Kaya Financial

Kaya Financial cover photo

I felt distressed about my finances, so I redesigned the way I thought about them.


Give a New Spirit to Personal Finance
Fully Functioning Prototype
Partner Wearable App
Visual Branding Package



The audience is Fearful of their Finances
An ingrained way of doing things
Navigating Incredibly Personal Information
Many Competitors 

My Role

Interaction Design
Visual Design

design process full

Competetive Analysis

Mint: “Manage your money like never before.”

Mint offers a fully comprehensive look at your comings and goings; both birds eye and up close detailed views of your financial landscape. The issue here does not lie in the apps inherent ability, but rather in the experience.


Qapital: “Save small. Live large.”

Qapital makes saving easier; it literally gamifies savings. The friendly design and savvy functionality turn saving money into something exciting.  Qapital, unfortunately, loses traction with its simplicity and need for you to open a new bank account.


Venmo: “Send money and make purchases.”

One of the best overall mobile-payment systems. Venmo allows users to effortlessly send and receive cash from their friends, coworkers, family, and clients. This free app relies heavily on social media tropes, taking its feed function and friends list directly from Facebook; it also promotes frivolous emoji use.

The Guiding Light

Design an experience and a brand that feels more like communicating with a trusted mentor, rather than a financial analyst. 

Combine that sense of communication with a content stream layout feeding the user visual queues reminiscent of social media, and thusly, the emotions associated with it. 

Base the interactions of the application around the most valuable piece of information that users are currently missing: financial recommendations that don't hinder the quality of one's livelihood. 

Large Scale Questionaire

I had a slew of responses from users who used either the Banks mobile app or Mint (the two existing apps that I most cared about) and have based my selections off of users who use one or the other. Here are some other interesting findings.

- 73% of responders have longterm financial goals

- The average respondent proclaims themselves to be technologically savvy (5/7)

- 93% of respondents check their finances at least weekly

This survey gave me a sense of understanding of who would benefit most from a product like this and allowed me to create several User Groups to work from.


In Person Interviews

What I learned: 

A Personal Touch: A large sum of my users all told me that they often feel, well shitty when checking their finances. They don’t feel empowered to see how they are currently standing, they feel scared, and discouraged, and sometimes unwilling to check their finances because of it. That is a major problem. Kaya must find a new way of interacting with its users, one that is based entirely off of empowerment. There also is a user trait that most financial apps are currently ignoring; humans do what humans want to do.

As Alex stated, “I am still going to get another cup of coffee.”

Real-Time Recommendations: Several users told me that they had in the past run into problems because they were overcharged for some service. Katie even went on to say that she “would have loved to have known at the moment that I was charged 4x the specified amount for my late.” With so many users running into this trouble, it’s surprising that the answer may already be there, just not when the users need it.

Kaya needs to offer recommendations and alerts in real time. E.G. “Did you really just spend $30 on one late? It usually only costs you $5.”

Haptic Feedback can Create a Visceral Response: “That is fucking awesome!” - Tayler when I showed her her phones ability to offer haptic feedback for certain gestures. “I’ve never even known about it but now I can see so many applicable uses.” - Betsy, when she found she had the option, switched off on her phone. “I respond so much faster and more often when my phone uses it rather than just displays a message.” - Sean when discussing his interactions with his Apple Watch.

Users appreciate the subtlety of haptic feedback. Kaya can utilize its ability to create a more personal relationship between an app and its wearer/user.

A Separation from just Pure Data: All my interviewees that used Mint agreed while the app does a very good job displaying the information, it does not do anything beyond that. The experience of simply looking at data is not enough to create real, human changes in one's life. There is clearly a need for a more personalized experience when dealing with financial apps; raw data is not enough to make real changes. Kaya must offer users more than just data on their finances, it must recognize patterns based on knowledge of their personality.

Think about it like an app having the ability to know that you’re going to spend $60 again on girls night out (because you did the last three Thursdays in a row) and letting you know that you could spend $10 less if you take an uber 10 minutes earlier and get margs from that Mexican place rather than your normal dive bar.

User Roles

The “Mint Crossover(er)”

Context: Familiar with digital financial assistance, fast mover, efficient worker, trusting of digital presence, requires immediate feedback, quick learner

Characteristics: Checks in with finances frequently, reacts positively to data, desires all available information, trusts information received

Criteria: Simplicity, information is easy to digest, data is personalized, real-time refresh/updates, never bothersome with notifications

Considerations: Accurate to the second data, look at every inch of finances, personalized recommendations, quick interactions

The “Aderall Accountant”

Context: Extremely familiar with finances, uses mathematical reasoning, interested in every single data point, details, details, details

Characteristics: Doesn’t joke about finances, multiple accounts & CC’s, precision and accuracy oriented, stays informed

Criteria: Detailed analytics, visuals secondary to information, clarity of searches, instant feedback, never too many options

Considerations: Large-scale & simplified breakdowns, “detail” signifiers, personality survey, quick functionality (minimal floof)

The “Techy”

Context: TECH LORD, excited for every new product that comes out the door, searches for ways to utilize technology, independently wealthy

Characteristics: Wearable tech enthusiast, moves money around frequently, spends and earns heavily, very informed on technology, slightly less informed on finances

Criteria: Data visualizations, smartwatch connectivity, simple, easy to use data, recommendations via multiple devices

Considerations: Apple Watch app, animated data visuals, smartwatch friendly data visuals, simple setup process for multiple platforms

kaya user flow
Me Patterns
Paters Mockup Copy 2
Spend Page Current
Rec. Top Schoolboy Q
4 Questionaire Full Copy 2
Rec. Top Coffee
Spend Page Breakdown
Spend Page Current

Apps don't solve human problems, 

humans solve human problems.

But I Wanna Wear It


The partner smartwatch app is just that, a partner. The functionality of the watch app is primarily an alert and analysis system meant to notify the user when there has been an infraction or some actionable step could be completed. The watch app doesn't end there however, users are encouraged to look at snapshots of their standings, their goals, their budget, and their recommendations while on the move. These snapshots are accompanied by CTA's directing the user to the smartphone app to see more detail and actions that can be taken; standing alone, however, the smartwatch app is an extremely powerful financial companion.


Kaya is designed to help you be wiser with your money, while still doing the things you love. By analyzing personality data from social interactions, Kaya knows where you are spending your money and why. With this information, it can deliver timely recommendations on how to spend, save, and splurge, better.

This process taught me that there is a detrimental mindset behind finances, especially in the younger age groups (a.k.a. my target), and thusly, an opportunity to enact serious disruption.

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