In late 2014, in my last project at BRB - Bank of Brasília, I joined the team in charge of designing the bank's first mobile app. Throughout a few months, I brought a user-centered design approach to the team, while making sure to align this new touchpoint to all the existing touchpoints of the institution. I was responsible for design research, user experience design, user interface design, and product design. 


At the time, most of the bank's competitors were releasing mobile apps and BRB needed to step up quickly. Using research with both costumers and front-line employees, the team decided which features the MVP should have and designed a product that fulfilled users' needs while keeping their data and money safe.


The new mobile app should be extremely easy to use because most of its users would be using a banking app for the first time. And since the bank already had a large brand ecosystem, with more than 100 physical branches, ATMs, dozens of different product offerings, phone support, and a desktop website, this new touchpoint should seamlessly integrate with the existing ones. Finally, the new app also should be built around the limitations imposed by regulations and the legacy IT systems in place. Learning how to design with these legal and technical constraints was a valuable learning experience for me.

Target audience

At the time of the project, the bank had nearly half a million users and a large number of those used BRB as its main or only banking institution. So the app should both be easy enough to be used by first-timers and feature-rich to please experienced users.


Technical understanding and user research. I joined the project when it was already in progress, so I started by understanding what had already been decided in the project, the legacy systems in place, and the existing gaps of information. Then I interviewed costumers and front-line employees to understand their pain points and needs. There was also great care in dealing with the "unhappy" journey: error messages due to different reasons, edge cases, empty and loading states.

Ideation and stakeholder management. I designed user flows, user journeys, and wireframes based on the research findings and validated them with different users. At the same time, I worked together with different business units to design not only for the products and goals they had at the moment but for their vision of the future.

Increasing fidelity and documentation. While the project progressed, I increased the fidelity of my outputs and delivered the user interface assets for implementation by the developers, along with extensive documentation on the design system I crafted. I also documented the process using the models put in place by the developers, which made me learn how to better communicate with them.


During the project, I learned how to better communicate and coordinate with developers and project managers, which helped me design around the existing technical constraints. At the same time, because I was able to understand these limitations, I was also able to work with developers to push the boundaries of what was possible so we could implement a better user experience for our costumers.
The new app was quickly adopted by users after it launched: in less than a year it registered a massive number of daily transactions and had a large number of active users, making it one of the most important touchpoints of the institution.

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