Design Template
5 - 6 November 2014 | Hilton Kuala Lumpur #FinEdSummit 
Building Mobile Apps for Financial Capability: A Q&A with Kristen Faiferlick, Communications, Partnerships and Resource Manager at MoneyThink, US

Tell us about your role at MoneyThink.

As Moneythink’s Communications, Partnerships, and Resources Manager, I have the privilege of working with a wide variety of like-minded partners who have invested in our mission to bring financial capabilities to America’s low-income youth. It has been incredibly rewarding to work with organizations large and small in this effort. We’ve found our partners like Citi to be creative, reflective, and dedicated to our mutual mission of providing deepened financial capabilities to our low-income clients.

You will be leading an interactive technical workshop on Mobile Apps at this year's Summit. Can you share with us the top 3 things to consider when building financial capability content into a mobile application?

1. Get as close to the end user as you can. We used the human-centered design process in order to vision and design our app, and this entailed hours of field research listening to our target audience, getting to know their mental models around money and mobile, and understanding their unique wants, needs, and constraints when it comes to managing finances. We entered the project freighted with assumptions that our field research ultimately disproved. Let the user tell you what to build!

2. Tie every feature to target learnings. When you are identifying which features make it into the MVP and then roadmapping enhancements and additions for the future, make sure that each item is carefully tied to a learning goal. Exhibiting discipline here will ensure that you are only spending money on features that will get you closer to target metrics.

3. Observe users as much as you can. Back-end data tells you part of the story. So do user surveys. But the holy grail is getting the opportunity to observe your users using the app, finding out where and when they get stuck, bored, or confused.

What are you looking forward to most at the Citi-FT Financial Education Summit?

Having worked in rural China and then Beijing for several years each, I have seen firsthand the rapid urbanization in developing countries and the economic implications it has for low-income residents. I am excited to hear a variety of perspectives and ideas on how we can best tackle this challenge through the lens of financial inclusion from not only the speakers, but also the attendees themselves.

Furthermore, I am excited to use the Mobile Apps session to serve as a springboard for discussion on how technology can help us widen opportunity in the face of growing urbanization. Finding ways to effectively leverage technology is at the forefront of many organizations’ minds, but with so many rapidly developing means and options, developing a cohesive strategy can be somewhat overwhelming. My hope is that the session will provide insight and inspiration into how to leverage the human-centered design process to build a financial capability tool that meets the exact needs of the target audience.

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