As I recently moved to Philadelphia and rented an apartment with another girl, managing my expenses has become one of my concerns lately. Enter Splitwise! I was aware of this application but had never downloaded it, as I didn’t have to really manage my expenses before! (Perks of living with Indian Parents, haha).

Splitwise is a free tool available for people to track their expenses and share their bills. The application not only improves efficiency but also helps people by making fewer mistakes. As James Garret stated -User experience works around the psychology and behavior of users- this application works on similar lines. It provides us with options that our mind would definitely be working around otherwise. For example, my roommate and I split the groceries every week. One pays and the other puts it on Splitwise to understand how much do we exactly owe each other.

While paying any X amount of money, our prime concern is to know how much is our share or in other cases, how much money has the opposite person borrowed from us.

Smartly, the application provides us with 5 ways of splitting the money as well as provides us with an option of personalizing the division of a bill.

This facility, in my opinion, is the smoothest option provided by Splitwise.

It not only saves time but also keeps a track of the money owed, borrowed and paid. At the end of every week, the application emails a weekly review of how much money has been spent and settled between people. Don Norman talks about a ‘good design’ in his book and I feel that this application does justice to the same. The designers, in this case, have understood the human needs, capabilities and behavior prior to focusing on the aesthetics and functionality of the application. A user’s mental model dictates the design of this application thus creating a productive and hassle-free experience.

Talking about ‘experience’, I think by far I have had the worst one when it comes to interacting with an ATM. The transactions in India are a bit less cashless than what it is in the United States and thus you would find yourself running to the ATM pretty often.

In my opinion, the user experience of ATMs in India is not really the best. I had done a detailed analysis of 7 atms to study what can be improved in the functionality of their interfaces. After reading the ‘Design of Everyday things’, I am now clear about the missing key components in those ATMs.

Money transaction is the main focus of an Automated teller machine. As a user experience designer, the focus should be on building the trust of people when dealing with such interfaces. Because, if the product fails in dealing with your monetary transaction, you would never want to risk it and make use of that facility again.

For instance: Some ATMs asked me for my card pin before I even inserted my card into the slot. This request made me feel skeptical and eventually I did not wish to provide such details for no reason. There was no way to go back or refresh, just buttons placed on the side of the screen. The semiotics to do so were missing.

The interface of an ATM provides the affordance of clicking and navigating to your desired option.  But it lacked signifiers leaving me confused and irritated.

After completing the transaction, the interface did not provide me with any feedback- if it was done, if I should remove the card, or if my request was under process. This was another step that created anxiety as I had entered a pretty big amount and I was worried as to what was happening behind the scenes! Thus, the lack of 'Feedback' left me perplexed.

With reference to Don Norman's teachings, I feel the interface lacked mapping, signifiers and gave more of inaffordances thus leading to a complete disappointment.

Good Design VS Bad Design

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