Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) wanted to meet the challenge raised by Monzo, Starling and other digital banks by launching a similar product of their own. Instead of integrating with RBS’s existing backend infrastructure, they would build the entire stack from scratch. This included the front-end apps, which were built in React Native.
As the design team, our challenge was to ensure the product met high expectations whilst working to the parent company’s tight deadlines.
The project was structured into separate interdisciplinary product teams, so that each team (about 4-6 people) was responsible for an element of the product, e.g. onboarding, savings, or account and settings. Each team had a roadmap of deliveries, and as the designer it was our job to make sure the designs were delivered, make recommendations on app behaviours, coordinate with the BAs on expected functionality, and ensure the final user interface was of a high standard and easy to use.
From the outset the product teams worked in a strict sprint schedule (2-week sprints initially, before moving to a 1-week Kanban-style process). Features varied in the amount of time taken to deliver, depending on their complexity and the priority for the business. For all features we would begin with a competitive analysis to establish best practices and pitfalls to avoid. We also conducted testing sessions to understand user preferences.
Throughout development of each feature, we worked in constant collaboration with the rest of the product team – comprising of Product Owners, UX Designers, UI Designers, Business Analysts and Front-End Developers – to define the product requirements and help shape the architecture, as it was being defined. This typically involved wireframing the solution and presenting it to the team, discussing options and iterating on the designs.
As the designs neared completion, we would increasingly work in Sketch to produce high-fidelity designs. The design team used Sketch and Abstract to keep our designs consistent across product teams, and aligned to the latest design system. I worked with the design lead to ensure the designs met those standards for the app. Alongside this I produce flow diagrams of the features (including error states and unhappy paths) that were used by the team to develop from. This process would be repeated for each individual product team.
We continued to successfully deliver high-quality designs to the teams as needed for development. The product was ‘soft launched’ first through a small set of test users and eventually to the public on both iOS and Android. The app was noted for its easy-to-use design and improvements over other challenger bank UI’s.
I'm always open to hearing about freelance product design and development projects (or if you just want to say hi!)