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You’ve been hearing a lot about our new app, how its been redesigned and new features introduced for the benefit of our customers and so on. But how do you think we were able to accomplish this? What was the thought process that went into creating a new app that is as visually appealing as the FairMoney 2.0 app without losing focus on the goal of this redesign? What happened behind the scenes to arrive at a new version of our product?

Well, you are in luck because Nicolas Berthozat, Chief Operating Officer at FairMoney has been gracious enough to share the story behind how we redesigned the new FairMoney app. Nicolas led the redesign project and was involved in the entire process. Check it out:

Q: Why did the app need to be redesigned?

Nicolas: We always focused more on building the best features for our clients rather than the design of the application itself. After building a complete loan application, we thought it was time to do it before adding savings, payments to our application and becoming a digital bank!

Q: What did the team optimise for in building the new app?

Nicolas: We mainly focused on the application design, and added some specific features for our current best clients, with the idea that all customers will soon be able to access some of these features like instalment loans. Some refactoring was also done to make sure the app becomes faster & leaner, despite the more complex design!

Q: How many team members worked on the new app?

Nicolas: It was the work of four people in total! First, I worked on the design itself with a UX designer, Chen Emechete, who already had a strong experience in building mobile apps for Fintech companies in Nigeria. The amount of work was huge, we had to redesign all the workflows: apply for a loan, repay a loan, look at your loan details, update your client information, look at your historical transactions, refer the (beautiful!) app to your friends, and so on.

Two developers from France (Android and “backend”), Guillaume & Rémi, worked on the application itself to implement the different mockups designed during the previous step from France! The discussions between the design & tech teams were smooth despite the distance, thanks to the experience of our UX designer Chen who prepared very detailed specs which made the implementation easy peasy!

Q: What tools were used in redesigning the app?

Nicolas: We used different tools at every step of the process:

  1. Mapping the project with deadlines and owners for all the different steps. This was done on Trello, which is a project management tool we use a lot internally. It helps us organize our FairMoney roadmap, plan projects, and so on. it’s a one-for-everything management tool!
  2. We built all the workflows in the application with flaw.io. What happens to a client who just repaid a loan? All the different steps and customer journeys were detailed there. Make it visual & don’t hesitate to get feedback from different people in the team at this step, or you are likely to miss out some points in your app redesign!
  3. All the designs were created on Figma. It’s a great solution and alternative to Sketch, it’s free and you can use it online, so no problem of Macbook vs Windows. (Sketch is only available for MacOS users)
  4. Everything was exported to Zeplin to start the implementation step. At this stage, all your designs are ready and are translated into mockups with precise specifications (what’s the space between two texts in the application, what is the hexadecimal color of this specific button? etc).
    The app redesign project was managed across Nigeria & France, managing the process with those solutions really helped us keep a lean and precise approach!

Q: How long did it take to redesign the new app?

Nicolas: The application redesign took a lot of time – at the design step! We spent 3 months working on the application design itself, and approximately one month for the implementation of the redesign by the technical team.

Q: What were the challenges faced in building the new app? How were those challenges overcome?

Nicolas: It’s very complex to build a simple product! We had to make sure that everything we built was understandable. We iterated a lot and organized customer days with our clients to ask them to use our mockups and learnt from their feedback. We organized two different sessions that we leveraged to make sure that when we roll out the new version, everything becomes crystal clear instantly for all our clients!

Q: Lessons/takeaways from the entire process

Nicolas: Try to shorten processes as much as possible. We really kept in two different buckets the new features implementation and the redesign itself. Building those features and redesigning the app at the same time would have taken way more time than doing those two steps separately! It’s in general a good project management suggestion: make sure you don’t do too much at the same time, or you will get lost in the complexity of your project and give unclear timelines!

We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback about the new FairMoney app but if there is anything we’ve taken away from this process its that there is still a lot more work to do in bringing the best product/service to our customers! We hope to continue sharing this journey to becoming the foremost digital bank for emerging markets with you. To the moon!