On Demand Pay

UX, Mobile, Visual Design

When I joined the team, the On Demand Pay project had already been started by another designer and was being handed off to me. My task was to continue progress and create a solution on par with the current landscape of instant pay providers. The solution required a mobile app as well as a desktop configuration experience where users could control various settings of the service.

Transforming financial stability with On Demand Pay

80% of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck, and 1 in 4 don’t set aside monthly savings. Our clients were using third party vendors for instant payment solutions or none at all. We saw an opportunity to get into the market for instant pay transactions as a new product offering.

My role in the project

My main focus was creating the mobile sketches and wireframes and defining a visual direction that would be in line with our app and other applications in fin tech. I utilized tools like mood boards and worked with engineers to create coded prototypes to refine the direction. Addressing mobile design challenges in the absence of a standardized system required a lot of collaboration with designers who worked in mobile, as well as building my own familiarity with our existing mobile app as a whole.

I had a lot of opportunity to flex my design leadership and ability to push back and collaborate with a very motivated engineering team, giving feedback on their suggestions, pushing them in different directions and driving towards a single solution with my understanding the design constraints of the app.

Design discovery

I needed to get consensus and alignment from our stakeholders on both aesthetic and functionality. I did some moodboarding exercises and looked out at the competitive landscape to begin to hone in on the visual direction we wanted for the app. This also allowed me to get exposure to common patterns in the financial tech space that I could reference later in the project.

Sketching and ideation

There were shifting requirements through the project and undiscovered edge cases in the initially designed wireframes which meant I needed to continually refine and revise the direction. I went through an exploration of various patterns and concepts through light sketching in order to try and push my concepts. This phase is an important step in my creative process and often happens at various stages. I worked through some different ideas, refining the main screen and continued to explore other areas in the experience.

Concept creation and refinement

There was opportunity to push both visuals and interaction design. I decided to go for a simpler and more user-friendly style. I couldn’t reinvent the wheel in an existing design framework, but understanding and balancing how you can push a design while staying aligned to a system is one of my bigger strengths. I played around a bunch with different iterations of the home screen and tried different multiple interaction patterns like sliders or radio selectors for the app that would be more delightful for users to interact with.

Collaborating with executive leaders

Given we were launching a new product, our leaders gave valuable input on app details—emphasizing aesthetics and layout. Acknowledging constraints, they gave feedback I could take to push the concepts for improvement.

Deciding on a direction

I got everyone onboard with the design, finding a sweet spot that aligned well with similar apps but stood out visually in a crucial part of the application. To ensure a smooth user experience, I conducted very brief usability testing with people who have used similar apps, addressing any major concerns.

Unique edge cases

UX for a payment solution gets tricky with banking holidays. I had to Juggle those edge cases which meant figuring out how transactions process during breaks and designing components that give users required information in a clear way. Striking the balance between seamless transactions and keeping users informed during unexpected breaks became a key focus in ensuring a user-friendly and reliable payment experience.

Configuration and settings management

Our admins needed to manage global and individual settings for the service, so we added a new configuration space in the desktop experience. One of the challenges in this area was finding simple language and descriptions that helped our users understand the various options they could control like Employee Access and Transaction Limits. We also spent a fair amount of time deciding how the service should be defaulted for clients (always on/off), and how we could give users the ability to quickly toggle employees.

Mobile App Launch

The On Demand Pay service was built into our main application so we launched it with an app update. We launched it internally first to pressure test and we were happy to see over $4.2 million in total transaction amounts over only a very small subset (26) of our clients within the first year. The average transactions were $179 dollars, and the highest percentage users were hourly employees (81%).

It was an exciting launch, and the work we put into the app was well received across our organization and by our clients.


  1. Managing executive feedback. They had a lot of opinions of how the app should look which made it challenging to create modern solutions.
  2. We did not have a lot of mobile guidance on what the standard should look like. There were no guidelines set up and no dedicated mobile design team, so I had to look closely at what we had and make the decisions the best I could based on where the current mobile experience was at as well as collaborate with designers who were also working in the space.
  3. Jumping into the project after it was already started was challenging. It was a balancing act to refine and improve on what had been created so far and push it across the finish line.
  4. Feature and sales driven-We got the feature set from the PM, and it’s based on some understanding, but it was challenging to find the line of what to test and improve upon with our users. It felt like a lot of what I did was leverage our triad and our expertise to use our assumptions create the best product we could under the timeline and constraints we had.
  5. Figuring out how to display advanced calculations was challenging, and there were a lot of technical nuances around how we present when the user will receive their money (banking holidays, etc).
Caleb McGuire

I'm a father, husband and musician living just a little east of the Twin Cities. I've been designing awesome experiences professionally for over 15 years.

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