While many industries have seen an amazing change in their meta thanks to UX and application development, FinTech remains a difficult industry to approach and revolutionise. There are several contributing factors to this state of affairs, the most prominent being financial regulations. Unlike most other industries, the financial sector remains highly regulated and these regulations change quite drastically between the borders of both time and space (i.e.: year to year and within different countries, states, etc).
This means that anyone getting into the FinTech space, generally needs to approach it with a battery of lawyers and accountants, or have themselves mired in tons of documentation that will keep them from designing anything at all at least for a good year or so.
What is FinTech?
FinTech or Financial Technology is a blanket term used to describe the applications, algorithms and sometimes even hardware that helps users to perform financial tasks through the use of technology. This can be everyday tasks such as checking your bank account or transfering money, to more complex concepts such as crypto based investments.
Many banks and businesses rely on FinTech, as do many consumers even though you may not even realise it. Everytime you use your bank's mobiles app, or venmo some cash to your buddies, or pay for a taxi with a card stored on your ride app, or even tap your phone to pay for your groceries without having to whip out your card - are all examples of FinTech in action.
UX Design Challenges in FinTech
This one ensures that no FinTech product you build will be truly borderless. Depending on how many countries or sometimes even states within a country, you are hoping to launch your app, you may find that certain revisions have to be made to accommodate different regulations in different markets.
Secondly, FinTech applications have a host of security requirements and protocols that other applications may not have. UX designers have to take these into account in order to minimise fraud, data breaches, or identity theft.
Given the first two challenges, you can think that the complexity arising from those would be sufficient to make the most experienced UX engineer take a step back and reach for some coffee... but FinTech applications come with an additional layer of complexity considering their features. Given the handling of finances and financial data most FinTech applications are complicated by nature. A UX engineer has to work around multiple functions and features and figure out how to best include them all in a way that doesn't overwhelm the user.
Bringing UX to FinTech
Even with the challenging nature of FinTech app development, there are several things we can do to improve the UX of these apps.
The financial industry is full of complex jargon and processes. It's important to remember that while these help the industry to function, they don't belong in your application. As a UX engineer you need to shield your user from the technicalities of FinTech while providing them access to its features. This helps to build trust with users who won't be as comfortable navigating the heavy jargon of the financial industry.
Keep your UIs clean and minimalistic. Display only critical information in your UIs, and don't let them become cluttered. Keep UIs interactive and allow users to progress step by step, providing only the information they need to complete each step of a task.
Many FinTech apps have several form based interfaces that are typically difficult for users to navigate and use. Customising the inputs for these forms such as date pickers or number pads where relevant makes a users life easier.
Help users to understand what happens in an interface when they click a button. For example if they are doing a bank transfer, the button should say 'Transfer' and not 'Submit to reduce confusion.
Ensure that users have access to instructions whenever they need it. However these instructions shouldn't come at the cost of a clean UI. Instead they need to be accessible when required, and not unless.
Many people eschew the use of desktop applications in favour of mobile. You need to understand your user demographic and ensure that your FinTech application has a mobile version that can complete the same tasks that they expect from a desktop application with the same level of ease.
The FinTech industry, while posing many challenges to good UX, possesses much needed and commonly used applications. Given the interest being generated in this sector, it is a happening and profitable space to stake your claim. A good UX engineer has to focus on overcoming these challenges while designing an application that provides the consumer with powerful features that remain easy to use.