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MONICS, the digital wallet that teaches kids financial literacy

(Feb - April 2022)

Project snapshot

This was the capstone project for Centennial College's Interactive Media Management program.

The problem: Parents weren't confident teaching financial literacy to their children. It was difficult for them to effectively engage their kids to understand the value of money and how to manage it.

My role: Product Designer (strategy, user research, UX writer, wireframing, prototyping, user testing, pitching)

Tools used: Miro (brainstorming, user flows), Figma (wireframes and prototypes), Zoom (user interviews and usability testing), Google Forms (user survey), Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (graphics)

Process: Discovery

In my previous jobs, I frequently encountered parents saying that they'd give their kids money (allowances, gifts) but didn't know where the money went. They'd open accounts for the kids, but the balances were very low and the saving patterns weren't regular.

I thought about creating a digital wallet that both parents and kids could use together, and I sent out a survey to see if the concept had any value. While some respondents said the concept wasn't directly applicable to them, many commented that this would have been beneficial to them as children or wish they had something like this as adults now.

I researched to see if there was anything available akin to what I wanted to do. There were a couple of companies in Canada doing something similar, very much like banking for kids, and another one that had a more social experience with leaderboards. There was an opportunity to differentiate from these existing tools by taking the gamification idea further. It had to feel like a game, not like a transaction platform.

I interviewed a couple of parents and their kids to understand their motivations and pain points better. I created personas based on the research, and shared these with my team so we could brainstorm ideas.

Sample of a user persona for a parent using a digital wallet with her child
Sample of a user persona of a child using a digital wallet with his parent

Process: Design

Once the theme and personas were clear, I mapped out the user journey to help identify areas of opportunity and steps in the user flow. My team and I had several brainstorming sessions about the flow and the functions. I decided on having a single platform with 2 different interfaces since parents had different needs from their children. 

A Miro moodboard
Miro post it notes

I began the low fidelity wireframes so I could test them out on both kinds of users.

I asked the kids to create a savings goal and track their progress to completion. I asked parents to set up rewards and chores for their kids, as well as tracking their progress.

The results showed that the parents started by viewing their child's profile instead of taking action immediately. So I redid the Home screen so they could filter the activities by child first, and the notifications became a social activity feed for them to be updated on what their children were doing.


Parents also wanted there to be more emphasis on non-financial rewards so I enhanced the experience of unlocking the trophy by adding the milestone puzzles. When it came to financial goals, the parents would tell their kids to save rather than the kids starting on their own so we put in a challenge button on the parent app that generated a notification to the child asking them if they wanted to accept a challenge. Although we tried to sound like a game, the testers said that the language used was clear and understandable.


I also had my peers do heuristic reviews and incorporated their feedback in the next iteration.


First pass at a dashboard for a digital wallet
Iteration of a dashboard for a digital wallet after getting user feedback


Changed the interaction design of the Home screen based on the user behavior during testing


First pass of a screen to set a goal in a digital wallet


Iteration of a screen to set a goal in a digital wallet after receiving user feedback
Screenshot of notifications for a digital wallet

Kids could accept the challenge aside from setting one up on their own

Functional specs to explain how the app was expected to work to internal stakeholders, like devs, in a way that it would be easy to present at a meeting or attach to something like a Jira ticket:

Functional specification screenshots with annotations and wireframes for a digital wallet

Key takeaways

  • Focus on the problem for the users to get to the core function.

  • If the problem exists, that means the existing tools aren't working so there's an opportunity to make something different.

  • The first pass is not going to be perfect. Test, iterate, and test again.

  • Look to your peers for feedback too. It's good to get out of your head once in a while.

See my other projects

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