Squirrel Away

Squirrel Away


To help people 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 about their finances. They require an accessible app that allows them to easily record income and expenses and clearly tells them what they can do to better save.

Table of Contents

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.

User Flow

Squirrel Away User Flow

Pen and Paper Sketches

Sketch of connect bank account
sketch name of bank
sketch savings amount
sketch calculating
sketch need to adjust?
sketch overview
sketch transactions

A Low-fidelity User Flow

Hi-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

Testing Guidelines

How confident is User with technology?

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.

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.

Quote – “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

Priority Level


  • Savings plan page was unclear as to how the dollar amount correlated with the day, week, or month view.
  • Critical
  • Change layout and provide better descriptors.
  • 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
  • Critical
  • Once user chooses bank and goal, make the other choices disappear on the following page
  • Savings page and overview had repeat items that make it less clear which had the information she wanted to quickly view.
  • Critical
  • Put percentage bar on overview along with links to savings, income, and expenditures. Include all goal information on savings page along with descriptors

Participant 2

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

Quotes – “”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.

Priority Level

  • Preferential


  • Include “add new” icon to tab bar.
  • Savings plan page was unclear as to how the dollar amount correlated with the day, week, or month view.
  • Critical
  • Layout savings plan page to clearly show correlation between different views

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.

Quotes – “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

  • Thought there should be an alert to notify that the deadline date had changed.
  • Savings plan page. Was not clear on the fact that she could not change the inputs by clicking on the numbers, but needed to use the buttons to change the deadline or amount.

Priority Level

  • Preferential
  • Preferential


  • Added text to make clear that deadline can be changed by user.
  • Adjust text on the buttons to say “go back” and adjust goal or deadline.

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.

Quotes – “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.

Priority Level

  • Preferential
  • Critical


  • Provide information upfront at the welcome screen to better explain the purpose of the application.
  • Add text to more clearly state percentages saved and amount remaining to achieve goal on Overview page.

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.”

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



Squirrel Away is a goal-setting app that is simple and easy to navigate, without adding extras that make it more of a banking application. Usability testing showed that preconceptions by the users of what the app should do could lead to dissatisfaction with the application. Adding a clear explanation upfront of what the user can expect from the application sets the stage for a better user experience .

Project duration: 8 weeks.