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Putting People First

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Posts in category 'Financial'

20 December 2008

Watch the video – Mobile Banking for Poor People: Pioneer Perspectives

cgap
Last week, the World Bank’s CGAP hosted a roundtable and webinar on the important topic of how mobile phone banking can deliver a range of financial services to poor people and change lives for the better (see also this blog post).

If you missed the presentations, or if you’d like to hear them again, you can now access the archived presentations and video.

Presentations: Building Agent Networks & Creating Regulatory Space

Video: Introduction and Sessions 1 & 2 and Session 3 (requires RealPlayer)

Introduction by Elizabeth Littlefield, CEO of CGAP

Session 1: Driving mass market customer usage
Moderator: Kabir Kumar (CGAP); Panelists: Brian Richardson (WIZZIT, South Africa), Bold Magvan (XacBank, Mongolia)

Session 2: Buildng a viable, motivated network of agents
Moderator: Mark Pickens (CGAP); Panelists: Nick Hughes (Vodafone Group), Sam Kamiti (Equity Bank, Kenya), Carl Johan Rosenquist (c/o Maldives Monetary Authority)

Session 3: Creating and taking advantage of regulatory space
Moderator: Tim Lyman (CGAP); Panelists: Rizza Maniego-Eala (Globe Telecom, Philippines), Abbas Sikander (Tameer Bank, Pakistan)

Here’s a great write-up of the sessions from Patrick Philippe Meier at Tufts.

13 December 2008

New institute to explore how world’s poor use technology to spend, store and save money

Kenya banking
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded UC Irvine a $1.7 million grant to create a new research institute focused on the growing use of mobile technology in providing banking and financial services to people in developing countries.

The Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion will be the first to explore how the world’s poorest people spend, store and save money. The institute will study how these habits are affected by the emerging mobile banking industry, known as “m-banking,” which could make financial services and the security they provide available to millions of poor people for the first time.

It also will fund research in developing countries, host conferences and provide scholarships to those who conduct such research. An archive on the emerging m-banking industry for use by researchers in the U.S. and around the world also is being planned. [...]

UCI anthropologist Bill Maurer will serve as the institute’s founding director. He is widely known for his research on the anthropology of money, finance, law and property.

The institute officially launched Thursday, Sept. 18, at the beginning of the “Everyday Digital Money” workshop, that Putting People First reported on earlier.

Read full story

28 November 2008

“Patenting will be seen as a limitation of human rights”

KashKlash
“Patenting will be seen as a limitation of human rights.”

“There are no cheaters ’cause in my system cheating is the most positive activity.”

“Faulty residents are charged with negligence and sent to live in ‘financially active’ communities.”

“[The will be] a never-ending variety of new richness values that makes the informal economy supremely superior to the current nonsensical cash culture.”

These are some quotes of people completing the anonymous KashKlash questionnaire. You can see all the results here.

KashKlash (see also here) is a lively public domain platform where you can debate future scenarios for economic and cultural exchange. Beyond today’s financial turmoil, what new systems might appear? Global/local, tangible/intangible, digital/physical? On the KashKlash site, you can explore potential worlds where traditional financial transactions have disappeared, blended, or mutated into unexpected forms. Understand the near future, and help shape it!

The questionnaire is still open and it takes five minutes to compile. Please fill it out.

And if you are a Facebooker, you can also go here.

20 November 2008

Why digital research is important in tough financial times

eDigitalResearch
Michelle Fuller, Director at eDigitalResearch, writes in the Financial Times on the user experience of online banking:

With the banking sector moving towards consolidation, it is crucial that customers are understood, reacted to and rewarded for their loyalty. With the UK office of national statistics estimating that almost half of the UK population is now banking online, the role of the website in the customer journey has never been more important to financiers.

Our best advice is for banks to follow the examples set by some of the big online giants who we monitor. When looking at several of our top-rated commercial online retailers, their sites are well optimised, regularly updated and contain clear content and strong usability.

Read full story

(via Usability News)

2 November 2008

Everyday Digital Money workshop at UC Irvine

Everyday Digital Money
The Department of Anthropology at the University of California at Irvine recently organised a workshop on innovation in digital money, entitled Everyday Digital Money.

