In 2015, one of South Africa’s leading banks embarked on a digital journey to develop a global platform and strategy that would enable them to expand into the emerging African markets.

I was part of a critical project to design a feature that would let customers easily transfer money internationally.

To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted confidential information and have used material available in the public domain. All information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of Standard Bank.

The challenge

Our goal was to deliver a compact feature on the existing banking app and online banking platform. We had to compete with the existing benchmark set by competitors already in the market. The project was marked as a high profile feature and had a history of technical challenges.

Our high-level goals were:

  • Deliver a minimum viable product for the first release
  • Make the payment flow as simple as possible
  • Reveal complexity progressively
  • Demystify bank jargon
International Payments on mobile app
Image from Standard Bank website showcasing the new International Payments feature.

My role

As an experience designer on an agile delivery team, I was responsible for crafting the experience of the entire feature on the mobile banking app (iOS and Android). This involved leveraging existing research as well as conducting primary research with customers. It also involved understanding the bank’s technology stack and services. Lastly, I was responsible for designing within the evolving design system, conforming to standards and creating new ones. 

My primary focus was wire-framing, prototyping, and testing using an iterative design process.

A large portion of my role involved interviewing customers and letting them experiment with prototypes. I did this to bridge the gap that existed between the development team and the end customer. Communicating these findings to my team and stakeholders became very beneficial.

Product owner reviewing flow
Product Owner and Product Manager reviewing first draft of a flow.

Process

Our team followed a dual track agile methodology.

Each 2-week design sprint marked incremental improvements to the feature’s flow until minimum viable product (MVP) was achieved. I used a variety of UX tools including Axure, Sketch, Invision, Omnigraffle, UsabilityHub, Optimal Sort, Lookback, Mr Tappy, and many more.

My primary focus was wire-framing, prototyping, and testing using an iterative design process.

A large portion of my role involved interviewing customers and letting them experiment with prototypes. I did this to narrow the gap that existed between the development team and the end customer. Communicating these findings to my team and stakeholders became very beneficial.

Photo of feature live on mobile banking app
Photo of feature live on mobile banking app iOS (Left) Android (Right).

A Colossal Release

International payments went live in the May 2016 app release.

The release was described by the Head of Product and Design, as a massive feat achieved by SBG, particularly due to the enablement of international payments as well as the release of four new apps into other African countries. 

The strategic value of international payments coupled with a global rollout is a massive win for Standard Bank and all of its customers.