For my group Bachelor graduation project at Aarhus University I was asked to design a tangible product. In my group, we gave ourselves the challenge to design a product that would make personal economy tangible and understandable, for young people ages 18-25.
We found that there is definitely a need for young people to get a tool that will make them understand their economy. Statistics show that an increasing number of young people have financial problems and poor knowledge about basic economics, though they themselves don’t think so. For example, one in three doesn’t know what the term ‘interest’ means.
Framing the Problem
Young people use internet banking to track their economy. But of the people we talked to, only 18% feel their economy under control. Take a look at almost any Danish internet bank, like the one from ‘Danske Bank’ one of the largest Danish banks, and you will understand why. It looks like an Excel spreadsheet, no even the slightest use of visualization.
In a workshop, one of the participants captured what we felt was central to the problem: “Dankort [danish credit card] isn’t money!”. We agreed – it doesn’t feel like real money!
The plastic material and effortless interaction makes the credit card feel cheap, contradictory to it’s powerful function. Before approving a purchase you confirm the purchase of the displayed amount of money, but it doesn’t feel real – it feels like magic money.
Our empirical studies of young people, banks, and statistics, made us understand our users needs.
We present CardView, a digitally augmented credit card, with a built-in screen, that represents your economy graphically. Budgets of four categories can be displayed on the card, for example food, clothes, books and cafes. CardView features three different visualizations, colors can be customized.
We protect the users privacy by letting them assign their own colors to identify categories, and by not displaying the amount of money allocated and spent. We built a CardView-prototype on an iPhone which we concealed inside a plastic box. Additionally we made a mockup of a credit card terminal for testing.