The workshop examined this emerging, complex, and unevenly distributed landscape of digital money innovation from cultural, psychological, legal, artistic, technological, and industrial perspectives, in order to identify key topics for future research within and across disciplines; such as:

  • M-banking, m-payment, and electronic remittance systems
  • Design tradeoffs; e.g., security/accountability vs. accessibility/empowerment
  • Financial literacies and numeracies
  • Regulatory conflicts and opportunities
  • Formal and informal experimentation with new electronic moneys
  • Connections to physical and virtual mobilities

The workshop blog contains a lot of materials, including the presentation abstracts of each of the sessions:

Some papers and presentation slides are available on various websites, including

Further browsing unearthed additional resources such as:

8 September 2008

Intel navigating future moneyscapes

Jo
Digital technology is changing the everyday forms and experience of money. Cheryl Miller reports on the Research@Intel blog how field research by Intel’s People & Practices Research team identified key themes and opportunities for technological innovation.

The researchers presented their findings at the Day Zero press event for the Fall IDF conference.

They also created Navigating Future Moneyscapes, a comic-like scenario and personas to help convey their findings about the emerging global landscape digital money.

One size does not fit all

  • Monetary literacies: There is no single or “best” practice with which to locate money in daily life, and the changing financial landscape requires on-going reassessment and skill development.
  • Currency wrangling: People juggle public and private money forms (cash, credit and debit cards, loyalty points, airline miles, etc.) and create their own earmarked subdivisions.

People use money socially

  • Relational banking: People consume financial services, but also produce them in the form of loans, donations, and partnerships with family, friends, and valued groups.
  • Expressive consumption: Not just what we buy, but how we buy it, is an important part of constructing our individual, cultural, regional, and political identities.

The project seems to be quite related to another Intel initiative, with MA students in the Design Interactions Department at the Royal College of Art exploring the future of money when it disappears as a physical currency.

5 June 2008

A better ATM experience from Wells Fargo

Enter your PIN
Holger Struppek (a design director at Hot Studio and former senior interaction designer at Pentagram Design) shares on his Physical Interface (!) blog some design insights that went into Wells Fargo’s touchscreen ATM interface–a product freed from a major hardware-imposed restriction of the past.

“Wells Fargo hired Pentagram in the fall of 2005 to begin work on a new user interface for their ATMs. Wells Fargo was in the process of upgrading their ATMs with touchscreen monitors. This was a relatively slow process, since there are about 7,000 ATMs in the field, and any upgrades are expensive. But with the vast majority to be converted during 2007, this was the perfect time to create a fresh UI that would fully utilize the touchscreen capability.”

Read full story

(via Thinking & Making)

29 May 2008

ZIBA Design president on authenticity

Sohrab Vossoughi
Sohrab Vossoughi, founder and president of ZIBA Design, has published an article in Business Week on authenticity, with examples from the Umpqua Bank, Starbucks, and the Anthropologie clothing chain.

“Consumers seek meaning and a brand they can trust. They are busy at work on Web 2.0 platforms creating ways to cut through the noise in search of products and services that resonate with integrity and transparency; in a word, authenticity. That quest for authenticity is a call to action for any company intending to be relevant in the 21st century.”

“As the marketplace has shifted, so too must design. A single, beautifully designed product is nothing more than a beautiful object without the focused intent of a company that has taken the time to understand three things: the deep-seated desires of its customers, its own DNA, and the sweet spot where the two overlap.””

Read full story

9 May 2008

Paper is passe for tech-savvy South Koreans

Gifticon
Reuters report on mobile coupons and gifts in South Korea:

oung, tech-savvy South Koreans are making coupon clipping a thing of the past and turning to their mobile phones instead.

Some of the fastest-growing mobile phone services in the country let retailers send discount coupons and users send gift certificates for anything from lattes to movie tickets through their handsets.

The merchandise vouchers have a barcode embedded in the message. Users show the coupon on the screen and retailers scan the barcode to apply the discount. [...]

SK Telecom rolled out a service a little more than a year ago called a “gifticon” that allows users to send gift vouchers for items such as convenience store merchandise and pizzas via mobile phones. The sender is billed for the cost of the goods.

Read full story

3 May 2008

CHI 2008: a selection on mobile banking

CHI 2008 proceedings
Here is my selection on mobile banking related papers presented at CHI 2008.

(Papers are linked to their pdf downloads, if available.)

From meiwaku to tokushita!: lessons for digital money design from Japan [abstract]
Authors: Scott Mainwaring (Intel Research), Wendy March (Intel Research) and Bill Maurer (UC Irvine)
Abstract: Based on ethnographically-inspired research in Japan, we report on people’s experiences using digital money payment systems that use Sony’s FeliCa near-field communication smartcard technology. As an example of ubiquitous computing in the here and now, the adoption of digital money is found to be messy and contingent, shot through with cultural and social factors that do not hinder this adoption but rather constitute its specific character. Adoption is strongly tied to Japanese conceptions of the aesthetic and moral virtue of smooth flow and avoidance of commotion, as well as the excitement at winning something for nothing. Implications for design of mobile payment systems stress the need to produce open-ended platforms that can serve as the vehicle for multiple meanings and experiences without foreclosing such possibilities in the name of efficiency.

