PlutoPay, a retail banking app, strives to enhance customers' financial well-being amidst growing financial challenges. The stakeholders' interests converge, given the bank's reliance on mortgages and loans, although the path to success can be intricate.

The app offers a three-step setup tool employing machine learning to exhibit available funds per pay period, an interactive savings feature, and a price scanner for transparent costs abroad. These tools promote improved financial monitoring and foster active involvement in personal finances.


CareerFoundry, Student Project


UX Design, Competitor Analysis, Research, User Personas, Information Architecture, UI Design, Brand Guidelines, Logo Design, Wireframing, Prototyping, Iconography, Mock Ups


Adobe XD, Photoshop, After Effects


Use link below for shortcut to the prototype. Opens in separate window.



Everybody needs a bank, and almost all banking is now done online. But personal finances are a great source of anxiety for a lot of users, resulting in avoidance and consequent worsening of outcomes. In a study released in November 2020, 48% of adults said that they had worried about money at least once a week in the previous month. More concerning, 18% of respondents replied that shame and embarrassment prevented them from talking about their financial situation, and 15% said that talking about it causes stress or anxiety.

How do you improve outcomes
       when users prefer not to engage?

In later years, people are more likely to change banks. Previously, it is likely that the cumbersome process of changing banks were more important than loyalty, but nevertheless, building customer relations is harder than before. Customers rarely choose their bank based on banking apps, but providing good services is a good way to retain users.

As a banking app, the main levers available to improving outcomes is promoting savings and help the customer control spending. Keeping the broad target audience in mind, the app will have to nudge low information/high anxiety users into better banking behaviours, without infantilising the larger audience.

User Personas

To craft User Personas, I surveyed a diverse group of users. Due to the sensitive nature of the topic, questions focused on app usage and digital habits, sidestepping inquiries about personal finances or banking behaviour. Surveys were conducted in person and via video calls to encourage open discussion. Users willingly shared insights on digital banking experiences. Using this data alongside statistical analysis, I created two user personas for app development.


See full profiles of the Personas, Reena and Michael


New Tools

To improve user outcomes, the app focusses on clarity, engagement and simplicity. The Real Balance gives user available funds without having to calculate. The price scanner helps user find real costs when abroad, thereby driving engagement. Lastly, the Instant save button makes it easy to save and create a habit of engaging with saving goals.

Real Balance

This is a simple function designed to enhance financial outcomes by providing an estimate of the remaining balance within a given pay period, taking into account expected automated expenses.

Real Balance Setup

Using machine learning, the app recognises pay dates and regular expenses. This allows the app to include subscriptions done with payment cards in addition to bank transfers. Setting up is a simple 3 step process, accepting or amending suggested income and expenses, and confirming pay period.  

Price Scanner

Using the device camera, user can simply scan a price tag for instant calculation of exchange rates, taxes and fees, using the banks rates rather than mid market rates. Using location data, this can also account for local taxes such as US sales tax, which is not displayed and differs between states.

Instant Savings Button

This button simplifies savings by letting the user transfer a pre-selected amount into a savings account by a simple tap on the button. This promotes more engagement with saving and helps the user build better habits.

User Journeys

In the shift from branch-based to digital banking, a strong emphasis on optimising user experiences has yielded significant benefits. In 2022, a major UK retail bank found that their focus on user journeys helped leading to 70% of new account openings being conducted entirely online, compared to the previous year's figure of 45%.
PlutoPay prioritised user flows and journeys in devising strategies for the implementation of new banking functions.

Information Architecture

PlutoPay leans heavily on other UK banking apps in developing the architecture of the app, as most users would come into the app with expectations from previous experiences. The Homepage has space for promoting functions, and in addition to this, certain functions are listed in more locations, to make sure users would be presented with functions and menus if straying from the most usual paths. This is also an opportunity to present functions aimed at core priorities at several locations throughout the app.

Site Map

See the expanded IA map made for this web app.

Full Map


The next step involved creating a prototype for user research. I built a mid-fidelity prototype which holds enough screens to facilitate user interaction, and provide a realistic exploration of the application.

Savings Dashboard

The mid fidelity prototype featured the savings dashboard and onboarding for setting up the Instant Save button.

Price Scanner

The prototype also featured the Price Scanner aimed at helping users see the real cost when spending money abroad.

Usability Testing

User testing was conducted through both in-person and remotely monitored sessions, involving a group of 5 participants selected to represent the diverse user base of the application. While certain issues were identified, overall feedback from users was optimistic regarding the presented functionalities. The navigation was found to be intuitive, and despite minor challenges, users were able to successfully accomplish the assigned tasks.

Finalising Design

Based on the feedback from User Testing, the last adjustments where made, and the colour scheme implemented. The wireframes were check to make they were pixel perfect, and links and transitions were finalised in prototyping.


The prototype was made using Adobe Xd.
Click to open the prototype in a new window.

Adobe Xd Prototype


Final Thoughts

Pre-launch testing provides insights into intended use, but it does not necessarily reflect actual engagement when users manage their own money. Initial interactions might not indicate long-term behavioural changes. While the uptake of new features can be a primary measurable goal, a more complex and ongoing analysis is necessary to determine the long-term success of these features.

For example, the Instant Savings function may encourage users to save more quickly, but it could also lower the threshold for some users to withdraw from their savings. Therefore, careful analysis is crucial to evaluate the product's success.
On the other hand, the Real Balance feature, with its straightforward setup, will likely benefit many users. By being visible during every interaction with the app, it helps users keep track of their available funds, supporting better financial outcomes even as the novelty of the app wears off.