Developing the User Interface


#1

I love using Starling as a bank, but the app leaves a lot to be desired. The non-customisable homescreen with a circle that has zero functionality unless you’re doing multiple transactions every day (and even then, not much use, as you mostly remember what you bought today). The latest warning about downtime had a huge button in the middle that took you out of the app to a fairly irrelevant website page but only a tiny greyed-out ‘x’ in the top left corner to close it, that I literally had to hunt around the screen for. This app is meant to be designed for mobile users, but so much of the functionality requires clicking at the top left or right for important things from the homescreen hamburger menu to the ‘back’ arrow in the spending screen (i.e. where people can’t reach with their thumb on most phones).

It’s worth considering how people will be using your product and designing around that. Go to a goal and try to work out how to withdraw money from it without playing around with buttons - you can’t! I shouldn’t need to remember quirks of the user interface in order to do basic things in the app. I’m using Starling because the functions are generally there (though topping up is a mess- I know you’re working on that) and the app is fast. But it’s worth doing more user testing to get the interface to where it needs to be for one-handed operation on current generation smartphones.

Summary of suggestions (keep scrolling for more info)
Suggestion 1: Add a Withdraw button to Goals
Suggestion 2: Add a bottom menu to Android, like on iPhone
Suggestion 3: Prioritise development of a customisable Pulse
Suggestion 4: Rearrange service notifications


#2

I have no problems. Hold phone in one hand and tap with a finger from the other when accessing menus, when typing text (like now) cradle phone between two hands and type using both thumbs (each using half the qwerty/qwertz/йцукен keyboard). Where I see potential problems is if you trying to use a short thumb instead of long finger buy have an oversized (plus size) screen. Just as you adapt your driving style when behind a Ferrari or a Combine Harvester, so you need to adapt your screen use to match your device or an app (particularly where some apps from necessity have to change layout or menus to add additional functionality)


#3

I have no problems as I hold my phone in one hand and tap with a finger from the other when accessing menus, and when typing text (like now) I cradle my phone between two hands and type using both thumbs (each using half the qwerty/qwertz/йцукен keyboard).

Where I see potential problems is if you are trying to use a short thumb instead of a long finger but have an oversized (plus size) screen.

Just as you adapt your driving style when behind a Ferrari or a Combine Harvester, so you need to adapt your screen use to match your device or an app (particularly where some apps from necessity have to change layout or menus to add additional functionality)


#4

Try juggling shopping and a phone or looking after a toddler while trying to transfer money from your account. I’m not on a plus size phone, but my normal sized thumb reaches about 2/3 up my standard phone. I’m talking about real world situations, not using your phone at a desk or on the couch.


#5

Regardless, some of these issues aren’t related to screen size, they’re just features that could be made more salient on screen. I work in user experience online and the Starling app makes me cringe. I’m not trying to attack their app, I just want a usable, intuitive experience which is easy to understand and use.


#6

Create some mockups on how you would improve the UI and share with us :slight_smile:


#7

OK, will do! Thanks :slight_smile:


#8

Sorry, @Mirow. As a Starling Guru, your reply does rather read as though rather defensively dismissing the valid comments politely made by @chris_dagorne. I appreciate that you may just have been trying to be constructive but I think you may lack impartiality.

The comment about the (largely useless) circle on the home screen could easily be fixed by having an option as to whether people wish to see it or go straight into the transactions. I’ve suggested this as constructive feedback, before.

I agree with the comments about positioning of items on the screen, and the maintenance notice. All valid points. Yes, as @mirow says, you can modify behaviour to overcome the poor design, but why make people work harder?

I’ve also found that the interface is poorly designed for the iPhone X screen. Perhaps it works better on other models.


#9

Awesome - look forward to seeing them


#10

Hi @chris_dagorne! We’re keen to hear any feedback you have, if you have any suggestions, just let me know and I’ll put them forward!


#11

My comments are just my personal opinion, and we all have our own perspective. Personally I find the circle on start up detailing our expenditure that day as useless as square tyres for my car


#12

beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What you see as poor I personally like. HOWEVER I am a bit supporter of user customization, as there is no right or wrong layout just different user perspectives.

For me one big plus would be if Starling had a toggle to turn in/off the spending piechart (and indeed if competitor Monzo could toggle their line graph on or off).


#13

I like your take on practicability. Sometimes we’re too close to see a better way. Timely and helpful response from @SarahDeakin, too, so let’s see where this takes us eh?

A lot could come of this thread. @chris_dagorne, now you’ve got everyone’s attention, why not rename it “Developing the UI”. Sounds more positive that way (just a thought😉).


#15

“Starling and The Kid” - that’s got something about it.

Give the wire-frame thing your best shot, Chris. You may regret offering :grinning:


#16

I think the landing screen looks nice, easy on the eye, but the big circle offers me no benefit and I often ignore it, so I agree, for some people its a pointless feature that could be replaced with something of more value (I have no idea what that could be though), however I find the balance and overdraft usage on top is vital for a quick glance at my account.


#17

Let me help you: the transactions.

Starling’s insistence on a largely useless graph getting in the way of what people really want to see (the transactions) is akin to web design of the late 1990s where it was en vogue to have a splash page prior to the content people came for.

When it comes to mobile design it seems we’re destined to repeat the mistakes of web design.


#18

I do think you have a point about looks over functionality. I’ve noticed a lot of new fintech services are placing more importance on looks over functions which is frustrating. The fundamentals seem to get forgotten along the way.

I don’t know if I would say that about starling. You could maybe argue the fingerprint implementation is a bit lazy. You maybe have a point when it comes to the pulse functionality which could do with being fleshed out a bit more but I presume that is coming at some point in the future.

I think it’s important to remember how much starling has achieved in so little time. If you look at it that way, then you can be a lot more forgiving.


#19

I’d much rather see transactions when I first open the app, similar to how Monzo and Revolut work. The circle thing (I’m new to starling and dont really know what it is, but Im guessing its a kind of graphical overview) is of no use to me personally and just means one extra step to see what I want.


#20

Monzo are departing from their transaction list and putting a horrible graph at the top, equally useless but a line graph instead of a pie chart


#21

@Ryan I completely agree. Looks are important, but so is functionality, that circle may be useful for 80% of the users though, so I am happy to overlook it if this is the case. But this is what I like about Starling, we have a forum to communicate these things, and with a high possibility of receiving feedback - would never get that with the high street banks!