Human-Currency Interaction: learning from virtual currency use in China [abstract]
Authors: Yang Wang (UC Irvine) and Scott D. Mainwaring (Intel Research)
Abstract: What happens when the domains of HCI design and money intersect? This paper presents analyses from an ethnographic study of virtual currency use in China to discuss implications for game design, and HCI design more broadly. We found that how virtual currency is perceived, obtained, and spent can critically shape gamers’ behavior and experience. Virtual and real currencies can interact in complex ways that promote, extend, and/or interfere with the value and character of game worlds. Bringing money into HCI design heightens existing issues of realness, trust, and fairness, and thus presents new challenges and opportunities for user experience innovation.

UbiPay: conducting everyday payments with Minimum User Involvement [abstract]
Authors: Vili Lehdonvirta (Helsinki Institute for Information Technology), Hayuru Soma (Waseda University), Hitoshi Ito (Waseda University), Hiroaki Kimura (Waseda University) and Tatsuo Nakajima (Waseda University)
Abstract: As services embedded into public spaces become increasingly transparent, one peripheral aspect of use continues to demand explicit user attention: payment. UbiPay is a system that carries out small everyday payments in a way that minimises user involvement by choosing an interaction method based on context information. The aim is to make paying like breathing: something we are only peripherally aware of unless we exert our resources beyond the usual. This has powerful implications for business and design.

10 April 2008

MIT Media Lab and Bank of America announce Center for Future Banking

Future of banking
The MIT Media Laboratory and Bank of America today announced the creation of the Center for Future Banking, a five-year collaboration to which Bank of America has committed $3-5 million annually.

The new research center, which will be located at the Media Lab on the MIT campus, will [...] explore new ideas in banking by inventing technologies that reveal and leverage insights across a wide range of physical and social scales, from one-on-one customer interactions to global transactions. Researchers will address such questions as:”“How can every customer be empowered with the knowledge and tools to take better control of their financial futures?” “How will banking interactions evolve as a customer’s physical and virtual worlds become completely intertwined?” and “How will social networks and mobile platforms transform customers’ banking experiences, making it easier, more convenient, and better integrated with their daily lives?”. [...]

Professor Deb Roy, Chair of MIT’s academic program in Media Arts and Sciences and a pioneer in cognitive modeling, communication theory, and human-machine interaction, will serve as the Center’s Founding Director and Principal Investigator. “The Center sets the stage for potentially path-breaking research that will tap into core Media Lab capabilities and extend them in exciting new directions,” says Roy. “We will create a focus of intellectual energy that brings together researchers with radically different perspectives, including behavioral economists, social scientists, computer scientists, psychologists, designers, and others who share a passion for innovative thinking. It’s a recipe for producing unexpected new ideas that will trigger significant innovations in the world of banking.”

Read full story

(via a thousand tomorrows)

7 April 2008

Monday’s interviews at CHI 2008

CHI 2008
Luca Chittaro (blog), who covers the CHI 2008 conference in Florence for Novà, the innovation supplement of Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy’s business newspaper, continues his hectic schedule of interviews:

It’s all about the (digital) money
Interview with Scott Mainwaring (Intel Research)
Be they US dollars, Euros or Yens, paper bills are becoming anachronistic, as we use more and more credit cards, smart cards or even completely virtual currencies such as Linden Dollars in Second Life. But is this increase in the type and form of payments confusing for people? How do designers should approach topics like digital payments and virtual currencies?These and many other issues concerning digital money are being investigated by a collaboration among different researchers which include Scott Mainwaring and Wendy March (Intel Research), Bill Maurer and Yang Wang (University of California, Irvine), and Hsain Ilahiane (Iowa State University). They are presenting two papers today at CHI 2008.

Digital memories and lifelogging
An interview with Daniela Petrelli (University of Sheffield)
New technologies have made it possible to “lifelog” our existence, collecting and storing digital pictures, videos, text, copies of Web sites, and so on… But will this be as meaningful as the traditional process of keeping tangible memories of our life?Daniela Petrelli (Sheffield University) and her co-authors discuss about it in the paper they have presented this morning at CHI 2008.

