The talk is structured in three parts:
1. The job of a UX professional in the financial services industry
2. The trading floor work environment and its impact on UX work
3. Closing user experience design considerations
Posts in category 'Financial'
The talk is structured in three parts:
In developing world countries like Kenya, the technology to do this has been around for several years – and you do not need a bank account to use it.
M-Pesa launched in 2007, and there are now nearly 100 services like it around the world, mainly in developing countries.
Can the developed world learn from Kenya’s experience with the mobile wallet?
The BBC’s Fiona Graham finds out.
“For a technology company, Mobile Money is remarkably low-tech. Only the tiniest amount of bandwidth is necessary for a financial transaction, and it doesn’t need to be instant – the store and forward of SMS is perfectly good enough. There are a number of technologies used in Mobile Money, including USSD, SIM toolkit, Java and plain old voice through IVR – which is great for places with an illiterate population. None of these technologies are new. The barriers to Mobile Money are business models and logistics.
So while it might seem that Mobile Money is just another ecosystem in Nokia’s service strategy, look closer and you find that Mobile Money is a peculiarly good fit.”
The report outlines major trends and main obstacles for increased use as well as key opportunities and potential for scaling-up mobile applications. It draws on secondary data and statistics as well as field work carried out in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya during 2008 and 2009.
It identifies relevant applications in an East African context for reaching and empowering the poor and contribute to social and economic development. The identified mobile applications range from small pilots to scaled-up initiatives – from simple agricultural, market or health information services to fairly advanced financial and government transaction services.
From the executive summary:
“The ‘killer application’ in East Africa is peer to peer communication, i.e. voice, SMS and beeping. The number of subscribers who use their phones to access internet is however steadily growing, which opens up for a whole range of new applications and possibilities. Many of the existing SMS based applications that could benefit the poor the most are still in their infancy in the region. A few successful cases, namely mobile money transaction systems and various health related solutions are being used at scale, but the fact remains that the number of scaled-up mobile services are still few and/or limited geographically.
So, what hinders the take off of mobile applications for economic and social development in East Africa?
- First the cost of communication must go down – SMS is very overpriced and so is voice and data traffic.
- Secondly, many applications and services never reach out to the masses due to poor marketing and the non-existing meta data about the available applications. Subscribers must know what solutions are available, why and how to use them. This will lead to volumes intensive which will eventually lower the price of the particular service. In other words, there is a huge need for marketing (of the product) and education (for the end user) in order to make mobile applications sustainable.
- Thirdly, many interventions are not designed with scale in mind. Few implementers are familiar with all the costs involved and seen from a technological point of view, the requirements on networks and different requirements on handsets and end-users that mobile applications have must be understood better.
Despite these challenges, we are witnessing a small revolution regarding new applications and services added to the mobile phone.
Some high potential application areas include financial services and various governance related services. After successful implementations of mobile money services in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and most recently in Rwanda, m-banking is set to grow. As it grows, there will be an integration of m-transactions systems into existing applications and services and m-commerce in general will thereby take off rapidly and widespread. Public service delivery can be improved by integrating services with m-transactions and facilitating interaction between the state and its citizens.”
“Textual and technical illiteracy is often cited as a barrier to the adoption of services and by default the benchmark for success is often set at ‘understanding and completing the task by oneself’. However if there are ‘literate’ people nearby to what extent does it matter that the user is illiterate?
‘Mediated use’ is simply recognising that part or all of a task or process is mediated through others.
The article devotes particular attention to Kiva.org, a San Francisco-based peer-to-peer (P2P) non-profit, which uses the principles of social networking to connect individual or group lenders to entrepreneurs via microfinance institutions (MFIs) around the world, and Zopa.com, a British matchmaker for borrowers and lenders.
“Just as eBay shook offline retail to its foundations, P2P lending models such as Kiva, though still marginal, threaten to disrupt high-street banking. Although the public’s faith in banks has been damaged and credit remains hard to come by, evidence suggests that a new trust-based economy is proving more efficient than traditional lending. [...]
If P2P finance has yet to prove scalable or profitable, it’s also true that, not so long ago, the same was said of other web ventures which went on to change the world.”
CGAP is an independent policy and research center dedicated to advancing financial access for the world’s poor, housed at the World Bank.
His first post, which obviously deals with the topic of mobile banking in emerging markets, is just an introduction, but we will surely follow his contributions.
“It works like this: you pay cash to your local agent – often at the nearest corner shop, if you live in a city – who then tops up your mobile money account using a secure form of SMS text messaging. That money can be transferred to another person by sending an SMS to their cellphone account. People without mobile money accounts can receive payments in the form of a text code which can be forwarded to their local agent, who exchanges it for cash.
The system relies on what is known as the unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) system that is built into the GSM cellphone network. It is USSD that allows pay-as-you-go customers to find out their credit balance, for example.”
