Creating a debt-free world by harnessing the power of community.


Target Platform

15 Days

Project Length


Team Size

Nov 11


Project Initiation

The Problem

43% of Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque.
That's more people than the population of the Netherlands.

The Solution

Allow employees to redeem the wages they already earned between paydays.
Welcome to ramenpay.

Our client gave us the task of creating the minimum viable product for his app idea. 

It was a rough idea and we had to bury ourselves in research to fully understand how this would work and how we would be able to execute this effectively.



Market Research

Interviews & Surveys

Statistics & Data Analysis

User Personas

User Journey Map


Feature Prioritization

Information architecture

User Flows

Low-Fi Sketches


Mid-Fi Prototype

User Test


Hi-Fi Skinning

Future Considerations


Payday loans are everywhere. You’ve probably seen the ads. They tell you it’s a quick fix to a big problem: just take out some money and pay it back when you get your paycheque!

The truth is, this is not only a bandaid fix, but it can be extremely harmful.


Our team sent out surveys, conducted interviews, and read through pages of statistics.

It turns out that 4.3% of Canadians use payday loans. That comes out to almost 1.6 million people. More than half of these people are in the low to moderate income range.

Why would anyone want to take out payday loans? Well, 86% of people who take out these loans use the money to pay for necessities like rent, food, and medical expenses. We’ll delve deeper into that soon!

Some payday loans can charge 500% interest rates! If you take out $100 to pay for groceries, you could be paying up to $500 by your next paycheque. Is it really worth it?

Even after getting hit with these high interest rates, 60% of payday loan users come back for more. The truth is, 57% of people do not understand the cost of payday loans. Almost a third of people do not seek financial advice from professionals and choose to make their own uninformed decisions.

Interestingly enough, we found out that people use their credit cards to pay off their payday loans. This was very surprising to us because the interest rate on credit cards is much lower than that of payday loans.

The trend speaks for itself: the less financially literate you are, the more likely you are to take out a payday loan.

According to the Canadian Payroll Association, 43% of Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque. That’s more than the population of the Netherlands!

So what are people even borrowing money for? I’m sure you could guess! People need to eat, especially when they have a couple of growing kids. Food and education ranked the number 1 reason why people borrow money.

The second is entertainment. Now, before you go off and judge people for wanting to pay for some Netflix, really think about it. A whopping 61% of the people we surveyed listed finance as their biggest stress! All to the point that according to the Canadian Payroll Association, 22% of them lose over 30 minutes a day in productivity! Leisurely activities nourish your mental health the way food nourishes your physical health!

Coming in as the 3rd biggest reason for borrowing money is emergency expenses! The last thing someone who is living paycheque to paycheque is an unexpected expense popping up, throwing off their whole budget.



of payday loan users are no longer eligible for bank loans

lower financial literacy = higher payday loan usage


of payday loans are used to purchase necessities

#3 use for payday loans goes to emergency expenses


of payday loan users will use this service more than once

#1 use for payday loans goes to groceries and education

#2 use for payday loans goes to entertainment

If you didn't feel like reading all of that, here's a small snippet of things your should know!

Key Findings

Competitive and Comparative Analysis

We looked at seven other companies that ramenpay would have to compete with. We compared 23 features and functions. This chart only shows a handful of what we looked at!

Putting A Face To The Problem

We created three user personas of someone who would benefit from an app like ramenpay. Each part of who they are is based on a data point we collected through our research, surveys, and interviews.


User Journey Map

We used Leanne as our primary persona. Let's take a peak at what she is going through in her life right now. We will use this information to see how we can help her.

After dropping her kids off at school, her car breaks down. She has to call in to work and let them know that she can’t make it in today. Leanne calls a tow-truck and gets her car to a garage. After the trip and the mechanic fees, she finds out the whole ordeal will cost hundreds of dollars that she does not have.

She walks over to her local Money Mart and takes out the money she needs., unaware of the 500% interest fees. She pays the mechanic and gets her car fixed. Fast forward to her payday, she is only able to pay off part of the loan because she did not account for the interest fees. She will have to take out another loan to pay for necessities. She is stuck in a dangerous cycle.