Sustainable interaction design
An interview with Eli Blevis (University of Indiana)
The electronics industry has an increasing responsibility in the production of toxical components and e-waste. Careless strategies are leading to irresponsible designs such as the growing number of products which are sealed to deliberately prevent the user to change the battery. As a result, when the battery needs to be replaced, the user is forced to throw away the product and buy a new one.One of today’s sessions (called Green Day) at CHI 2008 has been devoted to sustainable design and users’ perception of sustainability. To understand the latter Kristin Hanks and colleagues (including Eli Blevis) at the University of Indiana has studied more than 400 students in the 18-21 age range, belonging to the so-called Net generation, a significant producer of e-waste. The results of the research, presented during the afternoon at CHI 2008 are not encouraging.

12 February 2008

How to design software for professional options traders

OptionsHouse
How to design the user experience for professional options traders?

This was the challenge faced by Gong Szeto, director of product design of OptionsHouse, an up and coming retail options brokerage, when he had to design their new options trading site.

He speaks about his work in an interview conducted by Alex Kirkland of Usable Markets.

Read interview

9 February 2008

Umpqua Bank unveils Innovation Lab in Portland, Oregon

Umpqua Innovation Lab
Umpqua Bank has opened an Innovation Lab in Portland, Ore, showcasing emerging and existing technologies that foster community and redefine what consumers can expect from a banking experience. As a testing ground for new initiatives, the Lab will change regularly to feature new technology, products, services and community events.

According to blogger Hashem Bajwa, features include “immersive video conferencing, nine 50-inch high-definition touch screen displays, a digital community wall, customizable brochures printed on-demand, work spaces & banquettes with hidden laptops, a music portal and gourmet coffee shop. The lab also serves as an independent space for business meetings and social events, like a Nintendo Wii tournament.

Umpqua has partnered with local merchants in Portland to sell their merchandise inside the space, along with tech brands such as Cisco, Microsoft, an Lenovo who all provide elements of the experience.

Their own financial services are sold like colorful rich beauty products, in smart, simple packaging and language throughout.

Umpqua intends the space to be an ongoing experiment, updating it every quarter. The lab was designed by Ziba.”

Read full press release

(via Experience Economist)

17 January 2008

Experience design trends in financial services

Banking experience
Scott Weisbrod, director of insight & planning at Critical Mass, published a write-up on the four experience design trends he sees in online financial services:

1. Banks get serious about customer experience
2. Mobile banking still isn’t ready for prime time
3. Metrics drive experience design decisions
4. Banks look to innovative personal financial management start-ups for inspiration

Read full story

11 December 2007

Mobile services in the developed world are a bit behind

Low-income banking
Paul Lamb reflects on the dire state of mobile services in America:

In Japan it is not uncommon for people to make everyday purchases using only a cell phones. A variety of secure mobile technologies alowing for easy transfer of money from one’s bank account or credit card to retailer have existed for some time. The trend is catching on in the developing world as well, where those who do not have bank accounts or credit cards can move or store money and credits via cell phones. A good review of some current M-banking and M-remittance services in the developing world can be found here.

In reading recenly about a bank sponsored program to help the “unbanked” poor in San Francisco open up banking accounts, I was struck by how far behind the curve we seem to be in America in leveraging the same mobile opportunities that are coming online around the globe.

- Read full story
- Read also this reaction by Niti Bhan

8 December 2007

Cashless in India

Img_affordable
Newsweek reports on how mobile banking in India saves the government and banks money and reduces fraud that plagues the public-distribution system.

Mobile phones are making life better for people in remote, underserved areas of India. They no longer have to walk kilometers to public call offices to use a telephone—an essential tool for buying and selling goods based on the latest market data, getting credit from lenders and other commonplace activities. So far, most of the benefits have come from one of the phone’s simplest features: voice calls.

With more than 250 million mobile users and 6 million new ones added each month, India now has the “teledensity” to support more-sophisticated mobile technologies, which could have a big impact on Indian society and the economy in the next few years. (An extra 10 mobile phones per 100 people in a typical developing country leads to an additional 0.59 percentage points of growth in GDP per person, according to a London Business School study.) These include “voice broadcast” services that would let a truck owner inform residents of a village about a scheduled trip to the city, or doctors announce the availability of polio vaccinations. A more complex system would allow a small business, say, to keep track of shipments. What’s holding up these services is the lack of mobile banking.

The article profiles activities of Reliance Communications, ekgaon technologies, and A.Little.World.

