Oro prototyping

Design, Mobile Apps, User Experience

Oro is an app used for sending of funds anywhere in the world. Originally the app was supposed to transfer funds directly to unique cards that you could mail to your family. You would avoid many fees, as well as shifty business practices involved with sending of money over seas, like corrupt handlers that may force people to pay a chunk of money to receive the rest of their sum.

My role with the Oro app through Post+Beam was to research much of the process, how integration with the Ripple API for money transfers would work, wireframe and prototype, work with a designer and developer to build the initial prototype and subsequent builds of the platform. Since it’s difficult to show research, I will show some highlights from the wire-framing and prototyping phases for the mobile app. I have omitted some of the more sensitive areas of research and development, but I believe you can get a fairly good idea of how much planning and work went into this phase of the project.

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Sign up is one of the first areas where our experience needed to differ from other experiences. A single type of signup was not possible, as we would have two types of users, those that wanted to send money, and those that wanted to receive (you could also sign up to do both). How would those users differ from each other? Why was that differentiation important?

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Social integration also needed to be a factor for messaging people when money was on its way, adding contacts, and generally making sure the app was more connected to your network. Social integration was one step in reducing work of having to ask your family members for their emails or other information to get them to sign up for the app. If they were already on Facebook then an aggravating step in getting people to sign up would be removed. UX win!

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Connecting of bank accounts or credit cards would also need to be possible. I have omitted some of this information for privacy purposes, but I spent a large deal of time sorting out how we would connect to various banking and credit card institutions. Who was doing interfacing with multiple financial institutions well? What was wrong with those processes? How could we do it better?

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So, let’s assume at this point that you’re all signed up and you’re a person sending money. You’ve already added the appropriate contacts as well. How do you send money? How do you handle currency conversion? How would the Ripple API help usher this process? What about recurring currency sends? These are all things that needed to be carefully considered and user tested.

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Oddly enough, this currency conversion piece, as well as sorting out and displaying the fees and charges in an appropriate way to the user became one of my favourite user experience design pieces that I worked on in the app. Considering I’m not one for math, that surprised me.

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Again, this recurring payment process was another area that I had a lot of fun working out. Would it be similar to other interfaces like this people were used to, like from Outlook and Google Calendars? How would it fit in that tiny screen?

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There was also an in-depth (on our side) process that needed to be sorted out for if family and friends decided to swap or give away cards. How did the app handle that? Could you register a card in the app to someone else? Of course you could! How would that be handled?

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Sometimes my visual side gets to have a little fun with the prototyping phases of things too. We knew all along that the Oro app was going to be colourful and diverse in visuals, but how did we let users customize that?

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I’ve always hated in iMessages that you can’t mark a message as unread. This is a fairly common need. Here was an opportunity to right that wrong!

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The messaging side of our Oro app also needed to be able to handle in context functions. If you’re having a conversation and then sending money, doesn’t it matter to you what happened with that money? What if someone could instantly thank you, send a photo, or more? What if they could alter the state of their cards, request or send money, right from the messages area? Social interaction was a large part of the things we needed to explore.

0707_OroPrototypeWires_v05_Page_34That concludes about all I can show you from the Oro wire-framing and prototyping process. I hope that you were able to gleam something from it or otherwise enjoy. There was a lot of research, thinking and work that went into the entire process, and it was a lot of fun!