Boon

Blockchain Remit App
Overview

After learning about Blockchain technology and its many applications, I grew interested in its role in Fintech or financial technology, particularly in remittances. I set out to design the UX and UI for a Mobile wallet for Oversea Contract workers that they could use to send money transfers across borders.

The initial goal was to design a wallet app but the challenge that arose became helpign users grasp the concept of blockchain in a way that would allow them to build trust in the product.

Role

Feb 2020 - Mar 2020

Lead Designer

User research, Information architecture, Visual design, Copywriting, Prototyping and testing

Tools used:

Sketch, Invision, Excel, Pen & paper

The blockchain will do to the financial system what the internet did to the media.” - Harvard Business Review


BACKGROUND

Remittance

The transfer of money, often by a foreign worker to an individual in their home country.

For many third-world countries, they make up one of the largest financial inflows. Traditionally, money transfers take place between financial institutions, like banks, and often incur multiple fees, reveal security holes and have generally slow processing times. 


A Challenger appears

In the last decade, a big disrupter for this industry emerged that allowed for faster processing, a more secure network, lower fees and the reduction of middlemen. How was this possible?

With Blockchain!

That and cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

With crypto and blockchain working in conjunction, the issues with fiat currency transfers were virtually resolved. Though cryptocurrency is still in its early stages, the proof of concept is solid and the pros (so far) outweigh the cons. If ever there was an app that could replace current remittance services, it would use blockchain. 


THE BRIEF

From March to April 2020, I decided to design a remittance app that would have integrated blockchain and ensure it was intuitive for newer users of the technology. I would call this app Boon.


Finding stakeholders

It’s difficult to pull the demographic for money transfer users, but it's a fact that the leading recipients of remittances live in the top 3 developing countries: India, China and the Philippines. That said, a user group of that ethnic background and experience in sending money would be very valuable. Luckily, coming from a largely Filipino family, I was able to talk with family friends and relatives who had used services like Western Union and Xoom. In addition, I compiled the most consistent complaints users had with two other prominent operators of the remittance industry, MoneyGram and TransferWise.


Pain points discovered:

⁃ Slow transfer process (up to 7 days)

⁃ Transfer issues (slow refund/money frozen in escrow)

⁃ Security flaws (money stolen or system hacked)

⁃ Inconsistent tracking (no notifications or alerts)

⁃ High fees


In short, users wanted to know their loved ones were being taken care of and receiving the amount closest to what was intended. They don’t want to feel at the mercy of a service they see as their only method of delivery.


Unfortunately, from a UX standpoint, these issues were with the service, not the apps themselves. With that, I saw an opportunity to start fresh and create an app that used known usability heuristics and really sell the user on the blockchain. In another round of interviews where I introduced the idea of using cryptocurrency, most of the users were skeptical to say the least. I, having limited knowledge of the technology, could not answer all their questions but was able to give a layman’s summary and walked them through the process I was hypothesizing.


Bold of you to assume I've heard of this

Let’s be real, a third of the people reading this probably have little to no knowledge of how blockchain or cryptocurrency works. To be fair, I educated myself on the technology only prior to starting this project just to be sure I could communicate it properly. From my research, I found the majority of cryptocurrency owners were caucasian males in their late 20’s, so it’s safe to say our target audience, users from developing countries, would need more simplified, relatable copywriting to better grasp the concepts presented. 

THE PERSONA

I created a user and experience map based off the interviews I performed and statistics I pulled about current Oversea Contract Workers

With the user research done, I set out to tackle the major usability issues:



Widgets to Wallet

The initial designs had CTA cards taking the majority of space on the home screen. But, after consulting the user group and realigning with business goals, I found it best to imagine the layout as a wallet; though the app is a channel by which the user moves money, we want to encourage the storage of currency on the app itself. This revelation evolved into having the wallet’s assets being visible on the home screen; like someone opening their wallet.

The Missing Piece

On one end of the age range for the user group, those 40+, who had little experience with digital wallets, the task of sending money was initially difficult to wrap their heads around. Sure, they could see the amount of money within the wallet, but if they wanted to use a bank transfer, it was important they see all fees involved in order to keep the amount sent as close to the intended amount as possible. This led me to include an onboarding flow that walks first-time users through the two main functions of the app, receiving and/or adding money, or sending money.




Branding


In the process of falling down the rabbit hole of finding brand names and colors, I came out the other end with the app name: Boon - a thing that is helpful or beneficial. Much like how an oversea worker’s wages are highly beneficial and helpful for their household back home. Plus, I could derive a color palette from a...baboon. It just so happens boon is nested in the word, baboon, okay?


