Beware of little expenses, a small leak can sink a great ship. — Benjamin Franklin

People always have problem in tracking their expenses. I did a survey among my friends and colleagues, most of them thought of using, used an expense-tracking app before but later gave up or turned to

  • credit card statement(only card transaction)
  • own memory
  • ATM withdrawal notification and
  • rely on using Google Spreadsheet(She’s an accountant).

What causes it? The manual data input that kills the spirit of bookkeeping.

There are many expenses-tracking apps in the market, while I have downloaded and experimented most of them, too many apps are under-maintenance, they do not even have iPhone 7+’s screen-size support. Spendee stands out with its simplified visual interface and a more deliberate focus on the user experience.

Problems the app is supposed to solve

Spendee is a free money tracker app for budget planning and money management. It is useful to someone who just wants to track daily expenses, instead of being confused by the complicated expenses bookkeeping.

Interface overview

Consistency: Overall Spendee has intuitive user interfaces with common and understandable labels. It uses consistent colour codes (green and red is used for credit and debit respectively in the expense category) in enhancing functionality and also interactions with the entire experience.

There are a fare bit of animations(eg.charts) going on which keep things looking interesting and ‘lively’.

The primary landing page — Transactions: Displays user’s transaction history on user’s spending habits (such as daily expenses) in listings. You can also view wallet balance and current month’s expense amount.

Favourite features on the app

Demo bank for premium feature

Demo: I found it’s pleasant to experience the app first before getting blocked by register page. The experience of connecting to card/bank might be daunting for new users who are skeptical towards app security. Hence by giving them a demo data will make them more likely to subscribe to this premium feature.

They think the goal is to ‘get the user set up’, when it is actually to ‘convert users to power users’

Input daily expense features(Eg. Calculation, attachment): The main core feature. Logging an expense in an app is an easy task. It has a distinct “+” sign in the middle, you need to choose expense’s category(mandatory), submit and you are done. For a detailed expense, you can choose to add photo, description/ hashtags, currency, photos and mark location. By allowing calculation, it’s convenient for me to add up expenses that falls under same category.

Multi-currencies feature

Multi-currencies: With this feature, it is much simpler for user to update default exchange rate that are more suitable to user’s local context. The option to search for recent used currencies has made it convenient for users — they do not have to scroll all the way down for same currency again.

Infographics of Spendee

Infographics : Graphs can be intimidating if the app is too ambitious. Some apps show many graph settings(to cater for power users)which scare me(beginner) to understand all at once. A normal user might not be able to interpret complicated graphs.

The app provides line chart to show the progress of your expenses in a selected period (default: month) and pie chart on grouped incomes and expenses in terms of percentage and total to have a clearer view of your financial state. Personally I found this useful for me to analyse my spending habits.

Push notification and scheduled transaction: A scheduled transactions reduced needs to re-enter fixed transactions(eg. salary, insurance) every month. Based on personal needs, push notification serves as reminder to help setting up my habits to key in daily expense.

What I would like to improve

Excessive animations and layers in one screen: I prefer their previous design version as some animations feel out of place. User feel overwhelmed when there are 3 animations happen within secs after a button is triggered. It breaks the user’s flow in understanding the page’s function and forces the user to focus at multiple places. The multiple layers(keypad, category and and details layer) confronts user to make a decision before even know what’s the page is about.

Improve user understanding on why they are doing this: One of the drop-off factors is that keying in data is too troublesome for them but the root reason is why are they not willing to do this? By looking from the graph with the data, how can they gain from this? Providing a value for them to key in transactions manually or trust to sync their bank account for transactions improves app engagement.

Make the tracking seamless and trustable: Most of the people are not aware of auto-tracking from card banking and some have “trust” issues. I tried their eWallet/bank synchronisation, there are lots of discrepancy on actual transaction and categorisations which in this case I might disconnect it and back to my manual input method after a few wrong transactions. The experience of keep logging into bank(re-enter credentials and OTP)which I had connected earlier bugged me.

Conclusion

I like that Spendee’s simplification on focuses on its core feature which to track daily expenses and other sub-features designed to enhance the experience.

Amy Cheong is a software engineer and early-riser who drafted this article at 4a.m. You can follow her on Twitter or Linkedin

Current: Product Manager at Workmate • Always Software Engineer.