Unlike other design projects, clients who want designs for their financial technology ("fintech") businesses desire to have an efficient and easy-to-use product. The desired outcome is a lot less like fashion retailing apps and more focused on selling services.
However, this is only a fraction of what is required in any fintech-targeted UX design. This article presents recent trends that every UX designer who hopes to become a staple in the fintech industry must consider. This guide applies to UX/UI designs for all fintech applications – digital banking, e-wallets, betting apps, or online trading.
Designing an efficient application for a fintech team requires that you understand the basics of financial services. Creating the best UX designs for fintech apps takes a little more than expertise.
An easy way to set your work apart is to get yourself acquainted with the terms and mode of working in the financial industry. Either as a team member or contract staff, understanding the finance industry will help you navigate the complexities of designs that are usable and accessible.
For instance, understanding how the term “fees” are applied in various contexts and countries will give you an idea of designing the invoice section for the application.
Specific laws and regulations guide the finance industry in different countries. In most cases, designers feel they’re not affected by these laws and can design an app to their taste. However, this is not so.
For instance, in Australia and Scandinavian countries like Norway, it is legally required that private and public sectors satisfy the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0).
Similarly, if you’re designing an app that processes personal data for EU residents, you must satisfy the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), regardless of whether you’re designing the app within or outside the EU.
Research is a key aspect of UX design for any product. However, in the fintech industry, research can be extensive and expensive, especially since the projects are mostly across various governments and sectors. As a designer, sourcing data directly from the actual users of an application you’re trying to design can pose a big challenge.
Companies sometimes do not have the resources or willingness to carry out that amount of targeted research. However, newer trends have solved some of these challenges.
Because of the peculiarity of the finance industry, assumptions are inevitable. However, for whatever assumptions you are going to make, you must ensure that they are well-informed assumptions based on ideation techniques and modes of validating them. You must also set up standardized criteria to periodically evaluate your assumptions' success.
Fintech UX design relies heavily on data. The banking sector is highly regulated, meaning there are certain demands that can dictate the interface of your product.
For companies like TrabsferWise and other e-money providers, sourcing enough information from their clients is vital because they don’t have banking licenses. IMTOs also require several different forms of data needs which ultimately affects the experience design.
Staying abreast of these constantly-changing regulations allows you to keep up with what your application needs to serve its users. By doing this, you can eliminate irrelevancies from your designs and improve on aspects that meet the users’ needs.
With production teams evolving in styles, systems and job descriptions, it’s now trendy (and helpful) to have more than just the developers be a part of any UX design project.
Seeking the contribution of people outside your dev team will help give you a fresh perspective. Your immediate team members likely share the same vision — and maybe even the same biases — as you. Other departments or support staff may be able to offer insight that your experienced team can benefit from.
Whenever possible, involve new team members in your testing process because they can give you a fresh opinion, which is, in most cases, close to what an outsider will.
Designers always have to clarify user stories, system requirements, KPIs, metrics, and other information related to the project at hand. Getting feedback during the design process will also help you streamline your thinking process. Hence, it’s best if you kept the flow of communication active.
However, stakeholders are often very busy and sometimes impatient to give the designers detailed information. Ensuring a free communication flow is quite important to complete a project successfully. Designers must create and seize opportunities to communicate with all stakeholders involved in the design project.
To assist with this, we recommend that you specify a date when you'll be expecting feedback next time you're updating a stakeholder on a project. Doing this can help you as a designer and for everyone else working on the project.
You could also request to meet with the stakeholders; this way, they can include you in their schedule for the set date. During such meetings, you can explain how far you have gone with the project and get real-time feedback from them.
If you’re sending a document instead of meeting physically, it is highly recommended that you propose a date for a follow-up meeting with the stakeholders. At such meetings, you can clarify parts of the documents that weren’t quite understood and request suggestions on moving forward.
In essence, being a UX designer is not limited to handling the business of design; you should also manage the stakeholders involved in the design process.
In my years as a UX designer, I have realized that focusing your attention on the design project itself at the expense of the users can be a big design flaw. Without the users, the application you’re designing is useless.
Experts have predicted that Sweden will become the first country to operate a completely cashless economy by 2030. Therefore, it’s smart for UX designers working in countries like this to take advantage of the growing reliance on technology for financial transactions. In essence, FinTech UX designers should adopt more User-Centered Design thinking in their design process.
When designing for a fintech industry, keep in mind that different users have different permission levels they should enjoy on the app. As designers, it is your responsibility to know which app features should be made public and which ones should be hidden.
Be conscious of each user's roles and needs on the app. The designer should define the users' roles from the project's onset, and the complexity can be developed from there.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of an attractive and simple user interface in a design project. Fintech projects specifically require an extra level of effort in achieving a satisfying and fully functional design.
Fintech UX designers must never forget to apply the basic design elements – colors, alignment, space, dominance, and balance – appropriately. For instance, the app could display a credit alert on a green button and a debit alert on a red button.
Remember also that date formats, decimal numbers, account numbers, bank numbers, and currencies used in the design must be specific to the country of use. Generally, you can write one million as 1000000, but for the sake of clarity, it is preferable to write it as 1 000 000 or 1,000,000.
Take note of the date format acceptable in the area your design will be used. In Sweden, the national standard date format is “yyyy-mm-dd” while the textual format is “den, d mmmm yyyy." However, for cases where EU regulations are required, the international date format “dd,mm,yy(yy)” is used.
Adopting international date format ensures consistency, and anyone using the app can quickly identify which part of the date refers to the month, year, and day.
The fintech UX design industry is expanding, and designers cannot afford to be left behind. You must work on your skills to keep abreast of the changes. Working on the skills identified in this study will improve your chances of securing a fintech UX design job if you're interested and help you improve your work quality if you're already a part of the industry.