MINT FAMILY & FRIENDS

I visualized the mobile user experience for Mint to facilitate group financial management.

 

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

Academic project for course Rapid Design for Slow Change. The Mint.com is a personal financial management service. We worked with Innovate Map, aiming at revitalize Mint with ideas to help it compete with the growing number of personal finance apps. 

MY ROLE

I participated in the research, problem solving, and was mainly responsible for interaction design, visual design and prototyping.
 

meet Mint Family & Friends  

 

Group financial management has never been easier.

THE PROBLEM 

 

Financial management for a group of people is a pain.  

Whether you are wondering about your family's expense, or your son's financial situation.

Whether you are having a trip with your firends, or sharing bills with your roommates.

We need an easy and centralized way to manage money with our family and friends. 

PLAY WITH IT

 

Click Through Prototype

 

By adding your family members, Mint Family & Friends allows you to access family's budgets all in one place. Easily view your family budgets and spendings.

 

 

All your family's budgets, in one convenient place.

Receive tips based on context and important events.

 

Mint knows when your loved one's birthday is coming up or when your kid is short of money, it provides the action right away.

 

Starting an event between a group of friends

 

Create an event and invite your friends. Keep track of payments, and never worry about the mess.

 

Transfer money effortlessly to your friends

 

Mint handles transactions and send money to your friends with ease.

 

Integration with the web experience

BEHIND THE DESIGN 

 

Story behind Mint Family & Friends

 

THE CHALLENGE 

 

Revitalize Mint with Compelling Ideas.

 

Mint allows you to track your financial status through automatically synchronizing with the paperless statement of bank account and generating monthly budget, so you do not need to manually input your transactions. However, it’s languished for too long and needs a boost to compete with the growing number of personal finance apps.

 

So, what are the pain points for Mint users?

USER INTERVIEWS

 

Group fianacial management is inconvenient.

 

First, we wanted to know more about Mint user to identify what are some of the problems and opportunities for Mint. We interviewed 3 Mint users to to understand their experience of using Mint. Questions we asked included but not limited to:

• How do they usually manage their finance?

• Why do they use a financial management tool like Mint?

• How often do they use a financial management tool to keep track of their expense?

• What factors people consider while managing their finance?

• What frustrations do people have while managing their finance?

 

Xiao

"My father is the main source of my finance and I need to continuously update him on my financial situation to let him know when I need more money. I really want to keep a good habit in budgeting by using Mint, but everytime I find something I really want to buy, I just forget about the whole budgeting thing, which is somehow frustrating."

Key Takeaways:

• Families cannot easily track expenses and budget their finances.

• Transferring money to another account is not centralized.

• Planning costs associated to an event, like traveling with friends, is challenging.

• Mint palys a passive way in saving habit forming.

“The auo-categorization of transactions can be more accurate. Sometimes I pay for the house rent and then my roommate will transfer his part to me. But Mint won't know the actual amount that I paid for my rent.”

Shawn

"Everytime I went travel with my friends, the budget become a pain. Since we are using cards from different banks, we have to use Venmo or Paypal to transfer money between each other."

Richard

 

So, how can we address those pain points?

IDEATION

 

Going Broad: Potential Design Directions

 

Taking what we found from our previous research, we started to explore different ideas by sketching. We clustered our ideas with Affinity Diagrams and started to form our potential directions, they are:

 

  • Collabrative budgeting among family members/ friends

  • Better ways to arouse awareness of overspending

  • Make transactions more contexual and meaningful 

 

 

 

Also, how can we help Mint compete with the market?

UNDERSTAND THE MARKET

 

Group finance can be the new opportunity. 

Among those directions we have, we really want to narrrow down to have an in-depth solution. When considering adding a new feature to a popular app like Mint, we also wanted to understand the finance app market, in order to identify opportunities and trends in this field, and potentially, learn from the pros and cons of competitors products. After the informal Competitive Analysis through web search, we found out there are already many options for finance management, such as LevelMoney , Acorns, YNAB, HomeBudget, Goodbudget, and so on. Most of the tools focused on personal level. Only few of them allow for sharing budget with others while the set-up process is complicated and the user experience is not fluent enough. 

THE VISIONING

 

"Sharing, Caring and Collaborative."

We discovered that there are lots of finance management apps but wasn’t perfect. They mostly focus on personal budgeting. It is all about the numbers. However expenses are not merely about just numbers, or a single person. It is about realizing the common goal with family members, saving money for girlfriend's birthday present, planning a trip with friends. When we spent money, we also shared love, fun and happiness with our family and friends. 

 

What if financial management could be more towards "sharing, caring and collaborative", instead of money oriented ?

 

What if it's a place offers a collabrative experience with more human interactions?

USER JOURNEY MAP

 

Map Out Essential Features

With our vision of creating a sharing, caring and collaborative experience for Mint, we created a feature list and prioritization, as well as developed a user journey map to map out essential features that enable users to accomplish each step. We also paid attention on incorporating these features into Mint current structure to avoid disrupting its previous user flow. 

 

 

BEHIND THE DESIGN

 

Wireframe: How to Fit into Mint Current Structure?

One of the biggest challenges during our design was that how to fit those new features into Mint current structure, without disrupting its previous user flow? In charge of wireframing, what I did was analyzing Mint current structure, evaluating where we can potentially put new functions in, and showing our initial wireframes to Mint users and teammates for feedbacks.

 

Sample Wireframes: Create Events with Friends 

REFLECTION

 

Balance between User Needs and Market Opportunities

The way we chose our design directions was based off both user needs and the comprting market. During the process I realized the importance of being able to see the big picture. With our vision of creating a collaborative, sharing, caring experience for Mint, we were able to make informed decisions.  

 

We also thought through some potential concerns with our design. One discussion we had was the privacy issue: Is it okay for kids to see parents spending and budgeting? Do you want your spouse to see every details of your spending? We thought that set levels of access permission to differnt member would be a way to resolve the concern.

 

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