Read full story

24 November 2007

Umpqua Bank Innovation Lab

Umpqua Bank
Umpqua Bank has opened its new store concept in Portland, Ore.’s South Waterfront neighborhood. The store will serve as Umpqua’s Innovation Lab, showcasing emerging and existing technologies that foster community and redefine what consumers can expect from a banking experience. As a testing ground for new initiatives, the Lab will change regularly to feature new technology, products, services and community events.

Umpqua has collaborated with numerous technology companies including Cisco, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Nexus IS, Inc. and Planar to develop and integrate technology that enhances the customer experience and store operations. In many cases, it is the first time these technologies have been implemented in a consumer setting.

Inside The Lab: Harnessing Technology to Create Community

The Innovation Lab is designed to serve the community as a hub of activity, information and resources, including available meeting space. At opening, it will feature:

  • Product Wall: A 25-foot, interactive, seamless dynamic plasma wall that features touch screen technology, pod casts and community search functionality.
  • Community Wall: This interactive display wall serves as the store’s official community center. It provides information on volunteer opportunities and community events, supports fundraising for community organizations and includes a survey option for users to tell Umpqua which topics they would like to learn more about.
  • LocalSpace: Umpqua’s own social networking site. Designed to connect and assist local businesses in a virtual setting, LocalSpace offers opportunities for mentoring, expert advice, public community calendars and 3-D mapping from Microsoft’s Virtual Earth.
  • Computer Café: Features tables embedded with state-of-the-art Lenovo laptops inviting visitors to try out easy-access online banking solutions or simply surf the Web.
  • Ask an Expert: Uses the Cisco Unified Meeting Place solution to connect customers face-to-face with experts on a wide range of financial topics at any time.
  • Interactive and In-store Shopping: Browse merchandise from local merchants as well as Umpqua’s Discover Local Music CDs, books and other finds.

Read full story

30 October 2007

Mobile banking must overcome consumer doubts

Mobile banking
The San Jose Mercury News reports on why users need convincing that mobile banking is convenient and secure.

“South Bay residents Curtis McGovert, Dave Ritter and Leon Mendiola have at least three things in common. They own cell phones. They bank at Wells Fargo. And they didn’t realize that they effectively have an ATM in their pockets that they now can use to do some of their banking – anytime, anywhere.

Make that four things in common: As intriguing as “mobile banking” sounds to each of them, none is dying to try it. They either don’t see a clear need for it or worry that it’s vulnerable to hackers.

“I’m just a basic user,” said McGovert, a 33-year-old personal trainer from Milpitas. “I’m not into all the high tech. I’m old school.”

And there, in a nutshell, is the challenge that banks face as they race to roll out the next big thing for on-the-go consumers. To succeed, they must show customers it’s convenient and easy to use their cell phone to check balances, transfer money and watchdog their finances even if they’re miles from a computer.”

Although a good introductory article to the issue, it doesn’t contain a word on Africa, where mobile banking has taken off quite spectacularly and where mobile banking services are much more innovative than in the Bay Area.

Read full story

28 September 2007

A mobile revolution is taking place in the developing world

Phone use in Africa
The mobile platform is currently undergoing somewhat of a revolution in the developing world — and so are people’s lives — with Africa now more advanced than the rest of the world in terms of mobile banking. The user experience challenges are only beginning to be addressed.

If you want to keep abreast on developments in this field, here is a crop of news stories from just this last week:

A recent special report in Business Week on how basic cell phones are sparking economic hope and growth in emerging — and even non-emerging — nations. The report takes a particular look at the micro- and macro-economic impacts of this development, and what it means for local entrepreneurs and major mobile operators. It also features an online extra on the use of mobile phones by artisans and tradespeople in rural India, a summary graphic and a slideshow;

A Reuters story on the beeping boom in Africa, what the social practices are, and how that is pushing mobile operators to innovate their services;

A post on the Vodafone R&D Betavine blog on the Mukuru Kash service that like Paypal will store funds that you pay to them online and then set up a voucher which can be redeemed at the petrol station for fuel;

Next: bridging the digital divide, a recent post by Niti Bhan, where she puts developments in the bigger picture of bridging the digital divide between the digital haves and have nots, and wonders what will happen if all these people in the developing world can also start accessing the internet from their mobile devices;

In a recent post on mobile banking, Barbara Ballard of Little Springs Design guides us to three blogs on the topic: Mobile Banking (news and analysis from Brandon McGee, a VP in charge of mobile banking), Mobile Money & Banking, and Mobile Banking, the blog of Hannes van Rensburg, CEO of a South African mobile banking provider Fundamo.

Note by the way that all the user research work by Jan Chipchase and others seems to have paid off: Nokia dominates the mobile handset landscape in India with an astonishing 74% market share.