Product Designer



We throw away coins on a daily basis. We toss them in our drawers, or they fall between the cracks in our sofas. Now with the ChangeUp smart piggy bank, you can put those coins to good use. 

ChangeUp wants to help kids save their money by setting goals for things they really want, all the while teaching them about financial responsibility. 


In early 2017 I led the product design of the ChangeUp mobile application which serves as the primary interface for the digital piggy bank. In this capacity, I conducted research, created user experience documentation and developed prototypes. 


The following challenges were identified and ranked during discovery:

  1. Design a kid-friendly mobile application 
  2. Conceive an interactive approach for displaying history
  3. Gamify the user experience
  4. Create an activity sharing experience that provides engaging status updates to followers   


I studied the development stages of children as it relates to finance In order to define our target age range. This research aided in identifying the archetypical user, understanding features that are important to this demographic as well as limitations that color their experience. For example, when do children begin to understand money lessons and at what age can they grasp more complex calculations such as saving towards a goal.

Kids as young as 5 or 6 may be developmentally ready for simple money lessons, such as how to make deposits and set short-term savings goals. But it’s not until they reach the ages of 8 and 9 that they really begin to understand how saving works.

Once they reach 11 or 12, they can also do more complex calculations, such as figuring out how much money they’ll need over time.


Typical signup convention uses email as the unique account identifier, however, nearly all major email providers restrict users under 14 years of age. Using the typical signup flow would result in a great deal of friction during onboarding, to address this challenge I recommended using the device ID instead of email as the unique identifier. An email was made optional for account recovery and moved under settings as part of the user profile.


Saving History

Graphs are typically used to display history, however, they hardly seem relatable to our target demographic. I used the swipe gesture to allow users to scroll back in time to learn how removing coins alters the balance and thereby converting a static graph into a learning opportunity. 


In most applications sharing to social media is the typical use case, however, age restrictions rule out this pattern for our demographic. In response to this challenge, I recommended building a web-based feed that parents can follow for updates.


As a way to motivate kids to reach their goal, I recommended building mini-games into the experience that are unlocked along the way. During On-Boarding kids are encouraged to create a goal to save towards thereby attaching a positive association to saving. 


The ChangeUp prototype is embedded below. Try it out.


This project was a fantastic opportunity to explore the challenges of designing products for children. Age limitations around email and social media will continue to present a significant challenge in designing experiences for this demographic.