Banking app redesign

I recently moved back to Iceland and began using my bank’s mobile app again. The sudden switch in apps made me take a critical eye to the user experience and gave me an opportunity to propose some improvements.

1. Research


I studied the homescreens of traditional banks and app-based banks to discover patterns and their offerings to users.

  • App-based banks tended to prioritise the listing of the latest transactions on the homescreen.
  • Transactions are often linked to an icon for easy identification or scanning.
  • Visualisations of spending or balances provide users with a glancing overview of their finances.
  • The linking of an account to a graphic of your card makes it easier for users to remember rather than say the last four digits of an account/card.

Usability interviews

Impactful insight was retrieved from conducting four usability interviews, particularly from the contrasting responses from the two interviewees aged nineteen years. Three of the four interviewees used the banking app being redesigned.

“Oh my God.
That’s going to take me ages.” 

When asked to make a transfer to a new contact on their banking app, the user viewed it as an ordeal.

“I was with the bank you’re reviewing, but the competitor’s bank app was much nicer so I changed.”

2. Analysis

Empathy Mapping

The responses for each group were visualised using an empathy map and through using red notes to indicate negative sentiments, the differences of opinion between the groups are striking – the young are much more demanding on their banking apps.

Major pain points and thoughts from users:

  • Want a better overview of their finances. Not enough notifications and visuals of their spending patterns.
  • Transfers are a hassle.
  • Don’t want to use separate apps for transfers and visualisations.
  • Can’t search transactions.

3. Design


The main objective of this exercise was to redesign the homescreen. However, as some interesting pain points were identified from the usability interviews, my objectives were expanded to the following:

  1. Provide more content upfront so that users can get a good overview of their finances without having to navigate to specific sections.
  2. Provide the option of making transfers by a mobile number, which users find more convenient.
  3. Offer visualisations of spending habits.


More content upfront

At present, the homescreen on my banking app only shows the balances for each of my accounts. In order to provide more meaningful content upfront, my redesign provides: 

  • A cashflow graphic to give users a quick indication of their spending levels and whether they’ll need to change their behaviour for the rest of the month.
  • A feed showing their latest transactions and any other important notifications. These elements exist in the current app but are placed behind other sections.


Transfers to a mobile number

As mentioned above, some users from the research preferred to make transfers to a mobile number. I have incorporated this option into the transfer screen of the banking app. Additionally, I have introduced a feature to allow users to mark their favourite transfer contacts to improve usability.

Proposed new homescreen

Transfer by mobile number

“It would be nice to see it [where I spend] by month. I think that would make me a little more conservative about spending all my money.”

Visual insights on spending

Here are screenshots of proposed visualisations and additional data records to help users gain a better insight into their spending habits.

The next step is to get users to review the prototype.

Figma prototype


Understand your users

  • Banks need to understand and cater to their wide range of users who have different needs, often based on their stage in life.
  • The failure to do so runs the risk of customers adopting alternative apps and even switching to a competitor.

Content is king

  • Even for a banking app, providing the most relevant content upfront is vital so that users can make quick decisions. They don’t want to be navigating around wondering when a payment is due or manually calculating if they’ll have enough money to last the month.
  • Squeezing a lot of content into a small space was a challenge but enjoyable. It needs to be done with a mix of text and visual aids so that users can quickly glance and find the information they require.
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