SHEHACKS BEST FINANCIAL LITERACY HACK
With the ongoing environmental crisis, encouraging sustainable habits is more vital than ever. Step by Step makes making positive transportation choices easy and effective.
At SheHacks 2020, my team created an app to bring the light the ecological, financial, and health impacts of choosing green transportation methods.
How do we teach youth financial literacy and encourage the formation of sustainable habits?
A mobile app that allows users to track steps and transportation habits in order to calculate money saved, carbon emissions conserved, and calories burned to foster positive habits.
IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM
The concepts of financial literacy and sustainability and broad and far-reaching. We had to first figure out the existing problems that prevented individuals from making sustainable choices.
KEY QUESTION: WHY DON’T BUDGETING APPS WORK?
When faced with the challenge of financial literacy, we instantly thought of the numerous budgeting apps on the market. We quickly realized that none of us used any of these, nor did any of the friends we asked. This raised the question—why don’t budgeting apps work?
DOING THE RESEARCH
I personally interviewed two users who had previously used budgeting apps, and one user who had never used a budgeting app. I decided to do these one-on-one interviews because I wanted specific insights on the problems they’d faced.
The questions I asked included:
The main problem that emerged was that it was too much work to constantly input and monitor purchases—it was more trouble than it was worth. The user who had never used a budgeting app stated the same impression, as well as a lack of trust of apps collecting financial information.
LET'S PLAN IT OUT
We began with a long list of features we wanted to implement, but we quickly realized that it would be more effective to target a specific goal. Additionally, we moved away from the classic budgeting app, realizing that there was no real need for another budgeting app. Ultimately, we decided to centre the app around tracking a user’s steps and calculating the ecological, financial, and health effects. This required virtually no user input or otherwise effort on the user’s part, and targeted our desire to encourage sustainable habits.
A social aspect was implemented in the form of the ability to form groups and view leaderboards. Since our main demographic was youth and young people, we knew these groups are particularly fuelled by social incentive and competition.
KEY FEATURES & SCREENS
ONBOARDING - ESTABLISHING AND EXPRESSING OUR VOICE
As the designer on my team, I paid particular attention to the voice of Step by Step. I wanted the content to feel cohesive, and expressive, and clear.
This manifested in my design of the onboarding experience. I wanted this particular screen to remind the user of the importance of their actions and establish a friendly, conversational tone.
OVERVIEW - TAKE A LOOK AT THE IMPACT YOU'VE MADE
The main interface is focused on quickly communicating pertinent information. I decided to use icons for each element so the user could grasp the figures almost instantly.
I again adopted a positive and friendly tone. We were determined to utilize positive reinforcement to encourage users to build positive habits, rather than aggression and prsesure.
GROUPS - ENGAGE IN SOME FRIENDLY COMPETITION
The groups feature taps into social incentive, allowing the user to form groups and view leaderboards. We again used icons to immediately convey pertinent information without cluttering the interface.
While sustainability isn’t a contest, a little push from your friends can’t hurt!
SheHacks was a fun, tiring, and ultimately amazing weekend. It was incredibly humbling and inspiring to work alongside such capable and motivated young women. I’m hopeful for the future of diversity in technology, and I’m so grateful for everyone involved in the hackathon for allowing myself and my peers such a unique experience.
My team won Best FuturFund Financial Literacy Sprint Hack, as well as runner-up for BMO’s Perfect Pitch. Our unique perspective on financial literacy helped our project stand out from over 40 submissions. I’m always motivated by the recognition of young people and our ideas, and I’m so grateful for the judges for believing in us.
WHAT I LEARNED & WHAT'S NEXT
While we were unable to fully develop this app under our original time constraint, I’m interested in taking a look into actually incorporating APIs like HealthKit, if only just as a personal project and learning experience.
Design-wise, there are definitely visual aspects that could be improved upon, especially in terms of information hierarchy. The entire user flow can be refined to create a more seamless and functional experience. I’m especially interested in conducting further research to iterate upon the concept, as I am super passionate about sustainability and would love to see the potential for our project.
We are so lucky to have received the support of FuturFund, who have encouraged us to continue to build upon our project, as well as an opportunity to present the concept at a future event. Through this project, I learned the value of looking at problems from a perhaps unexpected perspective and deriving creative yet functional solutions. I also explored UX writing for the first time, as well as rapid prototyping with code.