Teaching Yourself Product Design Thinking

Making products is fun! Also, it’s like eating cactuses – painful and challenging. The goal of a product designer to deliver a working, purposeful and meaningful problem solving product for people.

When I was starting making apps – I sucked. To develop an understanding of product design I learned to boil things down to smallest pieces and try to make sense out of it. I want to share the way I see the products now.

Today I will be taking apart Revolut’s mobile app.

Analyse benefits

The first step is to understand why the product works. The key is in defining a useful output or benefits. I ask the question: „What will I get by using this app or web page?” Revolut built their product around three ideas:

  1. People want to save money because they are people don’t like to lose.
  2. People use the plastic card because it takes less space than cash (it also secure).
  3. People send money to friends because they need to pay for things.

In my opinion, those are the three main drivers for customers to choose R product. Saving money, using a card and moving money — three formulas.

User problems and goals

The formulas help us to define three main problems:

  1. How to save money? Where are people lose money?
  2. What is a convenient means of payment everywhere?
  3. How to send money to friends?

To solve those problems app sets several goals:

  1. Exchange currency with no fees.

  2. Use a multicurrency plastic card.

  3. Send bank and direct money transfers easy.

Exchange currencies goal

There are servera scenarios when people need to exchange money. People want to be prepared for the future and exchanging money beforehand. They are going on holidays or travelling to meet business partners.

Or, clients have money in local currency and want to pay for something with the card abroad.

To exchange currencies there is a separate screen.

revolut exchange screen

There are only four words on the screen: Exchange 2x and Balance 2x. Name of the screen and action are the same. Because the action is the button it’s not confusing.

Beneficial detail with plus and minus near exchange amounts. Helps to understand what amount will be deducted and receive.

If the user made a mistake by choosing the wrong order, currencies can be switched. Button help to fix the mistake without punishment. Also, check how huge are tap areas!

Current rate has an icon with zig-zag arrow up. The same icon is on top and leads to more rates and alerts. It can be misleading and does not help to achieve the goal. A benefit could be to show a weekly trend.

Last detail is a comma separator on the keyboard. Useful for BTC amounts.

To reach the goal of exchanging currencies on the go no UI is needed. No UI is better than any UI.

The exchange happens in the background when the payment is done.

Send money to friends

revolut payment screen

Only one word for the headline.

Revolut noticed common cases like splitting a bill in a restaurant or creating repeating payments.

The idea of friends who in the contact list helps to find receivers. Contacts are at the bottom which helps to interact with the list. Their pictures help to recognize a person by visual or colourful spot.

I am not sure about the magnifying glass. It serves the purpose to find the right person and it is far from the contact’s list. I guess people don’t really use it because first, it requires to stretch the finger to the top, click, wait for keyboard, start typing and choose a contact. Scrolling the list is much faster.


Afte separating elements, I challange myself to reach mentioned goals with less or no UI at all. Or, how to make UI more functional without significant changes.

Goal to Save money on exchange

  • Previous suggestion to show a current weekly trend. Help the client to save.
  • Prepare for the future for businessmen and travellers. Possible to use a calendar to track future trips and suggest a beneficial rate.
  • Hide the “Exchange” button when there is no amount set.
  • Can be even a radical step: don’t show the rate. It’s the best on the market in any way.

Goal to Send money to friends

  • Collecting money for gifts can be another common use case. No UI changes needed.
  • Show nearby contacts without pressing the button.
  • Sending money to a card for example. Also a popular use case.

Doing these steps can help tomake assumptions about the usefulness of the UI. I will be happy to hear your thoughts and opinions. Don’t hesitate to contact me by mail or on Telegram.