
Help users celebrate milestones with human-centered design

By taking a page from Freddie‘s book, we can design for interactions that celebrate and reward the user to make even a banking app turn into a delightful human-centered design experience.