Fall 2018
Stacks, a money management solution for students
Product Design
iPhone 7 Mockup of Stacks app showing the home screen
What are the primary money management tools students need to feel comfortable managing their finances?
14 weeks
Project Type
Invision, Sketch & Illustrator
Our Journey at a Glance
Project Brief
Redesign an existing or create a new mobile UI.
The lack of confidence and adequate resources to aid students in managing their finances.
Research Question
What are the primary money management tools students need to feel comfortable managing their finances?
Semi-structured Interview | 28 Participants | 6 Personas & Journey Maps
User flows | Lo-Fi & Hi-Fi Prototypes| Interactive Prototype
How I Grew
 I increased my skills in collaboration, developing brands, crafting illustrations, and creating appropriate user flows.
Our Journey at a Glance
Our Journey at a Glance
A young man looking stressed out with dollar bills floating around his head
The young man sitting with a brown-haired girl (Katrina) talking at a table
Define the Problem
Students lack of confidence with money management
Connect with Users
28 semi-structured interviews
Extractions of insights
Development of personas & journey maps
Craft Prototype
Try it out here!
My Role
In this project, I co-conducted UX Research focusing on our financial professional sample, created wireframes, UI Design, and branding alongside one of my team members. Later on, I refined the UI and created on-boarding illustrations.
Team Members
Katie Burton: UX Research, Design requirements, Wireframes, UI Design
Ameena Nadwei: UX Research, User flows, Interactive prototype
Stacks is a money management app that
helps students gain mindfulness of
their finances.
With new schools, new cities, new responsibilities, and new friends; stepping into adult hood is tricky enough. In self-reflection and looking at our peers, we saw that one of the biggest hurdles is tackling newly-found financial independence. Through 'Stacks,' we aimed to ease the transition.
How we got there.
-Conduct Research
Users are people too.
Interviews were approximately 60-minutes in length and followed a semi-structured format. While our target demographic is post-secondary students we expanded our sample of research to include financial professionals and parents.  
12 Students
5 Financial Professionals
11 Parents
What we hoped to learn from...

Students: their attitudes, expectations, needs, struggles, & worries surrounding finances
Financial Professionals: their subject matter expertise & experiences with younger clients
Parents:  where they continue to struggle with money & what worries them most about their child's financial independence
-Extract Insights
Make the research count.
Cover cards for in-depth personas and behaviour maps.
Renee's current journey with an existing financial app.
Based on our interviews, we created personas and journey maps as a more tangible reference to highlight pain points, expectations, and needs from our sample. We framed our journey maps based on the current tools available (i.e. Renee's journey map follows her experience using the budgeting app Mint Intuit).
-Key Pain Points
No pain, no gain
We were able to breakdown the three things that students lack that make money management difficult: time, energy, and mindfulness.
Therefore, we wanted to create an app that...

Preserves time: students are busy and often don't have the time to sit down to properly begin a budget and analyze their spending habits

Doesn't take a lot of energy: any extra time they have is needed to unwind, not get overwhelmed by numbers

Increases mindfulness: a lot of mis-management from funds is not on purpose -- it comes from a lack of awareness.
Based on the experiences of our personas, we highlighted their correlated needs.
-Craft Prototype
[UI] wasn't built in a day.
After we created the wireframes, we created our first iteration of designs which helped us explore potential branding. That being said, there were some clarity and hierarchy issues which is why I decided to do a new, second iteration. I used this design pattern to redesign all the screens.
Lo-Fi Iteration
First Hi-Fi Iteration
Second Hi-Fi Iteration
-Refining the Design
On Second Thought...
A few months down the line, I revisited this project. I decided to do some light hallway testing from students to gain insight into how the target demographic would feel about the design. I also did my own heuristic evaluation. This allowed me to make informed design changes to improve the final UI.
Evaluating the Insights Page
-Screen Highlights
Key Features.
-Next Steps
There's Always Room For Improvement.
In this project I learned a lot about developing a product end-to-end. As next steps, I would love to further A/B test the 'final' iteration with special focus on the Smart Budget Survey to try to reduce the cognitive load. Alongside this, I'd like to explore how to app could work as an iPhone widget for easy access.
-Reflection: How I Grew
This project allowed me to improve my...
A young man looking stressed out with dollar bills floating around his head
+ Collaboration skills
+ Ability to streamline complex user flows
+ Ability to develop brands
+ Illustration skills
As a highly collaborative end-to-end project I was able to develop both soft and hard skills that I can continue to apply to future work.
Katrina Behnke 2019