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Fintech Design Summit 2019: 7 recommendations Financial companies should read and adopt

Livia Thimotheo
Reading Time:
5 minutes

Fintech Design Summit (FDS) is one of the best conferences for designers working in the finance industry and we were there for its second year to learn from our peers and from experts in user experience.

7 pieces of advice that financial companies should adopt this year are highlighted in this article:

Take inspiration from the hospitality industry

The day started with Duena Blomstrom, CEO of People Not Tech, discussing Emotional Banking: why bankers need knowledge, courage and passion. The talk focused on the fact that bankers are not creating positive emotional experiences with their brand because they know users are more likely to break a romantic partnership of years than switch banks. She encouraged us to take inspiration from the hospitality industry and really go beyond what is expected to deliver a great experience.

Duena Blomstrom

Duena Blomstrom delivering her keynote.

Write in plain English, even Terms & Conditions

Monzo was represented by the Design Director Vuokko Aro who talked about how they’ve implemented Spotify’s Squad Framework. Squads are autonomous Agile teams working towards a goal. It was using this structure that they managed to achieve feats that a regular bank wouldn’t. Such as making their Terms & Conditions only a page long or a three-minute read by changing sentences that said  “We require that you provide us with the aforementioned appropriate documentation”, to “We need you to give us the documents we asked you about.”


Stop thinking Product Design and start thinking Service Design

Joel Bailey, Service Designer of EY Seren spoke passionately about how we should stop doing Product Design and focus more on Service Design. For instance, a better mortgage journey should not be the goal. Enabling users to be better homeowners should.


Creating a concierge could be a way to stand out from the crowd

Next up was Eli Geoffroy, Product Manager of Klarna. He described how they’re using AI to power their A/B Tests which is tough to describe so here’s a picture that might help.

Klarna’s machine learning A/B testing overview


A good point that he made and we’ve observed as well is how winners in the financial space will develop platforms that act as a concierge. When everyone is offering the same services, the ones leveraging user data to help bring more value to their users' lives beyond finance will stand out. 

Branding is experience 

Jen Heazlewood, Group Creative Director from R/GA, brought one of the most beautiful and inspirational talks of the day. She exemplified how branding helps build the user experience showcasing two banking services for millennials they designed: Liv and Bradesco Next. She argued that incumbents fail to cater for millennials and how they fixed it in those projects. 


Using behavioural science in insurance to prevent fraud

After the break, Dmitry Nekravoski, Head of Product Design of Slice labs told us that the old days of “Ferengi rules of acquisition” are over.

And a new era of on-demand insurance or insurance-as-a-service is on the rise. AXA XL’s Cyber Coverage is an example:


He also described the partnership with Max Bazerman, Harvard behavioural scientist, to encourage honesty, prevent fraud, and manage loss costs. By looking at eight primary behavioural techniques, plus artificial intelligence algorithms, they created clear, fair, and transparent paths throughout the process that are key to reducing fraud. An example of this is requesting the customers to sign their name on the documents at the beginning of the page and not at the end.

Dmitry Nekrasovski from Slice Labs  

Less #fintech and more #finsense

Finally, another captivating presentation was delivered by Dan Makoski, Chief Design Officer of Lloyds Banking Group who shared with us some of the ways they design better experiences. One of them is actually inviting customers to not just chat but actually design with them. He’s inspired by the work of Liz Sanders, a visionary in pre-design research, having introduced many of the tools, techniques and methods being used today to drive and/or inspire design from a human-centred perspective.

Dan Makoski on Liz Sander’s work on human-centred design

Like Monzo’s Vuokko, he thinks the financial services need to simplify their vocabulary so it’s less #fintech and more #finsense. How many people outside of the banking industry know what an APR (Annual Percentage Rate) is? Why still call it this way?

There was way more content in the form of talks and panels than I could absorb in one day, so apologies if I didn’t cover everything. If anything, I hope this is an incentive to not miss it next year!

Livia Thimotheo

Livia is a UX Designer at Dock9. She's worked in digital products in the financial sector including applications, websites and chatbots. The Design of Everyday Things was her first design book and it completely changed the way she sees the world.