Design Events – The London Fintech Design Summit 2018

London Design Fintech 2018
London Design Fintech 2018

Last week I joined the London Fintech Design Summit 2018. The first design event entirely focused on fintech products.


The experience of this intense day was fully consistent with this type of design events. As a designer and tech enthusiast, I was able to meet a bunch of professionals committed to delivering fintech products. I had the chance to attend to some interesting talks and, more importantly, the chance to eat a good amount of delicious chocolate cookies!

Lessons learnt

If I were asked to summarize the London Fintech Design Summit 2018 in three key concepts, I would have no doubt:

  1. Lack of trust – in more than a talk (especially the one delivered by Philippe Morton, Head of Strategy at Foolproof),  speakers presented analytics data and use-cases underlining the gap between the user expectations and the actual user experiences with the fintech products. This triggers an utterly pessimistic stance on financial products. Many users think that all banks are the same and that their products always hide pitfalls, such as hidden costs or information that is too technical and difficult to understand. A humanisation of the contents and a clear cut to the use of the technical jargon is the invite that comes out of this type of research

  2. Increased complexity – It was interesting to note the convergence of more presentations on the issue of overvaluation of the user’s capabilities. In particular, I found the angle of Philip Bonhard, Customer Experience Lead at Lloyds Bank, extremely interesting. He made us understand how authentication processes represent a serious barrier to a satisfactory user experience. The tendency of the makers when trying to fix technical or legal constraints is to increase the level of complexity. Starting from the most common use cases – such as the signing up to a service or the first access to the platform – to more important tasks such as the application for a mortgage. It is obvious that increasing complexity has an impact on product performance. It is no secret that users easily give up due to the difficulties encountered when performing tasks and the inability to take actions. Frustrations like these ones inevitably result in perspective applicants bailing out. “Designing with people and not designing for people” is the priceless advice of Gavin Holland Design Manager at Capital One
  3. The vision of the future – of course, we could not miss a discussion about the way forward for this type of products. What scenarios could be devised with the appearance and the consolidation of new technologies (for example, artificial intelligence)? A bunch of speakers have questioned themselves on how these phenomena could change the user habits related to fintech products, how to update platforms and how to maintain a constant level of innovation for products that are really struggling when trying to talk about money using human language. “Captains Courageous” like Anne Boden, CEO at Starling Bank, are shaking up the environment. Her project to create the first mobile bank in the United Kingdom shows how, by applying the right design methodologies, humanizing communication and simplifying processes, it is possible to launch a product that – on one hand – achieves the user satisfaction and trust – on the other hand – is able to make attain market goals

Lessons learnt

First of all, a big round of applause goes to the organization of the London Fintech Design Summit (Luke Reed, just to name one) for the idea and the courage to focus a whole day on the design of fintech products. New ideas and food for thought have came out by listening to the talks and chattering with people who, like me, attended the event.

I felt the strong lack of a discussion on the struggles, in terms of usability, of private bank apps and the entire eco-system of applications used by financial operators (for example, those used by asset managers). Both types of products have an enormous need to be re-thought and re-designed starting from the needs, the experiences and the problems of those who use them.

It is crystal clear that, alongside the technologies currently at our disposal, those emerging and those to come, humanization remains the silver bullet for the simplification of products and processes.

A frictionless user experience is – in a nutshell, the only metric available to users to gain confidence in fintech products.

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