BMO Financial Group X BrainStation
4 Days Design Sprint Challenge

Goal: To create a microsite that offers a welcoming experience for newcomers

Being to establish a long-term trusting relationship between international students and ThinkBank

Our Design Sprint Project Goal

4 Days Design Sprint

UX Research, UX Design, Wireframes Maker, Stitcher

ThinkBank by BMO Financial Group

The Brief

The interactive microsite was created during a week-long design sprint hosted by BrainStation and BMO Financial Group. We were given the design challenge of creating a web or mobile microsite design to help newcomers open a bank account for ‘ThinkBank’, a substitute brand given to us by the BMO Design team. We were provided with a set of personas to choose from as well as the branding guidelines (logo, font, icons, colour palette, subject illustrations). My team and I had 4 days to research, conduct user interviews, prototype, and complete usability testing with iterations.

Brand Guidelines

Colour Palette

Illustrations: Arginalia Artifficial Set

Typography: Poppins

Day 1 - Map

Start at the end, set a goal, interview users, Secondary Research

The Problem

Setting up a new life in a new country can be a daunting process for international students, especially when they have a limited or no network.

Research Finding

  • Canadian immigrants form a key market in the retail banking sector.
  • 300,000 newcomers arrive in Canada each year, representing 22% of Canada’s population.
  • There are zero partnerships between Canadian and foreign banks.
  • The number of international students coming to Canada is increasing every year (250k in 2016/2017, 550k in 2018, 700k in 2019).

Talking to Real People

  • Newcomers are looking for empathy in a financial advisor.
  • They want to trust their bank.
  • They want someone who speaks their language.
    It is more convenient to use their phone for online banking.
  • They lack information about products and services.

Project Goal

Being to establish a long-term trusting relationship between international students and ThinkBank

How Might We – Provide recommendations with the same level of impact as a mom or a friend?

Day 2 - Sketch & Decide

Sketching, Ideation, Solution

Persona - Hatsu Li

Our chosen persona is Hatsu Li, who arrived in Canada recently. He is looking to find financial information and assistance to open a banking account. He is not fluent in English and know nothing about banking in Canada. He want to get thing done so he can focus on his studies. 


Experience Map


The final solution is to create a mobile microsite to allow users to explore and share their oversea story with ThinkBank product. Users can pick up recommendations from other clients who have a similar background. This platform aims to create an online community to establish a long-term trusting relationship between international students and ThinkBank.

Day 3 - Prototype

Build a Prototype

Initial Prototype

Day 4 - Test

Test the Prototype and iteration

User Testing

We conducted our user testing with 5 participants to better understand how real users interacted with the prototype in order to make improvements to our solution.

Through user testing, we were able to verify that our prototype achieved majority of our initial sprint goals:

  • Immediate sense of community:  Users felt the sense of being in the international community, and they can’t wait to explore the site.
  • User provided recommendations: Users understood from the strong walkthrough why they should choose ThinkBank product via other users’ recommendations.

It was apparent however, that there were minor issues to resolve to ensure usability:

  • Language Selection: Some of the wording has a better choice. The tone of the phrasing should more like coming from the student perspective.
  • Labelling and Font Size: For the interactive pages, some of the users found them to be unintuitive due to labelling or sizing of fonts.

Minor usability issues were quickly resolved to yield the final Hi-Fi prototype.

Final Prototype

Day 5 - Present

On the final day, we presented our design pitch to ThinkBank.

The BMO Financial Group was very happy with the storytelling. From the start of the presentation to the end, there was a progression of logic that made clear what the intent behind our design decisions were. We were able to create a simple yet visually engaging and delightful experience that addressed the business, brand, and user requirements.

Reflection and Learning

Further Iterations: We would like to make further iteration of the core value that connects the user to the branch manager, and how to further shorten the emotional distance a newcomer has with big corporation banks.

Challenge: Our biggest challenge going into this was the time constraint and learning to work with each other to think fast on our feet. We were able to come together as a team and make decisions as one but also challenge ideas if needed. I would have loved to be able to test with more initial ideas and wireframes without the addition of colour and details. In my next steps, I would like to further test the next version to flush out possible usability issues.

Bryan Li / Sr. UX Designer

Design must echo direction and purpose.

Copyright © Bryan Li All right reserved.