Product Designer
12 weeks

Project Overview

This was an individual case study supported by extensive user research, competitive analysis, and 200+ hours dedicated to refining a high-fidelity prototype.

The Problem

Young adults lack financial awareness

I was curious how my friends would navigate through the ongoing economic recession, and they didn't have a clear plan in mind. They relied on completing their college degree, then worrying about their finances after securing a stable job.

My Solution

A gamified budgeting experience

Attention has become a currency in our modern society, and developing an engaging experience will allow users to stay on top of their finances.

Rewards System

  • Users will receive stars for reaching financial milestones
  • Stars can then be exchanged for gift cards, cash back, etc
  • Example: Trade 50 stars for 12% off your next Nike purchase

Interactive Tools

  • User will have interactive elements
  • This pie chart will allow users to select their desired budget
  • Option to set preferred categories for goods and services

In-App Tutorial

  • This will be especially useful for users that are new to budgeting
  • Allows users to feel confident about their decisions
  • Returning users have the option to skip the tutorial process

Market Research

The gamification market is growing!


The gamification market size in 2020 had a global value of $9.1 billion and is predicted to register an impressive growth rate of 27.4%, reaching $30.7 billion by 2025 (MarketsandMarkets, 2020).

Data retrieved from Zippia

User Research

How could I have a competitive edge?

The market is saturated with budgeting apps, but that didn't stop me from discovering holes in their products.

In-App Features

Categorized Spending

Split Bills w/Others

Manage Credit Debt

Sync Bank Accounts

User Interviews

My interviewees felt guilty spending on leisure goods

After conducting 7 interviews, I learned that food and housing were their primary monthly expenses. Although rent/mortgage expenses are typically issued at a fixed cost, food expenses can pile up without proper tracking.

Questions I Asked

1. Before making purchases, do you check your account balance first?

2. In what ways has the current rise in inflation impacted your spending?

3. How have you managed to track your income and expenses?

4. What do you like about these particular budgeting strategies?

5. Which expenses take up the majority of your monthly spending?

Budgeting apps require time and commitment

Despite how inflation has drastically changed their spending, I noticed a trend in which they didn't show much interest in using budgeting apps. They felt that they didn't have enough time to sort through all their transactions and plan out their spending.

User Persona

Luca Caprice

Aspiring Mechanical Engineer


Hi everyone, I'm Luca. I turned 24 years old last week, and I've been reflecting on my current position in life. I've been helping my parents pay for bills as a full-time employee at Guitar Center. With the price of goods increasing, I think now would be a good time to explore new opportunities with my Mechanical Engineering degree.


  • Land a paid engineering internship
  • Allocate enough funds to move out of parents house
  • Invest more time for creating music and side projects

Pain Points

  • Rising inflation has lead to more credit card debt
  • Feels tied down to current position due to short staff
  • Friends from college already have stable jobs

Minimal Interface with a 'Split Bill' Feature

The first thing that came to mind in the brainstorming process was to reduce cognitive overload. I wanted to increase user retention by avoiding text-heavy content, and focusing more on visual and interactive elements.

80% of my interviewees were sharing rent

The purpose of adding a 'split bill' feature was to help users divide their reoccurring bills with others. Each user would divide their share of a bill, then the total amount would then transfer to the bill receiver.

Testing & Iterations

Iterating Towards a User-centered Design

Simple Widgets in the Home Feed

  • To establish confidence within the user, I wanted to equip them with financial tools that were easy to understand
  • I also incorporated copywriting to provide the user with friendly context for each tool

Isolated the Budget Button

  • Created an overlay to help users remain focused on setting a budget
  • Added tutorial captions to guide user throughout the process

Developed the Friends List

  • User would slide to the right to begin the Split Bill process with another person
  • Usability Issue: Accidentally swiping on the wrong person
  • Solution: User must confirm their selection before proceeding
Final Deliverable

UI Style Guide


High Fidelity Prototype


Users enjoyed the concept and found it productive

I received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from most users. The usability testing was a smooth process, and I was able to iterate my wireframes based on insightful feedback.

When I’m able to make further iterations, I would simplify the user flow to get users through the main objective in the least amount of steps. It was more difficult to remove features than to add them.