Using empathy to build MVP for millennials in banking



Millennials behave differently. They are known for not buying a home, they don't have the desire of owning a car. What matters to them is the desire for creating an impact, live movie-like experiences and of course, share them. But all of these you already kind of knew. It was sort of, obvious to you.

We need to dig deeper to understand how can banks and fintech provide an experience to them.

Let’s take a look at some key personality bias millennials share and some that they don’t share:

What millennials have in common

The desire to live a meaningful life, make an impact, the exclusive use of mobile apps over desktop and they are afraid of taking risky money decisions. The fear of losing is higher than the desire of winning.

What millennials don't have in common

Not all of them are gadget gurus, not all of them are vegan and not all of them love Nike. You should stop putting Nike or Adidas all around the UX Personas.

Example of Persona—Download UX Persona 


A better design also means that users are targeted right. Building an app with great UI and well-developed wins in the short term but is not enough for the long run. Where there is uncertainty there is an opportunity.


"Where there is uncertainty there is an opportunity."


For millennials, user experience is very important but they don't care about an app with great UI while not responding right to their motivation and frustrations. We need to understand the motivations and pains of the users and then think of ways we can help them. That's why we go deeper to understand the problems.

Some points to consider about millennials:

  • Context matters. All millennials may share values among them but the reality is not the same in North America, Europe, or EMEA. We follow different paths and culture is still a big thing. A solution in Spain might work differently in Colombia, Quebec, or Finland.
  • Living with your parents does matters. Money decisions change if someone needs to face duties.

  • No surprises matters. Millennials want to find a brand they can trust. A bank can be that brand. Not providing flat rates services is not an option. Providing complex products is not an option.




Empathy in Product Teams

Let’s imagine we are a product team and we need to increase the amount of credit expended by users.

It doesn’t matter how well is your innovation process, you need to do empathy exercises.

We know from user interviews that users with mortgages and students or employees in his first work are willing to finance a purchase or use a credit card. With that insight, we need to certify if that information is true, so we go see what the users are doing.

For credit accounts, we understand millennials need to know if they will have money to face the expense when the payment is due, where the credit expenses are going for, and have full control of it or sense of control.



We also know about the users that they tend to have different accounts in different banks, one for savings and that they send one part of the money to the other bank for expenses.


Building an MVP

So perhaps we can imagine a scenario where students or first-time employees that already have an account with us don’t go an open an account in another bank.

We have this hypothesis from research and empathy models. So to figure out whether we are right or we need to find a different solution we can do two things:

We run a design sprint workshop or dynamics to validate in a couple of weeks if that scenario and the solution proposed works for the target group, at least in a qualitative way.
If it does and we move forward, then the rational thing to do is to divide the rollout of the MVP to validate it. Nothing is truly validated until we have a working MVP.


We have different stages in which we are not proactive until we are sure that the users want the new functionality. We start with a process of understanding and learning. We continue to learn in a reactive stage. Once we are confident then we start being proactive. In MVPs 1-4 we have learned and clarified information about the customers. If the data was different, we shouldn't go and proactively proposed MVP-5 or MVP-6.

So MVPs are not just Minimum Viable Products. MVPs also are a way to learn from each iteration. So if for example, we want to propose using the card available credit as the budget for the customer expenses, we don't build it and test it. We divide the MVP into different stages to learn from each iteration.


Hi, I'm Pablo, a UX Strategy—Product Designer living in Barcelona. I facilitate Design Sprints and workshops. 

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