You’re out enjoying lunch with your friends, but when you try to pay at the end of the meal it turns out the cafe won’t split the bill. And, of course, no-one has cash on them. What do you do?
This is the type of situation Commonwealth Bank (CBA) iOS developer Charisse Co has to think about. Her job is to make the bank’s smartphone apps more useful and innovative through interaction design. Take the cafe scenario; an expense-sharing add-on to CBA’s app means the person who pays the bill can then keep track of who in the group has paid their share.
The CommBank Labs app, part of CBA’s Innovation Lab, offers customers the chance to become part of new developments in digital banking. One of its goals is to help find ways for users to more easily manage the smaller details when it comes to their finances.
“We look at things like gamification – using the elements of games design – to help make saving money easier,” Charisse explains. For example, you’re buying something that costs $9.50. You could pay the exact amount, or you can take advantage of the Savings Jar program, round it up to $10 and have that 50 cents change put into a savings account. Over time those bits of loose change add up, and one day when you’re short of cash you can access that hoard for emergencies.
Another interaction design idea being explored is a Savings Challenge, which compares your current spending habits to how they’ve looked over the past three months, so you can keep track of how well you’re doing at saving.
For Charisse, who picked computer science because of her love of maths, having the chance to play around with the code of these apps is exciting, but also a little daunting sometimes.
“In my first week working with the CBA code base, it scared me because I didn’t want to break anything,” she says. Now, she knows it’s about giving it a go and seeing what happens. “Don’t be scared to try things out. I did computer science without knowing anything about coding and I ended up really enjoying it.”
– Bianca Nogrady
Charisse’s journey to working in interaction design:
> > Bachelor of Computer Science, University of Adelaide
> > Graduate Software Engineer, CBA
Interested in coding? Read about Sonya Corcoran‘s work as Digital Innovation Manager.
“We look at things like gamification – using the elements of games design – to help make saving money easier.”
Author: Heather Catchpole
Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs