Energisa, one of the largest energy companies in Brazil, saw an opportunity to enter the financial market by creating a new digital bank for low-income people that live in the countryside.
Therefore, our research team went to different states across the country to talk to people and understand their aspirations and needs. Based on those learnings, my role was to lead the UX and UI design team to build an innovative user experience for this new digital bank.
Voltz, a spin-off startup from Energisa, was launched in January 2021 bringing a completely new user experience for the digital bank market.
Our research team went to four different cities across Brazil (João Pessoa and Patos, in Paraíba state; and Presidente Prudente and Bragança Paulista, in São Paulo state) to talk to people to understand their needs.
To share our learnings with the whole team, we conducted workshops and design sprints with all the key stakeholders to align the brand strategy and the product vision and also brought them to participate in a co-creation process.
Our main insight into our final user experience was that the internet for these people was synonymous with WhatsApp and Facebook. To them, most of the digital interactions happen inside those two apps.
Therefore, we took this insight and asked ourselves: "what if our digital bank talked to the users as if they were in a conversation on WhatsApp?".
This led to our main core user experience that all the interactions would happen as if the bank is having a friendly chat with you. You just need to say what you want to do ("I want to... transfer money / pay a bill / recharge my phone / etc") and the bank would send a question back asking for the next information it needs ("To whom? / What is the amount? / When do you want to do this transaction?").
This main insight, in addition to the core user experience of the app, also guided the brand identity that the visual design team crafted beautifully.
Another key insight was that most of our target users are small business owners and therefore have two types of accounts: personal and commercial. They told us that managing the two separately makes financial management difficult sometimes, as their businesses are part of their personal lives as well.
This led us to create a unique login that the user can access both accounts, empowering them to have more financial control in their personal and business lives.
We introduced a new way to view your bank statement, following the idea of a continuous chat with the platform.
The user can scroll up and see their purchase history, as it was their previous "messages" to the bank, creating a familiar and intuitive interaction with their expenses.
Another important insight we identified was the need to split bills. People usually have to separate their household bills between family members or friends who live together on the same roof.
Therefore we created a feature where, during the payment flow, the users can select who they want to split the bill by selecting other users from their contact list and the amount each one has to pay. All the other members receive a notification with the part of the bill that they need to pay.
The main user can view all the bills that are currently in process, see who already paid and who hasn't, and edit the members and the amount that each one is paying.
In addition to the sign-up experience, we designed the onboarding experience introducing the main features and the user interface.
To test our hypotheses, we prototyped the core experiences and went to the same cities in the countryside to test with the customers and get their feedback.
This led us to a new round of refinement and to our final style guide and documentation for development.
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