And we're off to the races


This was a fun independent project that certainly tested my knowledge and allowed me to hone my design process. Next steps would probably be to create a working prototype for user testing and work on the next iteration and the next one and the next one...

The blockchain will do to the financial system what the internet did to the media.” - Harvard Business Review


BACKGROUND

Remittance

The transfer of money, often by a foreign worker to an individual in their home country.

For many third-world countries, they make up one of the largest financial inflows. Traditionally, money transfers take place between financial institutions, like banks, and often incur multiple fees, reveal security holes and have generally slow processing times. 


A Challenger appears

In the last decade, a big disrupter for this industry emerged that allowed for faster processing, a more secure network, lower fees and the reduction of middlemen. How was this possible?

With Blockchain!

That and cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

With crypto and blockchain working in conjunction, the issues with fiat currency transfers were virtually resolved. Though cryptocurrency is still in its early stages, the proof of concept is solid and the pros (so far) outweigh the cons. If ever there was an app that could replace current remittance services, it would use blockchain. 


THE BRIEF

From March to April 2020, I decided to design a remittance app that would have integrated blockchain and ensure it was intuitive for newer users of the technology. I would call this app Boon.


Finding stakeholders

It’s difficult to pull the demographic for money transfer users, but it's a fact that the leading recipients of remittances live in the top 3 developing countries: India, China and the Philippines. That said, a user group of that ethnic background and experience in sending money would be very valuable. Luckily, coming from a largely Filipino family, I was able to talk with family friends and relatives who had used services like Western Union and Xoom. In addition, I compiled the most consistent complaints users had with two other prominent operators of the remittance industry, MoneyGram and TransferWise.


Pain points discovered:

⁃ Slow transfer process (up to 7 days)

⁃ Transfer issues (slow refund/money frozen in escrow)

⁃ Security flaws (money stolen or system hacked)

⁃ Inconsistent tracking (no notifications or alerts)

⁃ High fees


In short, users wanted to know their loved ones were being taken care of and receiving the amount closest to what was intended. They don’t want to feel at the mercy of a service they see as their only method of delivery.


Unfortunately, from a UX standpoint, these issues were with the service, not the apps themselves. With that, I saw an opportunity to start fresh and create an app that used known usability heuristics and really sell the user on the blockchain. In another round of interviews where I introduced the idea of using cryptocurrency, most of the users were skeptical to say the least. I, having limited knowledge of the technology, could not answer all their questions but was able to give a layman’s summary and walked them through the process I was hypothesizing.


Bold of you to assume I've heard of this

Let’s be real, a third of the people reading this probably have little to no knowledge of how blockchain or cryptocurrency works. To be fair, I educated myself on the technology only prior to starting this project just to be sure I could communicate it properly. From my research, I found the majority of cryptocurrency owners were caucasian males in their late 20’s, so it’s safe to say our target audience, users from developing countries, would need more simplified, relatable copywriting to better grasp the concepts presented. 

THE PERSONA

I created a user and experience map based off the interviews I performed and statistics I pulled about current Oversea Contract Workers

With the user research done, I set out to tackle the major usability issues:



Widgets to Wallet

The initial designs had CTA cards taking the majority of space on the home screen. But, after consulting the user group and realigning with business goals, I found it best to imagine the layout as a wallet; though the app is a channel by which the user moves money, we want to encourage the storage of currency on the app itself. This revelation evolved into having the wallet’s assets being visible on the home screen; like someone opening their wallet.

The Missing Piece

On one end of the age range for the user group, those 40+, who had little experience with digital wallets, the task of sending money was initially difficult to wrap their heads around. Sure, they could see the amount of money within the wallet, but if they wanted to use a bank transfer, it was important they see all fees involved in order to keep the amount sent as close to the intended amount as possible. This led me to include an onboarding flow that walks first-time users through the two main functions of the app, receiving and/or adding money, or sending money.




Branding


In the process of falling down the rabbit hole of finding brand names and colors, I came out the other end with the app name: Boon - a thing that is helpful or beneficial. Much like how an oversea worker’s wages are highly beneficial and helpful for their household back home. Plus, I could derive a color palette from a...baboon. It just so happens boon is nested in the word, baboon, okay?


And we're off to the races


This was a fun independent project that certainly tested my knowledge and allowed me to hone my design process. Next steps would probably be to create a working prototype for user testing and work on the next iteration and the next one and the next one...

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