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PayMon App

POS system that connects school cafeterias to their students via digital wallet

The Problem

Students had difficulty with budgeting their lunch/snack money because they could not identify how much they were spending in correlation with their current balance based on the graph on PayMon's current dashboard.

The Solution

We created a budget calculator, spending insights and financial summary page to increase student mindfulness with budgeting. Met PayMon's long-term goals of empowering students with financial education through everyday tasks (i.e. buying school lunches)

Target Audience

High school students attending private schools in Ecuador

Communication Lead | UX Designer



August - September 2023

Figma, Zoom, Slack, Trello



Mobile iOS


4 UX designers


Lack of Signifiers - 

Users are unable to interpret the significance of this graph due to lack of title and no labels on Y-axis

Data Interpretation Issues - 

Users are unable to understand how to utilize the information from this graph

Usability Issues - 

User has difficulty tracking spending habits and progress over

Aesthetic Design - 

User is disinterested with text-heavy design


Today's Budget - 

Users are more aware of their budget to promote more mindful spending habits

Budget Calculator- 

Users can set a daily or weekly budget to manage spending

Spending Insight - 

Users can use the feature to interpret data

Cultural Bias

We knew we needed to understand the target demographic and check our own cultural bias. Designing for users in a different country (Ecuador) with a different primary language (Spanish) challenged us to dive deeper into our secondary research. The project took place over Zoom, with our team members and clients located across all 4 time zones in the United States. 


Our design team found an opportunity to incorporate educational resources into our app. The competitors within the school cafeteria industry focus primarily on the transactions itself, but do not have any features specifically for teaching or empowering the students. 

We began to research a few financial education competitors: goHenry, NerdWallet, FamZoo and Greenlight to learn more about how they target a younger demographic. Competitors were offering the ability to set financial goals, spending alerts and notifications, personalized financial tips, and a categorical breakdown.

User Research

The geographical challenge and the added layer of complexity that our target users were minors requiring parent approval impacted our ability to interview current PayMon users directly. We created a bilingual survey to send to students that our client distributed to the schools, but we found that the school year had not yet started.


With only 1 survey response, we changed tactics and interviewed 12 people of a similar target demographic within our community. Some questions that helped yield the most results were: 

  • When you hear the word “money,” what thoughts/feelings come to mind?

  • What challenges did you face the last time you saved up for something?

  • Is there something you wish you knew earlier when you were saving towards a goal?

Key Findings

We found that users feel stressed when they think about money/savings, users’ lack of self-control impedes their saving, and users don't know how to achieve their financial goals due to limited/no formal training.

  • “I don’t like thinking about money, so I don’t do it.” 

  • “I feel too overwhelmed to work towards my goals.”

  • “I struggle to control habits that hinder my ability to reach my goals.”

  • “I have a lot of challenges standing in my way when I think about money.”

  • “I want to learn more about finances to improve my financial situation.”


We created two high school student personas that had different motivations to save money and learn budgeting skills. While designing, we kept in mind how we would benefit both types of users. 

Maria is motivated to learn budgeting skills in order to save for a car so she can maximize the time left with her friends before they graduate.

Max is motivated to learn financial strategies in order to provide for his extended family because he saw his grandparents struggling to pay medical bills.

The Problem

Maria is saving towards a car that she plans to purchase with the help of her parents, she needs a way to budget her spending because she wants to show her parents she is financially responsible to help her pay for her car.

The Hidden Player

When we were forming our problem statement, we realized that there was another party that holds significance in our users’ journey: the parents. We went back to research what types of features parents would be interested in for their kids. We interviewed parents and synthesized that research to create our parent persona, Ramon. Ramon wants to his kids to understand the value of money. 

User Journey Map

This user journey map highlights the experiences of many students who are learning to budget for the first time. We can see that there are opportunities to provide tools, emotional support and encouraging reminders to our student population as they are walking through this for the first time.

User Flows

We found that users did not have the tools to learn to budget. With our design, Maria could set a daily budget and receive a reminder of her budget during checkout, which will increase her awareness. The first user flow describes the actions & decisions Maria will take to order her food and budget her money daily. 

We found that users needed a way to understand their own spending habits. In the second user flow, Maria can use PayMon data to prove to her parents that she can budget. She can access a summary of her spending habits, including her previous transactions and past month’s trends. This would not only allow her to have a greater understanding of where her money is going, but provides greater transparency between her and her parents.

Design Decisions

We created a budget calculator that would allow users to create a daily spending budget for their lunch/snack money. The app would automatically pull the user’s current account balance, and the user would input how many days the money needs to last. The calendar view is to make it easier for students to calculate the number of days. 


We created a checkout modal that appears when she is over-budget to encourage her to make better budgeting choices and increase her mindfulness of her spending habits.

A Spending Trends summary page provides accountability and structure for students/parents to communicate about finances. A toggle for week/month/semester allows users to have different views of their budget. 


From our research, we found that users wanted to have ways to visualize different metrics to judge financial success. For instance, categorical breakdowns help users to know where their money is being spent while weekly totals help users notice trends over time.


Since our target demographic are students, the Spending Snapshot feature would summarize/highlight an important statistic for them to make it easier to interpret the data. 

Usability Test Results

Once we created an initial prototype, we wanted to test out our two new features: setting a daily budget and spending trends page. 

We conducted a moderated usability test to learn more about the thought process behind our users and identify any potential difficulties users had when setting a daily budget, purchasing a snack within the budget, and reviewing past purchases. these features. We wanted to validate our assumptions that our new features would provide the users with increased mindfulness of their spending habits throughout the checkout process. We also wanted to discover if the users were able to interpret the graphs and data visualizations correctly.

Today's Budget Feature - 

Users were confused by this function as their attention was drawn to only the Balance. 

"My Budget" Feature - 

Users had confusion about what it meant as they interpreted it to mean the amount left in their budget that day instead of the difference. 

Spending Trends Feature -

Users had difficulty interpreting and reading the graphs

Confirmation Modal - 

Users felt the checkout was abrupt because they interacted with a modal when they overspent their budget, but no modal when successfully under budget

The Prototype

There is no greater praise than to be told “This is exactly what we were hoping for!” from both the CEO and the CTO. When we shared these personas with PayMon’s CEO, he stated, “That sounds just like my sister!” The validation throughout this entire process felt nice. It made us happy that they could implement these features immediately to improve the user experience for the schools. But more than that, it made us proud to show the value of what UX Design can do.



Main Takeaways

Overall, our project was a success - clients were satisfied and we had a great learning opportunity. I learned the importance of spending time to prepare for the initial stakeholder meeting to fully understand the business goals. By ensuring we were on the same page with expectations and timelines, it allowed for a smooth client relationship that left both parties feeling satisfied with the outcome.

Next Steps

If we had more time, we would have loved to redesign the parent dashboard to incorporate our graphs, especially if parents have multiple kids at different schools. We also would like to research adding a social aspect to connect the students. We would love to see them supporting each other as they learn how to budget and save money.

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