In the FinTech ecosystem, the end goal is to develop innovative products to help solve customer problems and offer an unparalleled user experience. As there is limited scope to differentiate the core features offered, businesses have now turned their attention towards the creation of a seamless, customised and intuitive workflow that minimises the time and efforts spent on executing a transaction. The role of a user interface (UI)/user experience (UX) designer has thus become pivotal.
UI/UX designers across the world are expected to adopt the principles of ‘design thinking’, which has evolved into concepts such as product design and business design. This approach assesses the business context and user state of mind to develop innovative solutions which go beyond the traditional mind-set of designing. At a FinTech firm, a UI/UX designer needs to be conscious of certain key dimensions while designing products.
Key considerations for designers at FinTechs
The first step is to grasp the differences between UI and UX. A great experience is not just about an attractive appearance. While a great UI helps make the product aesthetically appealing, the UX ensures a seamless end-to-end customer journey across intuitive screens.
As great design produces a tangible and visually appealing interface. Let’s consider the lifecycle of a hypothetical product to understand the job responsibilities of a UI/UX designer at each stage of development.
Consider a FinTech firm that specialises in offering credit facilities to students during their academic journey wants to tap the youth early and tap unconventional data sources to offer attractive educational loans.
Let’s now assess the activities of a UI/UX designer in the entire product journey.
The days of a UI/UX designer joining the project task force at a late stage and jumping directly into design are over. The UI/UX person now involves himself/herself at a very early stage in the product development lifecycle. S/he is expected to be a part of initial ‘ideation’ sessions to understand the critical business requirements. As per a PwC point of view, asking the right questions is critical to get meaningful insights.1
Asking the right questions upfront
The job of the designer becomes simpler once s/he gets these insights. We illustrate sample inputs in the current example of student loans.
Capturing business requirements
One of the key asks from the UI/UX designer is customer empathy—understanding the end user traits to provide a great transaction experience. The target segment in this case—students—is quite different from other users:
Understanding the end user persona
The third step is to conduct primary and secondary research across the market and within the organisation to check for existing offerings. This will serve as the foundation for the next stage of actual designing.
Conducting in-depth research
The next step involves creating the IA, which will determine the ingredients of the product. The missing piece in the puzzle will then lead to the final and most critical stage.
IA for design
A typical design undergoes multiple stages before it is finally handed over for development.
The end goal of designing is creating a data-driven story which the user will be ready to be a part of. A design is termed as great if it is able to communicate the idea and offering to end customers through a great storyline.
A great story is not built in one shot, but undergoes multiple phases and iterations. A few of these are shown below:
Steps in designing
The end product must capture the end-to-end journey of the student, spanning multiple stages:
Understanding the journey of the end consumer - students
Motivate students that test scores bring in more than just admission to a good college. Use innovative data points for credit rating at the back end.
Provide easy uploading option to proceed. Emphasise absence of manual work. At the back end, automated checking of college reputation and optical character recognition (OCR) reading of admission letters.
Again, motivate students to recommend the offering to others by visually displaying benefits in terms of lower interest rates, loyalty points, etc., in actual numbers.
Mobile solution to provide an end-to-end solution without the need to navigate to some other app.
Seamless integration with corporates for transferring loans and for a seamless and smooth transition to the corporate world.
Again, cash in on the motivation for users. Provide a complete interactive dashboard on how students can manage their finances.
End-to-end student journey for educational loan offerings
Thus, a UI/UX designer has to paint the story while addressing the requirements of all stakeholders along the way. Based on customer feedback, s/he needs to make changes quickly to suit their requirements.
To summarise, a successful UI/UX designer will need to ensure that the following checkboxes are ticked.
There are no specific academic or professional criteria for a UI/UX role. The person’s job is create great, sustainable experiences through seamless, smooth, intuitive workflows that are customised for the target audiences. The person needs to be cognisant of changing business needs and the level of customer tech-savviness to help the product remain relevant and contribute to the business growth of the FinTech.
Partner, India FinTech Leader, PwC India