Interactive Pony Bank

Designing an interactive and educative tangible device for kids.

Role Ssr. UX Designer
Team IoT Studio
Company Globant

Overview

This process was based on the hypothesis that in the US, when a person chooses a bank, they choose it for life. It was developed for an American multinational financial services company and we design a prototype of an interactive device and a mobile application. During the discovery process the following statement was defined:

"The Pony Bank is an educational tool, with the aim of helping the children to understanding how the financial world works. What saving means, what is like to have to wait, to be wise when planning. Learning to achieve a goal. Making savings physically tangible in an everyday growing digital world."

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Problem

According to the research, it was found that lifetime value of a customer increases if the relationship with the Bank is created from an early age. Children tend to choose the Banks their parents have. In addition, the emotional relationship with objects increases the perceived value of a brand.

  • Stakeholders: Create an innovative product that captures the attention of the little ones and involves them in the management of their small finances.
  • Clients: Help parents teach their children how to save and use their money.

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Process

After a long process of discovery and ideation, a concept idea was defined and personas & journey maps were created. So, we decided to develop a diferent interface for each user.

The product system consisted of:

  • A tangible interface for children. Which was an interactive mascot using the animal that represented this Bank, a pony.
  • A mobile application for parents and family.

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Solution

Many parents give their children pocket money for everyday tasks like setting the table. The Pony Bank proposes a shift towards the digital world. Instead of giving children cash, parents transfer a sum for each task the child performs. In turn, the application for parents allows setting a goal. Parents and children can define the goal together, such as buying a ball.

That ball has a market value, therefore the child has to perform x tasks to be able to buy the ball. Your Pony Bank not only shows you how much money you have in your account but also indicates progress towards the goal set. By achieving this goal, the child can use the Pony Bank as a contactless credit card since it has an NFC chip.

The prototype

Hardware components

  • Particle Photon-based controlled Pony Bank
  • Native WiFi internet connection capabilities
  • Led lights for feedback effects
  • 2300 mAh battery for limited unplugged working support
  • Accelerometer for detecting movements
  • NFC chip for purchases simulation

Exterior part printed in 3D. Divided in 5 parts to facilitate the assembly.

Companion APP

  • Completely separated from FW infrastructure
  • Full-stack-JS responsive development (NodeJS, MongoDB, React JS)
  • Rest API for devices communications

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Highlights

  • Always take pictures and store them properly. I was so immerse on this process trying to solve how to organise components inside, which were the best components to use and how to create a prototype that was going to be assembled in California (I was working in Buenos Aires), that I did not store properly the photos that I took with my phone. When I started writing the case I realised that there was a lot of valuable information that was lost.
  • Always version files and use a parametric software when designing a tangible interface Iterating a 3D model that was not modelled on a parametric software is hell. Tools like Rhino are great for doing fast models but if you need to make changes on things like size it could be complicated and maybe you'll have to 3D model some parts again. If working with SolidWorks or plugins as Grasshopper this process is easier because you just need to change some parameters.

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