What Does a UX/UI Designer in Fintech Do?
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Learn more about the opportunities, responsibilities, and salaries of UX/UI designers in the financial technology sector here.
In 1994, Bill Gates famously said “banking is necessary; banks are not.” Nowhere is this more evident than in the fintech sector where the rise of user-friendly, intuitive, and accessible financial services technologies have forced legacy banks to up their game.
Today, around 89% of all consumers use mobile banking, according to a Business Insider Intelligence Study, with 91% of users preferring mobile banking to going to a branch. Research from Capgemini found that the three main reasons people switch to from legacy banks to fintech services is because of lower costs, ease of use, and faster service.
Throughout the fintech revolution, UX/UI designers have played a key role in improving accessibility and using design to both address the pain points customers normally have when using banking services, while also building and maintaining trust. Understanding the importance of design in attracting and retaining customers, both fintech startups and big banks are snapping up UX/UI design talent to help give their products and services a competitive edge. This rise in demand has led to more job openings in fintech, higher salaries, and exciting opportunities to shape the way people understand and manage their money.
How Is UX/UI Design Used in Fintech?
At its core, UX/UI design in fintech isn’t too different from UX/UI design in other industries—the ultimate goal is to create a positive user experience that will lead to stronger user engagement, retention, and, depending on the product or service, conversion. But the specific applications of UX/UI design can differ greatly, and in fintech, where customer’s finances are involved, the stakes can be high.
Below are some of the ways in which UX/UI design is deployed in fintech.
- Just enough friction. Most UX/UI design tries to reduce user friction as much as possible. But in fintech, where a user’s wealth is on the line, a bit of friction is actually a good thing. “Increasing user fiction for specific tasks is a pillar of fintech UX design,” according to technical researcher Sean McGowan, who said that without proper safeguards against errant taps, users could perform accidental financial transactions. “The inherent appeal of fintech is the ease of use,” McGowan said, “but it cannot be so effortless that it is easy for users to make mistakes with their money.” This is where it’s crucial for UX designers to understand user behavior and strike a balance between user-friendliness and having just enough friction to protect the user from unwanted accidents.
- Building trust. “Users, especially ones who are not digital natives, are going to be much more reluctant to entrust an app with control over their finances,” Sean McGowan said. Even those familiar with finance apps will need to know that they can trust a service before they grant access to their personal information. This is where a UX designer’s understanding of user psychological and user-centered design can be transformative. Whether the fintech product or service is for banking, investing, budgeting, or advising, users will need “near constant reassurance and validation” that their data is secure and that the transactions they’ve performed have actually gone through—all of which can be achieved through strong design.
- Onboarding. No matter how thoughtfully designed or easy-to-use a fintech product or service, there is inevitably an onboarding process that requires the collection of financial data, identity verification, and anti-money launder checks that mean potential customers might have to wait a few days before they can begin using an account. The onboarding process can be time-consuming and overwhelming, which is why UX designers play an important role in making the onboarding experience manageable. Some of the design strategies used include breaking up the “registration steps into small chunks,” according to product designer Jessica Lascar. “Doing so will make the whole process a lot more digestible and provide the proper mental space to focus on the answers.”
- Simplifying and delighting. Fintech is “more than digitizing a bank,” according to Lascar. “It’s about providing a better experience.” This means that a large part of the fintech UX/UI designer’s job lies in addressing existing banking pain points such as making financial jargon less intimidating, visualizing financial information, making frequently performed actions easier and more intuitive, and, depending on the app, incorporating sound effects, graphics, and conversational language to delight customers.
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Fintech UX/UI Designer Job Roles/Responsibilities
Most UX/UI designers bring technical design skills to the table such as the ability to conduct and make sense of user research; wireframing and prototyping; interactive design; visual communication; information architecture; and proficiency with tools such as Sketch, Invision Studio, Proto.io, Webflow, Balsamiq, and Axure. And while these skills might help a designer build a visually appealing homepage or app, fintech UX designers need to also understand users’ priorities and have some domain knowledge.
For example, UX designers in fintech need to have some knowledge of the regulatory landscape to ensure that their designs are in compliance and don’t create any potential problems for the user or company. “Usually, fintech companies have a legal department that keeps everybody up to date about current and upcoming regulations,” according to product designer Julia Bondarenko. “However, it might not always be the case, or they might think that there is nothing to do with design. Do your research.”
As far as users’ priorities are concerned, UX designers in fintech need to understand user psychology well enough to know what information should be displayed prominently and how it can best be visualized. “Allowing users to view their finances in a graphically meaningful way is one of the most useful things fintech products offer,” according to the founder of a UX design agency, Adam Fard. “It allows us to have a better understanding of our earnings, expenses, and the relationship between them.”
Some of the key responsibilities of UX/UI designers at fintech organizations include:
- Conducting and/or using user research to understand what issues/pain-points users face when they engage with banking of financial services platforms
- Conducting design experiments and A/B testing, listening to user feedback, and staying on top of industry trends to develop user-centered design solutions
- Understanding the goals and desired calls-to-action of an organization’s fintech platform and finding ways to meet those goals while still advocating for the user
- Designing a consistent user experience across mobile devices and desktop platforms
- Collaborating with UX researchers, data scientists, information architects, marketers, and engineers to test, iterate, and launch products and services that satisfy stakeholders
Fintech UX/UI Designer Salary
Among hiring managers, UX/UI design is one of the top five most in-demand skills, according to a LinkedIn report, with the demand expected to rise throughout 2021. As banks, financial services, and startups continue to digitize and compete for customers by being more accessible, user-friendly, and trustworthy, UX/UI designers are only going to see more opportunities available in fintech and finance.
UX/UI designer salaries are typically determined by education, years of experience, location, and organization type. As of 2021, the average base salary of an entry-level UX/UI designer in fintech is around $96,604. The average base salary of a senior-level UX/UI designer in fintech is around $124,040.
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