What if your banking could be more human?
The idea behind "Allocate" is to take banking into a more proactive approach to guide the user into making better financial decisions.
How can banking have a more proactive relationship with the user?
Getting user feedback through the implementation of a make tool.
A large part of the research
EXPLORING ECONOMIC ECOLOGIES
As we continue to advance in the ways we communicate, interact and share with one another, money has become something very abstract. Many people, myself included, belong to many bigger financial institutions (debit, credit, etc) and thusly, money becomes compartmentalized within these institutions. The very way we interact with money has fundamentally changed. Systems such as PayPal, Venmo and others allow the user to put money into their system, in order to participate in the system (i.e. I use Venmo to pay my friends who use Venmo.)
Because of these growing systems it is difficult to visualize our money and spending habits. What if a system or product existed that was able to semiotically merge these compartments? What I am exploring is the different ecologies which money exists and how we can we better understand our personal economic?
Both the high tech and the low tech solution, aim to allow the user to visualize their spending in a more holistic way.
RESEARCHING PROBLEM SPACE
A quick and easy way to begin exploring the problem space was to send a survey out. The results of this survey represent 35 individuals in 5 different countries whose age ranges from 18 - 30. I specifically targeted individuals currently enrolled in undergraduate and graduate studies.
This project has two major components: a low-tech solution and a high-tech solution. A low tech solution basically means no wires, no circuit board, no app. It must be physical product that is born out of research and user testing. I think the inherent difficulty in the low-tech realm that will have to be overcome is the fact that an ecology has to be created around this product and it has to be desirable enough that someone would actually want to use it. Why not just download something to a smartphone? From there begins the high-tech solution.
I want my low-tech to be a small device that lives in the users wallet (I was thinking something the size of a credit card). I think the key here lies in the products unobtrusiveness. I began (as shown above) with a wallet, but scrapped that when I realized that it introduces a larger paradigm shift than the ecology of the product itself. So I am now looking at something that lives in the users wallet and helps them organize and visualize their spending and saving.
A low-tech interaction
For "Allocate" (as it is tentatively being called) to move into a product state, a lot had to be considered. Legibility of information was a common theme in the prototyping phase because with this product being something that lives in a wallet, the question of what information is absolutely necessary because it was so easy for this to become an abacus-like object or a total clutter of too much information. The other challenge was actually making a workable prototype on such a dimensionally small and considerably thin model.