Nelson Reid UX Designer

Venmo Mobile App Feature Extension

Project Overview

Venmo makes it easy for users to send payments to other people through their mobile app. Rather than deal with cash, cheques or lengthy bank transfers, users can pay friends for things like dinner or a concert ticket or transfer money for things like rent to a landlord.

Venmo's Challenge

Venmo wanted to expand their services to make a difference in the world. With users accustomed to sending money quickly, Venmo wanted to introduce a way for users to send money via their app to causes they care about — whether that be a nonprofit that combats hunger or a unique Kickstarter campaign.

The Solution

In order to keep Venmo an efficient platform for mobile payments our student team designed and prototyped new features within the existing payment flow and kept new features outside the payment flow as light weight as possible.

To encourage spontaneous giving a "round up for charity" feature was added at the end of the payment process. If an odd amount is entered, Venmo will ask the user if they would like round up for charity. The system will suggest a charity based on location data as well as the donation history of a users contacts.

In order to utilize the social aspects of Venmo we built out a "challenge a friend" feature. Users would be able to setup a new challenge and invite friends to join the cause. Invited friends can contribute a dollar amount or invite friends of their own. A ranking system is included with the challenge feature to encourage friendly competition. A users rank is based on the total dollar amount contributed and how many users they have successfully recruited.

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Research and Discovery

User Interviews

Venmo User PersonaWe conducted several interviews with active users and aimed to understand their usage and their thoughts on the social sharing functionality of Venmo. We also asked for their insights on how they currently donate to charity and if they would consider using Venmo to donate to social causes. We also inquired about privacy concerns.

Competitive Analysis

Venmo SitempLooking at other payment apps as well as crowfunding and charitable giving websites gave us a perspective on the discovery and checkout flows of both markets. We took inspiration from both on how to combine a payment app with a donations / crowdfunding tool.

Persona Development

Venmo User PersonaAfter the goals and pain points were identified during user interviews we developed a persona to keep the team on track during the design process.

Project Plan

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Defining the features

Armed with our user and industry insights we decided to focus on two main new features for Venmo. Focusing on these features allowed the team to keep this assignment within a minimum viable project for future development and rapid iteration. Those features were:

  • A round up for charity" feature during the payment flow to encourage spontaneous giving
  • A "challenge a friend" feature to utilize the social power of Venmo

User Scenario, Flow and Sitemap

Venmo SitempWith our persona in mind we developed use case scenarios to help us design our revised payment flow and new challenge a friend feature with the target market in mind. Once the scenarios were defined we developed a more detailed user flow diagram to discover the interactions that needed to be designed and tested.

Design

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Wireframes

Each team member sketched a series of wireframes individually to begin the design process for the donation and challenge a friend features. Afterwards we discussed and picked the best UI ideas to include in the interactive prototype. The prototype type was then built in Axure.

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Prototype

Each team member sketched a series of wireframes individually to begin the design process for the donation and challenge a friend features. Afterwards we discussed and picked the best UI ideas to include in the interactive prototype. The prototype type was then built in Axure.

Usability Testing

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Several usability sessions were conducted with users. These were vital in understanding how our additions to the Venmo app preformed with real world users. Several things were learned:

  • All users loved the "round up for charity" feature
  • All users were unsure how to initiate a new challenge
  • Half of users were confused by the tag a friend icon
  • New and returning users had trouble locating the pay function
  • Several other small UI issues were also noted

Once defined we incorporated these insights into the prototype for the next round of testing.

View Prototype