Splitting a Bill Made Easy
A mobile payment service that allows people to pay and request money from friends.
Imagine you're out with a group of friends having dinner. After a great evening of good food and pleasant chats, it's time to wrap it up and get the check. One friend offers to put their credit card down and then that dreaded moment comes. How do you figure out how much to pay them back? Is someone going to break out the pen and paper and calculate it for you? These situations can range from being a mild nuisance to time consuming, if not more.

What if it could all be easier though? I decided to explore finding a solution to address this sort of frustration through the use of Venmo. Through this project, I explore the opportunity to simplify the process of splitting a bill between multiple users on the Venmo app.

Research Goals

Gaining Understanding
While I had encountered the issue first hand, I needed to deepen my understanding and discover how prevalent the issue was to others. I decided to conduct some research to gain more context. My three goals were to:
1. Gain insight on people’s payment preferences
2. How users make use of payment services
3. Discover how users split bills.
Venmo itself has been around for a few years and has grown to be loved by users. In order to seamlessly build a new feature into the app, I conducted an app audit to better understand the branding, UI, and features that Venmo currently has. Once I had a good feel for the app itself, I was able to start thinking about how to use this new feature to elevate the product. I began by comparing what competitors are doing.

User Interviews

Gaining Empathy
I spoke with five active users of Venmo in order to get a better understanding of their spending habits, preferences, and motivations. I also dug into their experiences when it comes to splitting bills with friends in small or big group settings.
of users typically use Venmo for splitting bills with others.

of users mentioned that they use calculators to figure out tip and tax.
of users said they usually Venmo the other right away.

of users voiced frustrations around figuring out how much to pay another.
“Math is too hard. Usually someone begrudgingly takes on the calculations.”

Meeting Michael

Creating a Persona

Conducting research and user interviews affirmed my assumptions. Splitting a bill is a pretty common occurence that no one is ever eager to take on.

After synthesizing my research, it was time to move on to next steps. With my head fresh with insights from user interviews, I went on to create a persona to represent my users. Meet Michael! He is a millennial who is a frequent user of Venmo.

Taking the insights from the interview findings and research, I was able to determine some user needs. In order to craft some solutions, I also thought out the POV and HMW through the lens of my persona, Michael.
It was important for me to establish the sitemap for the existing app. Since my goal is to seamlessly add a feature, I had to determine where my new feature would make the most sense within the given framework. I decided to keep the features as closely aligned to the existing flows as possible.
The feature that I had settled upon based off user needs was implementing a group split. This feature would cover two aspects. I had to map out how users could create a group split. I also wanted to establish what it would be like to receive a group split request.

This idea grew more and more complex the more I thought about it. I ran through many ideas such as who should be in charge of sending the request. Should it be all managed by one person or does everyone claim their own item within the app? After a lot of discussions with other designers and users, I ultimately decided upon these flows.


Capturing the Look and Feel
Wireframes became the start of a fun but complex time! I had solidified my idea through all the research and established that I wanted to create a feature that would make splitting a bill easier. How it would look though was the next big challenge. All I knew was that it had to look and feel like something Venmo would actually create. Creating a Brand Style Tile allowed me to understand their brand and ensure that my feature would look and feel like their app.

Usability Testing

Determining Effectiveness

Once I had finished visual design and creating a prototype, it was time to put my design to the test. I sought out to do some usability testing with two main objectives.

1. Determine if users can find and use the new features.

2. Discover any issues with the flow and experience of the new features.
100% of users completed sending out a group request.

100% of users easily did a payment request.
100% had hesitations at the camera screen.

75% were not confident that the tip had been applied.


Embracing Feedback

This project grew more complex the further I got along into it. The idea had started off simple enough but with one feature to focus on, I really had to dig deep into perfecting the implementation. I cycled through many ideas of how I could better the flow. At one point during the usability testing, I even had a moment where I restructured the whole way I thought about this feature. I was hung up on the fact that this was a group split but I came to realize that this could be a useful feature for even just between two people. Changing my mindset and being open to feedback from users really helped bring this project to the next level.
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© 2020 Kristina Wang.