Frictionless Mobile Account Opening

Designing a new digital bank to bridge the U.S. and China.

The problem
Who solved it
How we did it

The new bank needed to create their Online Account Opening experience on a mobile app for both English and Chinese-speaking audiences.

I worked with two other designers on this three and a half week sprint: Maryna Cherkashyna and Hana Park. We as a team went through all parts of the user experience design process. I also focused was on research, wireframing, interaction design, and prototyping.

Tools that we used were Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Zoom, and the Google Suite. For this project, there was another UX team based out of China that had been working on research for some time before we came on. They sent us some of there research and raw data to help us along with our side of the design. Using this research and the research we did independently we created wireframes and prototypes while conducting usability testing, heuristic evaluation, and business evaluation.

A new place to bank

When we first started on this project, our clients had a design for opening a new bank account on desktop, but not for mobile. It was our job to create a new and innovative way for users to open an account on their mobile devices.

No form is the best form

We started by simplifying the experience. This was achieved in two ways: by only asking one question per screen, and by using swipe gestures to quickly and intuitively move through the account opening process. Even though we couldn't legally reduce the number of questions, this experience felt shorter and was more device-appropriate than a standard form design.

Research, Research, Research

First, we had to dive into a large amount of research that our client's Chinese team had conducted. From this research, we were able to synthesize a lot of information that proved to be very helpful with our design.


Key takeaways:

  • Our target users need to have a sense of financial security. We also needed to educate them about the specifics of U.S. bank accounts vs. Chinese accounts. Our design allowed them to learn about available products before applying and submitting any personal information.

  • Chinese users are more accustomed to using advanced OCR solutions for ID validation. Instead of tediously typing in all their personal identification information, users just quickly scan their ID and passport.

Once we were done going through the client's research, it was time to do some researching ourselves. Our initial focus was on how Chinese users have different expectations around mobile design.


Key takeaways:

  • Chinese users expect icon-heavy designs

  • Chinese users are very accustomed to scanning barcodes/QR codes with their phones

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Chinese App 2.jpg
Bank of China
English version
Chinese App 3.png
Designing starts here

The first thing that we created was a user flow, detailing in what order the user would need to input their personal information. Then, we were able to dive into how best to have the user input in their information.

Our first iteration was a very standard account opening form.

2.0_Background Information.png
5.2_Terms and Conditions (Agree twice).p
Time to pivot

We quickly decided to take a more innovative and usable approach. We simplified the experience by only having one question per screen, but also allowed users to quickly move through the form by swiping. 

4 - Residency, Citizenship, SSN.png
01_Financial security shield.png
BGI Terms and Conditions (Agree twice) (
The final deliverable... with a surprise bonus
  • Detailed research documentation including analyses of Chinese technology, culture, digital banking, and other competitive and comparative evaluations.

  • A comprehensive set of account opening user flows

  • High fidelity mockups of all account opening screens

  • Clickable prototype 

Bonus: Design experiments


Our client was also interested in a hypothetical design that could utilize EID (Electronic ID) - this is a new program being implemented by the Chinese government for all of its citizens. The EID contains personal information as well as background information. 

We also experimented with a more icon-heavy design that might be more culturally appropriate. 

Thinking back

  • As a team, we were able to delegate tasks based on our individual strengths. This allowed us to start working independently early in the design process.

  • We considered many different design solutions and were able to produce a very feasible option as well as a future-thinking hypothetical design. 

  • Very thorough research gave us a solid understanding of who our users are and how to best serve them.

What I learned


  • That sometimes the correct solution is something that has been done before just with a new spin on it.

  • How to research different cultures and how to use that research to create new designs. 

  • How to better design forms and questionnaires. 

Thinking to the future

  • Review and confirm the design direction with key stakeholders

  • Design iterations based on user testing insights

  • Extensive user testing