9 reasons why fintech apps are so hard to design

YND Team
Published on:
February 14, 2019

The value of Fintech market is predicted to reach $46 billion in 2020, which means that the demand for fintech apps will grow exponentially and the days of underestimating UX and UI design are over. An immersive user experience is as much of a competitive advantage as the technological aspects of those apps, such as safety mechanisms and payment processing. There are many reasons why creating an outstanding fintech app isn’t so easy to design. We've rounded up the nine most common challenges you have to be aware of during the design process.

Reason 1: UX complexity

One of the common mistakes app designers make is that they assume that what’s intuitive for them will be intuitive for the user. This might not always be the case, especially when you’re working on an app for users that have different levels of experience with technology. What might be perfectly easy for tech-savvy users might discourage those who need more time to process the specifics of technologies they interact with.

Designers operate in a detail-oriented world. So when you’re designing a fintech app that deals with users’ money, there’s no place for confusing features and shortcomings. The solutions you deliver should be as simple as possible and as polished as possible.

Reason 2: User data management

The fundamentals of good mobile app design say: only ask as much input as you need at that particular moment. Asking too much at once often discourages users. But what if you’re asking too much (compared with other less demanding apps)? Sometimes you have no choice due to legal regulations and, let’s be honest, you don’t want to undermine them.

Fintech app designers resort to different solutions in such cases. You can include explanations why using the app requires certain data or break down the forms into a couple of steps. No matter which solution you choose, it poses another challenge within itself: creating clear, user-friendly instructions.

Reason 3: Security

A crucial part of fintech app development is resolving sensitive problems in which failure is not an option: unauthorised access to user data and, as a result, fraudulent activity. Out of the available security solutions, such as magic links, SMS or biometric authentication, the security experts will pick the most appropriate ones for particular levels of data sensitivity. Let’s say that for fintech apps, one of the designer’s challenges involves making these “obstacles” as unobtrusive as possible.

Reason 4: Accessibility

It’s highly possible that your fintech app has a user group you haven’t thought of; users with disabilities. In the era of assistive technologies going mainstream, it’s time to ditch old excuses and add accessibility to the equation of top quality design. If mobile-first has become a standard in web design, why wouldn’t accessibility-first become a universal approach for all apps – web and mobile?

Reason 5: Optimise the onboarding process

This may sound absurd to you, but imagine that you are your app. You’re offering a service to a potential customer. There’s a lot you need say to onboard them properly. How would you approach this conversation? What would be your way to keep the user’s attention on what you’re saying?

The first thing is you need to realise that “give me your sensitive data” is not a great conversation starter. Neither does it create a safe space for further contact. Building trust and a positive relationship with users starts from the very first impressions. Demonstrating the benefits of the app and engaging the user into interaction will create a much more relaxing atmosphere and keep attention away from the less pleasant part.

Reason 6: Money and emotions

“Money does not buy you happiness, but lack of money certainly buys you misery.” – Daniel Kahneman perfectly described the real way people feel about money. The word feel is key.

That’s the way human brains work – without emotions, we would feel permanently overwhelmed by the amount of information that surrounds us every day. When designing any mobile app, the secret to understanding the user lies not only in understanding their logical actions but also feelings.

Reason 7: Presenting data

Not all people feel comfortable when dealing with numbers. Some people hate to interact with them and want to limit it to a minimum. In this case, your challenge will be to create an enjoyable interface no matter how digit-oriented the user is. This requires answering a few questions:

  • How can you transform numbers into a visually attractive form?
  • What does the user need to know from the chart they see?
  • Can you personalise the app view or let users customise it?

In the case of mobile apps, drawing charts and tables is not just a matter of reflecting numbers in a different way. The choice of color palette, font parameters, use of white space and other aspects of visual design will strongly affect the way users feel about the app and about their money. With great power comes great responsibility.

Reason 8: Money talks

How often do you need to learn the language of the industry you’re going to work for? It’s crucial to understand the terminology and jargon in order to become familiar with the app’s purpose and goals. However, the users of the app may have different levels of competence in this matter.

Let’s go back to our thoughts on motivation and problem solving in product design. If the app is supposed to make the user’s life easier, raising the level of difficulty in language can limit the ability of the user to benefit from all the features your app offers. Keep the right balance between presenting all necessary aspects of the app and doing it in simple language.

Reason 9: All the numbers in the world

We’ve already touched the topic of text parameters if your app, but there’s more to it.

Data related to finance requires special attention in terms of formatting:

  • Numbers and fractions display mode You don’t want to worry your user by presenting their account balance with a wrong punctuation mark, e.g. 2,000 instead of 2.000.
  • Date and time formatting 9/2/2018 will mean something completely different for Americans and Italians.
  • Currency rates and the number of digits Check out the exchange rate of the Ukrainian hryvnia and you’ll understand.
  • Currency symbols The font you choose should display all of them.

You need to see numbers from a different, global perspective to have all these features covered.

Final thoughts

Fintech apps contain a certain paradox inside them - they connect the “hard” matter of money with the “soft” matter of human emotions. The challenge for UX and UI designers is to help users overcome the difficulties in finance management by building trust with the user. The foundation for this trust will be the ability to solve their problem in the simplest and quickest way possible. Of course, there are more than nine reasons why designing a fintech app is hard, but I hope this list will help you develop an effective approach to fintech app design. Good luck!

This post was written by Agnieszka Bratek, one of YND’s Senior Product Designers. Together with YND’s design team, she’s helped companies successfully launch apps across various industries: from mobile payment, finance management, travel booking to E-commerce. In need of some brain power? Reach out to us via hello@ynd.co with questions about your projects.

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