Best Practices Learned through Award-Winning Fintech App Design

3 min read
Best Practices Learned through Award-Winning Fintech App Design

A decade ago, the last thing the fintech industry was known for was its design chops, but the times, they are a-changing. In 2018, the sector won nine spots in Fast Company’s Innovation by Design competition. With nearly 60% of Millennials being willing to change their relationships with their banks in exchange for a better technology platform, UX has never been more important to profitability, but the challenges are tough to breach. Thankfully, the trailblazers of fintech provide useful examples of today’s best practices.

Acorns: The Power of Metaphor

Acorns grabbed design awards for its unique solution to the friction that drags so many apps onto obscure terrain. Fintech app content must reflect the complexity of financial services to high and low literacy users alike without losing their streamlined aesthetic — a seemingly impossible balance. Most designers solve the puzzle by:

Using a gradual structure, using tabs, mouse over events, and the like to display complex data only when needed.

Simplifying complex information through easy-to-understand prose.

Using predictable interfaces so that users don’t need to engage with unnecessary complexity.

Saving the long-winded forms required by law for the end of the sign-up process.

Acorns brings a new solution to the table: metaphor. Its concepts are introduced by simple definitions that are explained through visual imagery instead of text. The growth of an oak tree is reflected on a page-by-page basis to erase friction to slim down the need for prose. It uses unambiguous layman’s terms and animation to cater to inexperienced and expert investors alike, rendering lengthy explanations unnecessary.

Amex: The Power of Branding

American Express grabbed the app design award for its sleek look, which relies on navy and gold — hues that reflect trust and wealth in the Western market. Universal icons speak a thousand words; a necessary approach when your app must cover this much functionality.

The app’s wireframing is a lesson all on its own. By understanding the adoption stages of each service offering, Amex’s designers keep each screen relevant. The interface is divided into recent interactions, account overviews, debt, repayments, and loyalty programs. Fintech apps are notoriously data-rich, but why limit that information when you can divide it by personas and their usage journeys? This complex approach demands iterative development to test and retest your platform, but the lean design is decidedly pocket-friendly, so it’s well worth the work.


Lemonade: Behavior Prediction

UX winner, Lemonade, uses artificially intelligent chatbots to guide user journeys. Each screen is accompanied by a question, letting users engage with micro-copy only when they need to. Lemonade’s anti-fraud algorithms support instant approvals, but the app is best known for its use of behavioral science. Unlike most insurance apps, it asks its users to sign an honesty pledge at the beginning of the claims process rather than at the end, thereby reducing the temptation to pad claims. The order of registration has a dramatic effect on adoption rates, too, so Lemonade lets users begin with an email sign-in that requires a single click. The claim button, chatbot, and coverage data precede lengthy forms, so users are less likely to abandon the process.

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