Human-Centered Design can accelerate the growth of mobile money and benefit the poor

In 2015, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and partnered to improve mobile money for low-income people in East Africa using Human-Centered Design. Over 1.5 years, is partnering with innovative organizations, conducting research to deeply understand customers, designing and testing new solutions, and bringing digital financial offerings to market. We’ve already begun working with Airtel and Vodacom in Tanzania, as well as other innovative organizations like BimaAFYA.

This website shares highlights of the Human-Centered Design insights, prototyping, and design work that has conducted with our partners in the first six months of this program.

Who’s is a nonprofit design organization that works to empower the poor. We believe that by understanding and working alongside those in the greatest need, we can design solutions that create prosperity. Partnering with nonprofits, social enterprises, and foundations, practices human-centered design to solve some of the world's most difficult problems.

What’s human-centered design?

Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving. It's a process that starts with the people you're designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs.

We’re using a variety of methods to design and learn.

A more usable mobile money interface designed, tested, and iterated a range of features for USSD and smartphone mobile interfaces, based on common painpoints and barriers to mobile-money use experienced by customers and agents. By making new ideas tangible and inviting users to interact with them, we gained valuable feedback to design digital financial services that are more accessible and desirable for low-income, low-literacy, and rural customers.

Live prototyping with big data

In Tanzania, leveraged data science to produce quantitative analyses that complement our qualitative research and insights, in partnership with data science firm DrivenData. By looking at a range of data sets, including mobile-money accounts, CDR, network data, etc., we can uncover and track patterns that inform the design and testing of improved products and services.

Nationwide Data Gathering

In Uganda, commissioned a national survey to understand customers’ financial behaviors and uses of mobile money to complement our qualitative research, in partnership with Ugandan research firm Knowledge Consulting. This survey was conducted in January 2016 with 1,456 respondents, yielding a rich body of responses and findings that informed our approach to improving mobile money in this market.

For more, check out these:

Insights and Opportunity Areas

Our presentation from January, which covers our learnings from our first foray into the field.

Uganda National Survey Results

Our survey which gave us a look into Ugandan’s behaviors and opinions regarding mobile money.

Design Kit

Our introductory toolkit to human-centered design (HCD).