3 Months

Margaret Panoti
Din Terpuni

UX Research
UI Design

Adobe XD, AE

Design Prompt

Students were challenged with Barclays' brief that tasked competitors to use technology and innovation to develop a service or tool that bridges the gap between money and mental health while supporting those in a vulnerable situation.

Design Challenge

Money and mental health are often intricately linked. One problem can feed off the other, creating a vicious cycle of growing financial problems and worsening mental health that is hard to escape. Across the UK, more than 1.5 million people are experiencing both debt and mental health problems. So how can Barclays help vulnerable customers with mental health issues manage their money better?

Design Solution

Barclays Omen is a budgeting app designed to use data driven algorithms and AI home assistants to predict your spending habits and help you stay on track with your goals for a greater chance of financial success.

Design Thinking Process

My team wanted to prioritize collaborative thinking and encourage innovative ideas so the Design Thinking Methodology was our best fit. Adopting this process helped us work through each proposed idea together in order to arrive at the best solution. It also built a concrete relationship between us, resulting in an increase of productivity.

Conducting 10 Empathy Interviews at Bryant Park

Organizing Results With Affinity Map

I prepped a guideline containing a sample set of questions ahead of time to help direct my team through the interview process.

1. Recall a memory when you first understood the value of money.
2. What tools help you manage your finances?
3. Do you think wealth affects mental health?
4. Do your spending patterns change based on your emotions?

My assigned role was moderator while another team member was responsible for taking notes and the third member asked any follow-up questions and recorded audio clips. Whenever someone opened up to us about a problem regarding money or their mental well-being, I used the 5 whys tactic, developed by Sakichi Toyoda, to define the underlying cause.

After collecting all our research from empathy interviews, we organized our data into an affinity map to draw connections between individual elements and find common themes amongst our users. This step was an integral part of our design thinking process because it helped us transition from analysis to synthesis.

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Pain Points

Key Insight


1. People spend more money when they are stressed.
2. People would be more motivated to change spendings habits if they could customize and personalize their finances.

Impulsive buyers develop unhealthy spending patterns because they crave instant gratification & allow their emotions to control their decisions but, this vicious cycle only provides them with temporary satisfaction & negatively impacts their mental health.

With a list of users’ top tasks and motivations, we developed three personas to represent their needs, actions, and reactions. The three types of users included:

1.  Users who need to differentiate needs from wants
2. Users who need a plan to meet their financial goal
3. Users who need more personalized features on bank apps to organize finances.

Journey Mapping Bank Apps to be More Empathetic

With our established key insight and personas we moved forward to develop our journey maps. We wanted to reimagine the banking experience by making it more empathetic and susceptible to people making poor financial decisions and take the user’s unhealthy spending patterns and declining mental health into account. We looked into four main areas of opportunity.

1. How might we increase emotional attachment for digital transactions?
2. How might we include a money managing system into a daily routine?
3. How might we help users distinguish purchases between needs vs. wants?
4. How might we make them see the future of their bank account balance based on his spending data?

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Barclays Omen is a budgeting app that uses data driven algorithms to predict your spending habits based on your past transactions, providing you with a personalized financial plan. This will alleviate the stress that comes with calculating their own budget and help them avoid any future irrational spendings.

UI Design Approach

For our visual design we landed on Neumorphism. There were four reasons why we believed this was the best fit for our app:
1. Barclays Omen is always at the forefront of banking innovations, so their design should be too.
2. More user friendly since it allows users to focus on their content.
3. Differentiates Barclays from its corporate competitors.
4. Satisfying and calming to interact with the soft UI buttons.


Homepage: In the homepage users will be greeted with their daily budget to help them stay on track with their financial plan, which shows how Omen categorizes money based on user’s personal data.
Planning: Predict future spendings using AI algorithms and data gathered from past transactions.
Spending Trends: View your financial progress with Omen’s plan through simplified data graphs.
Daily Budget: Set a daily budget with your home assistant in the morning to help you stay on track with Omen’s plan.


First time experience. This was my introduction into working on a project at this scale using the design thinking methodology. A lot of steps in the process are the outcome of our second or third iterations.
Gained an appreciation for UX Design. From conducting empathy interviews to communicating with my team members, I developed soft skills that can be transferable to future projects and jobs. It’s also made me more aware of how much enjoyment I derive from a well-designed product in my daily routine.
Test solutions. Biggest piece missing was going through the whole design thinking process without being able to test our results and validate our solution.

01. Introduction02. Research03. Define04. Ideate05. Prototype06. Reflection