The DailyPay core app allowed employees to transfer their earned wages before payday for a small fee. The business was looking for a way to eliminate this fee, and offer a suite of neo-banking features that would allow us to retain users post job termination, and provide more value from DailyPay's earned wage access technology.
A debit card and companion app that gives employees instant access to their earned wages for free, ability to make the most of their money the minute they earn it, and can scale to provide value beyond DailyPay eligible users to consumers of all kinds.
Lead product designer owning all design and research. Eventually managing one designer, overseeing new feature and enhancement work.
Being onboarded in the middle of the development process meant having to play catch up with engineering under tight deadlines, while developing a brand, component library, and learning how to build a debit card program.
Understanding the problem
I started at DailyPay when the development of the Friday app was already underway. I didn't get a chance to be a part of the discovery regarding the initial problem statement and hypothesis. In order to be in alignment with the team, and understand our mission, I made it a point to uncover the data and research that backed the team's assumptions and original hypothesis. (data not shown; under NDA)
Data supported a growing interest in neo banks amongst our users.
Previous test showed that offering free transfers could entice users to switch their primary bank account.
Data showed that even when offered free 3-day transfers, users would pay the fee to get their money instantly.
Users were hesitant to utilize earned wage access because of fees attached.
The Friday Brand
The engineers had already started building skeleton screens. A card manufacturer was waiting for designs. I only had a few weeks to kick off the foundation for the brand and app UI. I conducted competitive research, had discussions with stakeholders about the Friday vision. I learned about all the constraints for design when printing debit cards, and navigated how to utilize a broken, barely realized design "system" for a new brand that wanted to have its own look, feel and personality.
THE FRIDAY CARD
I explored many design options, but because of the tight timelines and limitations with design regarding our card manufacturer's printing capabilities, I proposed an extremely simple card design that we could adapt and change as we learned more about our brand in the eyes of the users.
THE FRIDAY FEEL
We knew we wanted Friday to feel easy and lighthearted. Our presumed users were not sleek techies using the latest crypto and trading apps, nor were they looking for old-school, traditional banking solutions. We wanted something that felt fresh, relatable, and upbeat, not aspirational, elite, or serious. I also wanted to tie the Friday brand back to DailyPay. I spent a good amount of time creating a color palette that paired well with DailyPay's primary brand color, orange. I also spent time making sure the colors chosen met accessibility requirements in the context they were going to be used.
Designing and Testing
Due to the extremely tight deadlines, and the fact that I had to catch up to engineering, I had to design in high fidelity and test at the same time. Our main goal for user testing was to make sure the sign up and card opening flows were easy to understand and frictionless. We also wanted to make sure users understood how the product worked (how to get free transfers), and get their initial thoughts on the value of the product.
I expressed my concern to my stakeholders, worried this would lead to a bigger UDAAP violation than using the term "direct deposit". My product manager was able to go back to legal, show our testing findings, and demonstrate why the language change was needed. In the end they agreed, I was able to test a new version with the term "direct deposit" and 100% of participants understood what was being asked of them to get free transfers.
All users found sign up, card opening and home screen of the app easy to understand and frictionless. However, the main (and extremely important) issue was that due to the fact that our legal and compliance teams said we could not use the term "direct deposit" (long story) users didn't understand that this was a requirement to get free, instant transfers. Users took our substitute term, "paycheck deposit", to mean "dailypay balance transfer" deposit.
Users also expressed how the first version of this screen seemed "informal"; the UI treatment didn't match the importance of the ask. The size and design of the modal didn't demand the user's focus and attention.
Most participants thought when they set up “paycheck deposit” that they were setting up some sort of automatic transfer from their DailyPay Balance to the Friday card, or they assumed this was the premise of the card in the first place - that the transfer fee was eliminated because transfers were eliminated. They seemed to equate paycheck deposit to DailyPay balance deposit, and instant to automatic. To our surprise, not only was this their assumption, this was a feature they wished the app actually had.
We decided to explore this idea of automatic transfers further post MVP as a product differentiator and conversion driver.
Users weren't really reading the card opening intro screen. They seemed to skim because it was such a text heavy screen. We also realized that the first value prop was the one that really resonated with users. I decided to create a prototype of an intro carousel that would provide the most impactful value prop up front, and more information upon scroll should the user want to learn more.
Our initial assumption was to layout the app in a way that communicated to the user that they had two accounts (Friday and DailyPay), and focus on the main user action (transferring funds to the Friday Card). Testing confirmed that the app and its information architecture was clear to the user. However, we recognized some pitfalls to our approach for the home screen dashboard and money movement flow during beta testing.
Our V1 layout falsely equated DP balance to that of an account, when rather it was actually just a means to fund an account (Friday). Our assumption was that by focusing on the Friday Card on the home screen we could not only make clear that the main purpose of the app was to add or send funds to and from Friday, but also that this would be a banking app, not just a one-note app offering a single benefit (no-fee DailyPay transfers).
This new construct would allow the app to better align to the mental model users already have when using similar banking apps, while solidifying Friday as the “card app” and DailyPay as the “on-demand pay app". The added benefit was that this would allow us to scale quicker. By making the Friday Card the focus of the home screen we could reduce the need for vastly different user screen states (DailyPay eligible and non eligible), and reduce the need for complex dynamic logic in our money movement flows now that "Add" and "Send" have been split into two separate flows.
New Home Screen
New Money Movement
Our first iteration for this new concept had the CTA's labeled as "Cash In" and "Cash Out". This caused confusion in testing. It seems like those terms brought to mind only the notion of transferring DailyPay funds. Hence they thought that if they wanted to add DP balance funds to their card they would press “Cash Out” like “cashing out of their DailyPay balance” as opposed to transferring funds off the Friday Card. When we tested just “Add” and “Send” it was much clearer to users.
All users were successful in completing different transfer tasks, and finding features when asked. Even better, in our V1 version users described the home screen as easy to understand in that it made clear the app allowed them to transfer funds from DailyPay to Friday, but with this version users said much more. They knew they could make transfers, but also described the app like a banking app, comparing it to other banking apps they used. This was a good indicator that the redesign was helping us achieve our goal of showcasing Friday as a banking app to be compared with the likes of other neo-banks in the market.
Results / Learnings
Data showed we were successful in hitting many of our conversion benchmarks for our pilot which was encouraging. I also got to talk to users of the new app and learned more about why they were interested in Friday, and why or why not they decided to not enroll in direct deposit. We even came across a couple surprises in user behavior that shaped the way we thought about our business model.