In today’s digital landscape, companies constantly strive to create seamless experiences across multiple platforms to cater to their diverse user base. As a money transfer app allowing users to send money between the United States, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and Canada, we adopt a user-centric approach to crafting a cohesive user experience that transcends platforms.
This article will explore some strategies we employed in making cross-platform product design decisions.
Proactive (and Reactive) User Research
At the core of our product design philosophy lies a deep understanding of our users. We combine reactive and proactive research methods to achieve an intuitive experience across platforms.
Our product design and customer support teams collaborate closely to engage in proactive research to unlock insights about our target customer’s needs, pain points, and preferences. The questions we are looking to answer include the following: “What are our users trying to accomplish, and what are the bottlenecks preventing them?”, “What workarounds do they anticipate, and what is the cost of frustration when they hit a roadblock? ”What problems make some users churn, and what excitement makes some recurring” e.t.c
The answers to the questions set us on a path of uncovering unique challenges faced by specific user segmentation or device types. The result is a focus on building empathy which helps us create user-centric solutions that resonate across platforms.
Unified (and Adaptive) Design System
Our design system is consistent across both Android and iOS. This decision was intentional as it increases design (and implementation) speed, increases technical efficiency, and improves the customer experience. We established a unified visual language, including color schemes, typography, and iconography, to create a seamless and recognizable experience. This consistency builds trust and familiarity, enabling users to navigate Afriex’s ecosystem regardless of their platform effortlessly.
While maintaining consistency is essential, we recognize that each platform has unique capabilities and limitations. Design conventions differ from platform to platform, and the change in these conventions ranges from very minimal to wildly noticeable. We leverage platform-specific features to enhance the user experience while adapting to platform-specific conventions when needed. We have had to stick with native components when platform convention is more familiar to the user or requires less technical overheads. Examples of such components include but are not limited to numeric keyboards, system alerts, switches, sliders, etc By tailoring features to specific platforms, we maximize each device's potential and deliver a tailored experience to its users.
Product Testing on Real (and Simulated) Devices:
Thorough testing is crucial to identifying and resolving any platform-specific issues or inconsistencies. Our product design team conducts rigorous cross-platform testing and design QA to ensure the features are seamlessly implemented across different devices. This involves a mix of informal screen-sharing sessions with engineers, where we observe the visuals and functionality in a simulated environment. It also includes reviewing a staging version of the app on Android and iOS deployed via appcenter. The designers go through the features on real devices and uncover various visual problems, functional issues, or general bugs. These findings are then documented and shared with the respective engineers to work on. This process is iterative in nature until there is a high degree of confidence in the test version.
Consistent user research, a unified design library, an iterative design process, and rigorous testing drive our approach to cross-platform product design. By prioritizing user needs, maintaining consistency, and leveraging the unique capabilities of each platform, we have successfully crafted a seamless and intuitive user experience across our platforms. As the demand for cross-platform experiences grows, our design strategies provide valuable insights for other fintech companies seeking to create cohesive and user-friendly experiences across multiple platforms.