For this project, I designed a prototype for a money management app geared toward college students. My partners and I decided to make an app that would encourage the user to make less spontaneous purchases and learn to plan for the future. The features of our app include inputing single item purchases, categorizing large multi-item purchases, setting goals to save money, and predicting future spending based on previously input data. Essentially, we were tasked with designing an app were the user needed to learn through recommendations and be encouraged to use the app consistently.
It was very challenging to not only design the physical layout of the app but also come up with the features within the app in only a months time. The parameters of the project included that the app contain some sort of feature that allowed the user to save money, categorize their purchases, and learn from their previous spending behavior. We were challenged with thinking outside of the box and coming up with features that were different than what could be found on apps that already exist. It was also challenging to design a layout and icons that would be easy for the user to use with little to no instructions. Essentially, this project challenged our ability to create a user experience and interface using our design knowledge (and mostly our personal experiences) in a short amount of time.
We decided to draw from our personal experiences and think about our own spending habits. We concluded that most college students have to spend money on rent, school supplies, and food. These types of purchases are definitely essential so we needed to dig deeper to think about what types of purchases college students should be eliminating. We came to the conclusion that spontaneous spending would be our target focus. We felt that despite college students not having much money, we have all bought a cup of coffee, a random bottle of lotion, or maybe even a new pair of shoes just because we were bored. Rather than categorizing purchases based on bills, groceries, entertainment, etc., the app would categorize the user's spending based on spontaneous and planned purchases.
If the user knew they wanted to go to a concert in the future, they could set a goal to save money for that concert. We didn't want the user to be penalized for purchasing something other than essential items, so as long as they plan out their nonessential purchases the app would reward them. This allows the user to still purchase items that wouldn't normally be seen as essential without feeling guilty and thus they would be encouraged to continue using the app. Overall, we felt that a user would learn to save money if they had to cut back on spontaneous spending. Click this link to open a more detailed presentation about the features of the app.