Personal Finance App for College Students: Mint UX Redesign
Mint App Design Solutions
College is oftentimes one of the most unique financial situations in a person’s life. Students are young, with commonly and expectedly little financial experience, and are often burdened with one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives: Paying for college tuition and all the extra expenses that come with it. Not to mention also being incredibly busy working at academics, which do nothing but subtract money in the present.
Often, students must pick up an additional job to stay afloat, which leaves little time leftover for financial planning. 57% of college students work out of financial necessity (Source: HSBC Bank), and a whopping 67% of college students say they cannot comfortably afford housing at school (Source: Chegg).
How could a Mint redesign help?
The goal is for college students to open Mint and understand their financial standing and what they should do next at a glance. They may not have the time or the expertise to dig deeply into a financial application and be able to understand what everything means for them as an experienced adult would.
The simplification of the application’s design would help students more easily become financially literate in a non-intimidating fashion.
On the other hand, every student has a unique combination of what they pay for themselves and what their parents/guardians pay for, so each student has unique needs from an app like Mint. The key is to modify the app’s UX to suit such differentiated needs. One reviewer of the app agrees with this sentiment and admits to, “…how much further it needs to go in order to accommodate the varying levels of consumer needs,” — Michael Harr.
Mint App Design Solutions
The cursor is slightly off center from the buttons in order to show what is underneath.
Check out the new design in action above, then see below for a breakdown of each screen and why it helps. (Note: All numbers are imaginary for example, they are not real balances).
The Essentials at the Forefront
The second the user opens the app, they would see how much total money they have in all relevant categories, as well as cash flows. This gives a sense of how well they’re doing at a glance. The home screen also serves as an easy jumping off point to essentials in the bottom bar, like alerts about bills and budget goals, Mint’s marketplace, and settings for further customization.
By clicking the question mark icon on any given term, an insight box would display a brief, digestible definition of any given financial concept. This is perfect for college students who may be new to personal finance, and makes the app accessible to all levels of financial experience.
At the click of a button, the user could edit which categories pop up on the home screen. For example, college students may not be using a credit card yet, or be investing yet, so the ability to hide these categories could decrease cognitive load and allow the user to focus more what matters.
This also accommodates a wider array of financial situations. The user can further their customized experience by choosing which cards appear on the home screen through settings.
Settings for the Essentials
Users could completely customize their experience to meet their financial planning needs here. They can set budgets for specific spending goals, which would affect what’s displayed in the cash flows section, so the user tracks spending for what matters to them.
Also, they can set due dates for their bills, so they never miss a payment. These due dates would pop up as reminders in the alerts tab and on an optional bill calendar card on the home screen.
The user can also customize other cards that appear on the home screen, to make sure they’re only tracking what they need to. For example, if they don’t have credit yet, there’s no need for a credit score section on the home screen.
Lastly, they can set their income streams in order to track how much money is coming in from various places. In a college student’s case, they might add a part-time job, side hustles, and an internship.
Spending & Income Overview
In the cash flows section, users can track how much they’re spending and making in comparison to the goals they set in the previous screen. This is perfect for college students to quickly and simply check how much more they can spend on certain things, if they’re overspending in certain areas, and their progress on income goals.
The ability to then view breakdowns by their customized sections can save the hassle of trying to get these insights by sifting through a long list of transactions in a usual bank’s app.
The cash flows section could be a place where students could more easily track savings for tuition, food, books, and more. In further designs, there could be a card for the home screen where the user can view how close their savings in this section are to various goals such as a tuition payment, likely in pie graph form.
What this version of Mint could lead to
By redesigning the app to be simpler, have more customizable display options for the unique situations of each student, and have a space to assess changeable spending patterns, Mint could be a place for any student to improve upon and understand their finances. When students are ready to use more advanced features, they can add them back in without changing apps.
By demystifying personal finance for college students, more students would graduate with better knowledge of how money works, and be better prepared for dealing with their money gained from a full-time job and more complex bills to pay. It’s possible that learning these skills early would save some students from common money blunders, and maybe alleviate student loan debt to the extent it can, even if it’s a small help.
A creative marketer, UX designer, and minimalist. Connect with me @averycolyer on all platforms.