The Opportunity

How can we prevent Leanne from going into the endless cycle of loans and debt? Well, if she had ramenpay, she would have been able to take out the wages she already earned between paydays and avoided a loan altogether.

Let's Start Planning

Now that we had an idea of who our users would be, we decided which features had to be included in the app and which could be put aside for another day. This was a 3 week sprint, so we could only include the necessities.

We took into account how much effort would be needed to create each feature and how big of an impact it would have.

Afterwards, we created a design map to lay out all the screens we would need to design and prototype.

It took a lot of discussion and debate to figure out how this app was going to be laid out. We needed to understand the goals and vision of ramenpay completely before we could start planning any architecture. We consulted with our client to get some clarity and to make sure we were on the right track.

After everything was clarified and we had a firm understanding of what needed to be done in these 2 weeks of UX design, we finalized the map and set off to design.

Map and User Flow

Design Map (A Closer Look)

Time To Design

I never liked designing for apps because of the size restrictions, but I really enjoyed it this time around. I had to take my head out of the desktop site mindset. Apps are not websites! I think this clicked in my brain after sketching out the first couple of screens. This app has a job to do and we can’t solve every problem with one app. If that were the case, Google would have one Google app and not a bunch of smaller ones to tackle different problems.

We finalized our low-fis and started designing the mid-fidelity prototype.

User Testing: Onboarding is Unclear

We needed to emphasize key features through three screens, along with checklist of what users need.

After user testing, the first problem we came across was that the on-boarding was not clear enough and was too long. We missed the mark with explaining the app to our users. We managed to shorted the on-boarding screens while making them more informative, highlighting key points like how there are no fees for the user, how the app works, and the benefits. The final screen would be a pop-up informing the user of what they would need to complete registration. No surprises!

User Testing: Needs Better Hierarchy

We needed to rearrange the layout, adjust contrast & text size to ensure users know where to look first.

The original idea behind the first home screen was to have a graphic showing how much money you have coming in on payday, how much you have already spent, and how much is currently redeemable. It would look like a bucket that would fill up and get empty depending on how you are spending your money. However, users were confused by this. The hierarchy was off. Do they read the bigger portion first or the top portion?

We changed it so that the user would see the split between available funds and spent funds. The wages available on payday were faded out because they were not as important to the user as opposed to what they could spend right away using the app.

The ‘days until next paycheque’ was a little unclear and not very noticeable. We changed it to have a calendar showing the exact date of their next paycheque and other additional information they might find useful.

Finally, we added a list of recently visited merchants. This way, they can quickly select shops they frequent. It also clarified the purpose of the app right away, as users had some difficulty understanding what they were supposed to do or go from the home screen.

User Testing: Merchants Page Is Like A Puzzle

We needed to make the search bar more versatile, and show categories immediately

I was really proud of the fancy transitions I did with the merchants page. The issue was, it just wasn’t functional. It looked pretty, sure, but users just didn’t know what to do. Too much information was hidden, making things harder to navigate. We opened up the search bar and gave preset categories that the user use quickly and easily.

We also changed the lists created to ‘In Your Area’ which would use the GPS to determine which merchants were nearest to the user. We placed the ‘Recently Visited’ list at the bottom because it was already on the home screen. We completely removed the ‘Picked For You’ list so that the registration process would be a lot faster since we could remove the options for users to set their preferences.

No one ‘prefers’ car repair places. You can’t predict emergency expenses. This was a big factor in our decision to get rid of the preferences settings and lean more towards a ‘recently visited’ section instead. 

User Testing: Payment Page Can't Save QR Code

Some users prefered to create a QR code from home, then shop later. This meant we needed to add a new feature where users could save a QR code for later.

Let’s say that in the morning, the user planned to go out on an errands run later. They might set a budget that morning. Being able to save a QR code would allow them to pre-plan their shopping and set aside certain amounts of money per merchant. For security reasons, these QR codes would expire within 24 hours. This feature also allows users to exit the app and open it again to save data and battery.

The Final Product

After a week of research and planning, and a week of prototyping and testing, we finally handed off the mid-fi to the UI team.