squirrel away

Squirrel Away

imac screen showing goal setting page

Squirrel Away

is designed to help save money quickly in preparation for a big purchase or expenditure. This tool is for users who are familiar with technology but prefer not to think too much about finances. They require an accessible app that allows them to easily record income and expenses and clearly communicates what they can do to save.

This project began with a competitive analysis, examining a plethora of savings applications including traditional banks, large and popular money-managing platforms such as Mint and Dobot, as well as many smaller savings apps available for mobile devices. Squirrel Away has been kept to one specific purpose: keep an eye on where the money is going in order to save for a particular goal.


User Stories

  • "As a user, I need to be able to tell the tool what my savings goal is and how long I have to reach it, so that I can save accordingly."
  • "As a user, I want to receive a personalized savings plan, so that I can save enough money to reach my goal in time."
  • "As a user, I need to be able to input information on the money I am receiving and spending (and on what) so, that I can see an overview of my finances."
  • "As a user, I want to see an overview of how much my finances have changed and how much I am saving throughout the saving period, so that I can stay on track."
  • "As a user, I want to see a dashboard of my finances clearly and visually, so that I can see how much I am spending at a glance.
Squirrel Away User Flow

Pen and Paper Sketches


A Low-fidelity User Flow

low fidelity screens
low fidelity screens


Mid-Fidelity Screens

Usability Testing Objectives

User understands the following features:

  • Connecting their choice of bank accounts
  • Entering their choice of goal and the option to add a custom goal
  • How to input a dollar amount for their savings goal
  • Confirmation that their goal has been registered and the ability to view progress toward that goal

Task 1

“You are using this app to save money for a short-term goal.
"You would like to enter a savings amount and connect your bank account.”


Testing Guidelines

Scale from 1 to 5 (1 being not at all confident - 5 being very confident)

Probing Questions

  • Have you ever looked for help to save money for a short-term goal?
  • What tools have you used for this purpose in the past?
  • Please describe your experience with these tools.

Task 2

“You would like to view your income and expenses and see how your savings goal is proceeding over time.”

Graphic showing correction after usabiltiy testingI


Participant 1

Jan, small business owner, very tech-savvy, extremely detail-oriented. Minneapolis, MN
Technology ratings scale - 5
Has never used or needed another app for savings other than her own bank account.

"I can still see these other choices (for banks) so this is confusing."

  • Pointed out inconsistency in design areas like input boxes
  • Clicked on other areas because she would have chosen her own bank and a different goal.


Pain Point
  • Savings plan page was unclear as to how the dollar amount correlated with the day, week, or month view.


  • A few of the bank and goal options were still visible on the following screen after she had made a choice. This was confusing as she wasn’t sure the system registered her decision.


  • Savings page and overview had repeat items that make it less clear which had the information she wanted to quickly view.


Participant 2

Jenna, student, avid iPhone user. Montreal, QC
Technology ratings scale - 4
Has never used an app for savings.



"The goal needs to be more clear." "I only get to add one goal?"

  • Like Jan, was unclear about savings page and overview and their purpose.
  • Jenna wanted the option to add another goal in the tab bar.



Pain Point
  • Tab bar. She thought having an icon to add another goal was important.
  • Jenna found the savings goal page to be much too busy and wanted labels on everything.


Participant 3

Megan, accounting, mid-level technology user. Cincinnati, Ohio.
Technology ratings scale - 3
Had considered using an app for savings but reluctant to connect her bank account due to security concerns.



"If I change the monthly amount of savings do I change the date, too?"

  • Was confidently moving through the app until encountering the savings page.
  • Wanted the option to change her daily/weekly/monthly savings and receive an alert as to how that changes other factors.



Pain Point
  • Savings plan page. Was not clear on the fact that she could not change the inputs for daily/weekly/monthly amounts by clicking on the numbers, but needed to use the buttons to change the deadline or amount.


  • Thought there should be an alert to notify that deadline date had changed.


Participant 4

Seema, student, high-level technology user. Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Technology ratings scale: 5
Has used YNAB® and Mint® for budgeting but never used an app for a short-term goal.



"Doesn't it have to show me how much money I have in my bank account so I can put in a goal amount?"

  • Seema wanted the app to be more like her bank account app.
  • Was relieved to see the expense/income details as she went through the pages.




Pain Point
  • Connecting bank accounts was confusing as she thought she should be able to view her balance and transactions immediately prior to inputting her savings goal.


  • Overview page wasn’t clear as to the numbers/percentages shown.

UI Designs

Squirrel Away has been designed as a simple, easily navigable goal-setting app without extras that make it more like a banking application. This project taught me that user preconceptions and expectations easily lead to adding unnecessary features. Continually referring back to the original objective is a lesson learned to avoid adding time to future projects.