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Personal Finance App:

GRADUATE SCHOOL PROJECT
HCI
2023

A Usability Analysis was conducted with several users to test the superiority of the new design with the Baseline App, and it was proven more useful for expert users; they completed the tasks faster with more ease and lesser mental load. 
However, the new app showed slight improvement with inexperienced users.

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Research
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Introduction

This experiment was conducted as part of the Graduate school project I created. It is an application that helps people set up and achieve their long-term and short-term financial goals. Six participants conducted different tasks on the existing app and the new prototype, and the results were analyzed.

Research Objectives

O1: In order to verify the new prototype's superiority for users, compare existing financial goal-setting apps with the new prototype

O2: Determine whether users' experience in financial goal-setting affects their preference for the new prototype

Existing Products

A couple of applications help users set one goal and build an investment and savings strategy accordingly.

For example, a US bank provides the" Set a Goal Feature" in its application. The application allows customers to set a specific savings target, such as saving for a down payment on a house or a vacation and then automates transfers into the savings account to help them reach their goal.

The other example is the Qapital app. This app helps users set savings goals, automate their savings, and track progress. As far as we know, however, no financial application is capable of managing multiple goals flexibly at once and providing a customized strategy based on the user's situation.

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Figure 1. Setting a goal example (Left: US Bank, Right: Qapital)

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Figure 2. Creating a goal in Existing App (Every dollar)

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Figure 3. Base App (Simplify)

Expected Results

Through this improved application, users can reduce the workload in the process of finding and learning investment alternatives, as well as enhance the usability of the app itself.

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Effectiveness

Efficiency

Satisfaction

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Workload

Independent Variable

IV1: Difference of interface

• Existing app (Simplifi) - Baseline

• New Prototype

IV2: Experience in financial goal-setting

 No prior experience in financial goal-setting

• Have prior experience in financial goal-setting

Research Hypothesis

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Dependent Variables (Measurement)

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Participants

Number of Participants

3 male and 3 female 

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Level of Experience

Experienced

Participants who have set and achieved financial goals previously    

Inexperienced 

Participants with no prior experience in setting financial goals                       

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Experiment Design

Within Subject Design

This design approach systematically exposes participants to multiple iterations of the experimental manipulations or interventions, allowing for a comprehensive evaluation of the effects within the same individuals.

In a within-subject design, participants serve as their own control group, eliminating potential individual differences and increasing the study's statistical power. By comparing participants' responses across different treatments or conditions, researchers can effectively isolate and examine the specific impact of each manipulation.

Latin Square scheme

It is a systematic and balanced method used in experimental designs to counterbalance the order of treatments or conditions. It ensures that each treatment occurs once in each position or order across participants, minimizing the potential confounding effects of order.

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Procedure for User Testing

1. Read and sign a consent form (5 min)

2. Introduced to the experimental area (5 min)

3. Briefed about the app and why the experiment is being conducted (3 min)

4. Introduced the prototype, explaining the procedure to the user, the purpose of the experiment, explaining        the consent form, and time for the participant to read and sign the form (5 min)

5. Perform the Tasks with Apps (new prototype vs. baseline) (20 min)

     - Fill out the NASA-TLX after each task

     - Fill out the SUS after using each App

6. User the open-ended questions (10 min)

7. Debriefing (5 min)

Outcome

  • NASA: TLX and SUS data was collected from all the participants.

  • NASA: TLX was used to determine the mental workload of the given tasks in existing applications and a new prototype.

  • The Likert Scale was used to determine the operator's performance for both of the given tasks in existing applications and the new prototype.

  • An online tool created an ANOVA table to perceive workload and performance.

Task 1: Set up a financial goal and establish a goal achievement plan

The research team presumed users had already established their profiles, including their names, contact numbers, and background information. In the primary scenario, users aim to define a financial objective and create a plan to achieve that goal. New users visit the platform to set their first financial goal and input specific information about it. They can then choose a plan from a list of suggested achievement plans. Once they select a particular goal achievement plan, they are provided with the details of the plan. After confirming the plan, they receive feedback on their selection.

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Results

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Experienced Users

  • Experienced users made more misleading interface errors when using the existing products than when using the new prototype.

Task 2: Edit the existing financial plan

The third task is for users who want to modify their financial goals. They can click on the goal to monitor their progress or edit it directly. Additionally, users can use a shortcut action by swiping left and clicking on the “...” icon. From there, they can edit their goal settings, plan settings, or deposit/withdraw money.

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Results

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Experienced Users

  • Experienced users felt less physical workload and time pressure when editing the financial plan's second task than inexperienced users.

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Inexperienced Users

  • Inexperienced users tend to made less errors (interface misleading) than experienced ones.

Task 3: Deposit/withdraw money

The fourth task is for users who want to withdraw a specific amount from one goal and add it towards another based on their new priority. They can click on the withdraw or deposit button to make the transaction.

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Results

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Experienced Users

  • Experienced users felt lesser time pressure when performing depositing/withdrawing money than inexperienced ones.

  • Experienced users also reported that the New Prototype felt less mentally demanding than an Existing product.

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Inexperienced Users

  • Inexperienced users responded that the Baseline app felt more mental workload than the New Prototype.

The time pressure between inexperienced and experienced users when users were the same when using the Baseline. However, inexperienced users tend to feel more time pressure when using Our App than experienced users.

Discussions

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Experienced Users

Our app brings more utility to experienced users.
Experienced users made fewer errors, completed task 1 faster, and performed task 3 with less mental and physical workload.

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Inexperienced Users

Our app needs to be improved for new users without previous experiences. Inexperienced users performed task 3 with Our App with more mental & physical workload.

Conclusions

To summarize, this is a powerful tool for managing personal finances, but is based on several assumptions that users should be aware of. Users can create a budget that is accurate and effective for their specific financial situation by understanding these assumptions and making adjustments as needed. To achieve long-term financial goals, it's important to remember that this app is just one component of an overall financial management strategy, and it should be used in conjunction with other strategies such as saving, investing, and debt management.

References

  • Alt, R., Beck, R., & Smits, M. T. (2018). FinTech and the transformation of the financial industry. Electronic markets, 28, 235-243.

  • Brooke, J. (1996). SUS-A quick and dirty usability scale. Usability evaluation in industry, 189(194), 4-7.

  • Hart, S. G., & Staveland, L. E. (1988). Development of NASA-TLX (Task Load Index): Results of empirical and theoretical research. In Advances in psychology (Vol. 52, pp. 139-183). North-Holland.

  • ISO. (1998). ISO 9241-11: Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) Part 11: Guidance on usability. International Organization for Standardization.

  • Kerényi, Á., & Müller, J. (2019). Brave new digital world?–Financial technology and the power of information. Financial and Economic Review, 18(1), 5-32.

  • Lee, I., & Shin, Y. J. (2018). Fintech: Ecosystem, business models, investment decisions, and challenges. Business horizons, 61(1), 35-46.

  • Mifsud, J. (2015). Usability metrics–a guide to quantify the usability of any system. Usability Geek.

  • Whiteside, J., Bennett, J., & Holtzblatt, K. (1988). Usability engineering: Our experience and evolution. In Handbook of human-computer interaction (pp. 791-817). North-Holland.

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