The World Bank’s CGAP and DFID, the UK Department for International Development, undertook a six-month scenario-building project in which almost 200 experts from more than 30 countries helped answer the question “How can government and private sector most affect the uptake and usage of branchless banking among the unserved majority by 2020?”
CGAP/DFID identified identified four forces most likely to shape the answers:
• The changing demographics of users
• The actions of increasingly activist governments
• Rising crime
• The spread of Internet access via data-enabled phones even in poor countries and communities
They also isolated four key uncertainties with important effects but uncertain outcomes:
• Which types of entities will be allowed to provide branchless financial services?
• Will providers craft viable business models for services beyond payments?
• How will competition play out?
• How will consumer, business, and regulator confidence be affected by the inevitable failures that will happen?
The work culminated in the CGAP/DFID Branchless Banking Scenarios 2020 Focus Note, that presents four scenarios that interweave these forces and uncertainties in different settings to produce very different trajectories over the next 10 years.
A video discussion with the authors and some of the leaders in mobile and branchless banking was held in Washington, DC in December 2009; you can watch the archived video here.
“We seek to create a community of practice and inquiry into the everyday uses and meanings of money, as well as examining the technological infrastructures being developed as carriers of mainstream and alternative currencies worldwide.
Money costs money for people who are extremely poor and who have limited or no access to banks or credit. For many of the world’s poor, fees for financial services and transactions seriously limit their ability to use or share what little money they have. People have long taken whatever is ready-to-hand to serve the functions of money, from livestock to jewelry, and have used different relationships and objects to help them save, store, and transfer wealth. Today, new communications technologies are being added to this complex ecology of money. This ranges from sharing airtime minutes as an alternative currency, to using mobile phones and point-of-sale terminals for accessing banking institutions, or even as independent systems for saving, storing and transferring wealth.”
The 2010 Annual Report discusses IMTFI’s research in 2008-09 and presents 11 design principles on the creation and implementation of saving services for the poor.
“[In Kenya] with a mobile phone, one can pay electricity and water bills, pay for goods at the supermarket, buy airline or bus tickets, withdraw money from an ATM, monitor stocks, and even check bank account balances. [...]
While ordinary Kenyans are quite happy about the hassles the service has spared them, such as long lines, local banks are not amused. [...]
Safaricom recently extended M-PESA services to Britain, allowing Kenyans there to send money to relatives back home. Plans are said to be under way to take it to the United States, too.”
“Think about what lies within the system of banking: people and businesses. Now, do banks do anything to “connect” people and businesses to facilitate transactions amongst and between people and businesses? When was the last time your bank actually helped you do the following:
- Solve a problem not having to do with a transaction
- Introduced you or your business to others who may need your product or service
- Provided you with new information or knowledge that helped you or your business be more productive
- Helped you or your business grow revenue, besides lending money for you to do it yourself
- Helped you find relevant and relative resources that you need
The answer to these questions is a bank simply doesn’t do any of these things, at least not consistently and as a regular part of their relations with customers.”
What next after the Mobile revolution in Kenya?
by John Karanja
MPESA will be on its own a major driver of the economic expansion of the Kenyan economy and best of all it will take a bottom up approach because it will empower the mama mboga (woman grocer) by allowing her to manage her finances efficiently.
[Now] MPESA needs to move from a payment system to a payment gateway: Safaricom should develop MPESA into a platform where other software developers can build applications on top of the platform an thereby increase utility and reach of this technology.
(Make sure to check the embedded videos)
Nokia Life Tools – a life-changing service?
by James Beechinor-Collins
Recently we saw the release of a bunch of new entry level devices and alongside their launch in Indonesia, was the introduction of Nokia Life Tools for Indonesia. This follows an already successful launch in India and Africa and forms part of a rollout across select Asian and African countries. So does it make a difference? It would seem so, as our selection of videos below suggest. With over 50 per cent of the population in Indonesia reliant on agriculture to make a living, Nokia Life Tools brings a new level of control to them.
(Make sure to check the embedded videos)
Mythes et réalités des usages mobiles dans les pays en développement
[Myths and realities of mobile use in developing countries] – an article series in French
by Hubert Guillaud
Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3
Bangladeshis rush to learn English by mobile
By Maija Palmer in London and Amy Kazmin in New Delhi for the Financial Times
More than 300,000 people in Bangladesh, one of Asia’s poorest but fastest-growing economies, have rushed to sign up to learn English over their mobile phones, threatening to swamp the service even before its official launch on Friday.
The project, which costs users less than the price of a cup of tea for each three-minute lesson, is being run by the BBC World Service Trust, the international charity arm of the broadcaster. Part of a UK government initiative to help develop English skills in Bangladesh, it marks the first time that mobile phones have been used as an educational tool on this scale.
