PNC Virtual Wallet: User Testing

Over the last few weeks, I have been investigating and redesigning my mobile bank app, Virtual Wallet by PNC Bank. After creating wireframes and concept maps of my redesigned product, I managed to coordinate several user testing sessions by leveraging friends to reach out to their friends. Prior to user testing, I revamped my designs adding some recommendations from last week’s critique. I worked to include more interstitial states as well as adding better navigation and ways to go back in the flow. The below are an example of added in between frames and addition of back buttons.

Mobile Check Deposit Wireframes Mobile Check Deposit cont


I conducted four user test sessions this past week and was able to run through three of my wireframe flows, Mobile Check Deposit, Set Up Notifications, and Pay a Friend. With just a handful of user tests, I was able to uncover some common pain points within the redesign. During these interviews, participants were asked to complete a specific task, like “Deposit a $50 check into you Spend account”. I followed a think aloud protocol, where participants were asked to share their thoughts aloud as they looked at the screens and made their decisions. This allowed me to get a feel for the participants thought process. I also watched their behavior and probed on certain actions. For instance if they were clicking a specific thing that wasn’t enabled, asking them what they would expect to happen there?

Through the user testing, I found several pain points that should be addressed. First, people do not use their banking app to pay friends. Most people use Venmo or Cash app. Several participants voiced concern that they would need to know their friends account or bank information (even though going through the flow you do not). Some worried what it would entail for the person on the other end. Would their friend have to fill out a big form? How would they receive the money? Would they be notified?

Leslie worries she will have to have her friend banking and account information to send them money.
Leslie worries she will have to have her friend’s banking and account information to send them money.

Going forward, I would add either information bubbles, demos, or a pop-up the first time you use the feature to better explain what it entails for the user and the friend they are paying.

Secondly, and specific to setting up a notification, people struggled to get to the Notifications and Alerts page. This was not an option on the Home page and people had to navigate through multiple menus to find the main Notifications page. People did not understand half of the options in the main menu and thought it seemed cluttered as they searched for notifications. All the participants said they went with their “best guess” as to which category it was housed in. In the short video clip below, you can see how long it took for one participant to go down the list of options and evaluate if Notifications and Alerts would be housed in one of those options. It took this participant over a full minute to look through and choose their “best guess.”


A potential solution for this pain point would be to eliminate some of the superfluous functions within the app. Several participants made a distinction between functions that they would use on their laptop, but not on their mobile device. Especially with savings and investment functions, they wanted to be at home making sure that they were engaged and thinking about these things and they did not think they were necessary functions to do on their mobile. In fact, they disliked that they were available on the mobile device.

The third major issue that user testing brought to light was the terminology that PNC Bank uses for their accounts. Their savings account is called ‘Growth’ and their checking account is broken into ‘Spend’ and ‘Reserve’. Every person that I interviewed did not understand these new terms and said that they were most familiar with just Checking and Savings. All of the participants thought that ‘Reserve’ was part of their savings account and that ‘Growth’ was for long-term or high interest investments. This is completely wrong, so in my redesign, I will change the terminology to reflect users desire to see terms they understand.

After testing with users,  I have redesigned the concept model to better reflect changes that I have made to the architecture. Below is the old and new concept map for PNC’s Virtual Wallet app.

Current concept map of PNC Bank's Virtual Wallet App
Current concept map of PNC Bank’s Virtual Wallet App



New Proposed Changes - PNC Virtual Wallet
New Proposed Changes – PNC Virtual Wallet

This new concept map incorporates and better illustrates the modular Home page as well as several of the core functions that were altered. The largest change that I made after my user testing was to the account names themselves, which I changed from ‘Growth’ to Savings and ‘Spend’ and ‘Reserve’ to Checking.

Based on the feedback from user testing, going forward, I intend make changes that include clarifying the ease of the Pay a Friend feature and what it entails for both parties, paring down features that people do not need or want on their mobile device to eliminate steps to higher value tasks, redefining terms for clarity around accounts (Checking and Savings), and including more explanatory features like information bubbles, first time use pop-ups, and defining text.