“Hang around a telecoms industry conference long enough and you start to get big-number fatigue – as one stack of seemingly impressive statistic blurs into the next. The numbers that have stuck with me over the years came from our research into the lives of the working illiterate: people who have jobs and want to keep them – spending time with people who work 16 hours days, 7 days a week with just a few days off per year is not uncommon. Who benefits more from the introduction of mobile money management services – a white-collar worker in New York City or a migrant manual labourer living out of a dormitory in Xi’an? For many access to mobile money services is a game-changer.
For practitioners working in this space (hei) the most useful section is likely to be on mobile phone practices and behaviours: covering mediated use from the perspective of customers; agents and the service providers themselves; charging; and multiple-SIM card practices.”
The December edition will focus on Mobile Money and Payment technologies for Africa.
Download magazine (November 2009)
It acts as an ‘emotion mirror’ in which the intensity of the user’s feelings is reflected.
Research shows that home investors do not act purely rationally: their behavior is influenced by emotions, most notably fear and greed, which can compromise their ability to take an objective, factual stance.
This insight led to the Rationalizer concept in which online traders are alerted when it may be wise to take a time-out, wind down and re-consider their actions.
Mobile tech as a tool for social development is making the front pages in 2009. They are hyped as panathea for global issues such as rural health in developing countries, poverty alleviation, making rural markets more efficient, and activism.
We have been working in this field since 2005 and have been leading industry analysist, with direct work in a number of areas such as elections and democratic participation. While we agree that mobile phones are revolutionizing the developing world, we think it is time to take a very honest and realistic look at the promises of mobile tech for development and social change, and where these promises are falling short — and of, course, why, and what to do about that.
We are starting the series off in our first part with a post by Ethan Zuckerman, a close friend and collaborator of MobileActive.org. He gives a thoughtful overview of some of the key issues that we will be dissecting throughout the month of October.
His reflections on the subject are based on a recent IDRC-sponsored day of conversations art Harvard’s Berkman Center, and why Rip van Winkle might be surprised, and possibly dismayed if he were to wake up now. They were first published on Publius.cc and are a response to A Dialogue on ICTs, Human Development, Growth, and Poverty Reduction, also published on the same site
Here is what you will hear more about in the coming weeks:
- A Penny for your SMS: The Cost of Mobile telephony in many developing countries: why it’s so high, what that does for social development projects, and why it does not have to be that way.
- The Perpetual Pilot Syndrome – and the issue of scale: Much has been said about the many mobile pilot projects that never go anywhere but end when the funding runs dry. We will critically examine the numbers, what it takes to scale, whether it’s desirable, and take a close look at the most recent hype of ‘horizontal scale’ ion mobiles in development.
- Mobiles for Open Societies? Much has been said and written about the power of mobiles in opening societies, enabling political participation, and engagement. We are taking this notion apart with a deeper exploration of key issues, going beyond the hype.
- Are Development Organizations Missing the Mobile Wagon (or just failing to ride it?) A critical discussion of the role development organizations have been playing in using mobile tech to advance their goals – and whhat is working, and what is not.
- What is the Role of Donors in M4D (if any)? After dissecting whether development orgs are helping or hindering the deployment of mobiles in the social sector, we turn to donors who have discovered mobile tech as their new fad, though are mostly pondering right now how to effectively fund mobiles in development.
- Mobile (In)Security will delve into how networks operate, who knows what about mobile communications, and what that means for activism, advocacy, and social development.
- Mobiles as a Male Enhancement Tool? A close look at the issues of mobile phones and women’s empowerment, both politically and economically.
- Do you have to read to use a mobile? As much as 20% of the global adult population is illiterate. Given the ubiquity of SMS services, as well as text-heavy interfaces, what does that mean for reaching the next billion uses (and serving those that already have a mobile but can not read) effectively?
- Mobile Payments for the Middle Class? We will, of course, take apart the most recent hype about mobile payments and who is benefitting most – as well as who is left behind, promotions in mainstream media notwithstanding.
- So, Realists, What’s Next? No series would be complete with the obligatory look into the future. We summarize key issues, and make some concrete recommendations on how to realistically and effectively think about, and do work, with mobile tech in social and human development and change.
“The weak dollar. A Federal Reserve constantly being second-guessed. It’s times like these when talk inevitably turns to alternative or complementary currencies. While local currencies have come and gone, many involved in social networks are hoping peer-to-peer (or P2P) virtual currencies will, given the momentum to retool the financial system, have more staying power.”
The article features Hub Culture, a social network of globetrotting adventure-travellers, and its digital currency Ven, which is pegged to the dollar, and allows members of the social network to trade goods and services as well as knowledge; as well as the Attent application by Seriosity, which uses a digital currency called “Serios”.
Also look at an earlier Experientia project, called KashKlash.
CGAP, the independent policy and research center dedicated to advancing financial access for the world’s poor, looked at M-PESA merchants in Kenya for clues about the profit drivers for agents .
“We studied 20 agents with 125 locations. We focused on small stores of the kind found in urban slums and rural areas, which make up the vast bulk of M-PESA agents. We spent 3 weeks in the field. What did we find?”