Helping university students to have open & stigma-free financial conversations on campus.

My Role

UX Research 
UX Design 

Visual Design 
Usability Testing 


1 UX Designer

2 Visual Designer

1 Engineer


Adobe Illustrator 
User Interviews 
Secondary Research

Crazy 8 ideation

Task Analysis


Aug 22 - Nov 22
12 weeks

Imagine your university days: late-night studies, budget meals, and on-campus jobs—the typical life of an international student. Did you ever feel the weight of financial challenges, yet hesitate to discuss them with family, friends, or university professionals?

Often, there's a silent struggle wrapped in the stigma around money talks.

After conducting user testing on our product, we found that 8 out of 10 students felt comforted by the idea of openly discussing their financial challenges.


Why is the issue important?


Students feel judged by their peers based on visible signs of financial strain, such as clothing or lifestyle choices.


Students work part-time jobs to support their education and cover living expenses.


Students experience debt and other financial difficulties which causes long-term challenges.


I designed a blend of physical and digital experiences, offering students advice from anonymous peers and access to professionals for credible financial solutions.

This empowers them to make informed decisions, and cultivates stigma-free conversations on campus, leading to a stress-free university life and enduring bonds with peers and professionals.

Design Approach

Jump to the Solution

Physical Product

I envisioned a solution that seamlessly integrates into students' daily lives by placing physical wall art in high-traffic areas like dorm lobbies and eateries. This installation, as a starting point, allows students to transition to digital discussions by tapping their phones (NFC) on the MoneyComb Tiles.

Digital Prototype

Upon tapping the tile, students gain access to a mobile application for financial assistance while maintaining anonymity. The app features an onboarding game to initiate conversations about financial matters and encourages participation in a community where students can seek advice from peers and experts


User Research results & findings

I conducted secondary research and interviewed over 6 diverse students and a university financial department professional.

Using insights from these interviews and observations, I identified themes through affinity diagramming. This process pinpointed pain points and refined the problem statement, shaping the intervention strategy based on on-campus realities and student perspectives.

Key Insights

Untrusting of Professional Assistance

Discussing financial issues with the school department made most students uncomfortable; they preferred talking to friends or family in similar situations.

Financial Education is not Important

Students prioritized managing personal finances to quickly pay off debt and ensure security, rather than focusing on financial education.

Unaware of Resources

Many were unaware of university departments, seminars, and workshops available to help with financial stress.

Negative Feelings

Impulsive purchases and poor financial decisions caused guilt and shame, significantly affecting their mental well-being.


Although we gathered these insights to help design a solution for the students on campus, one word kept popping up in different categories and themes. 


Ideation & Concept Testing

My favorite part of the process was brainstorming using the Crazy 8 method to address our design requirements. We collaborated on a whiteboard to build on each other’s ideas. Once we had broader concepts, we transformed them into digital sketches to create prototypes.

Validating our Research

Why Combine Digital & Physical?

Through our iterations we decided that it would be ideal to design a physical prototype that takes the user to a digital app for two reasons.

Increase Visibility

By having a physical display in a common area, students are shown in a friendly way that there are others like them.


The kit can make valuable financial sessions given by professionals available and approachable on campus for most students.


Design Decisions

The aim is to build an interactive yet simple and accessible physical and digital prototype for university students seeking to talk about their financial problems without being judged and create long-term bonds with their community peers.

Tap your phone on the MoneyComb Tile

Arranged as wall art in communal areas, each tile displays a specific financial problem. By tapping the tile with their phones (NFC), students can join anonymous chatrooms to discuss and resolve financial issues.

Join a relatable financial group anonymously

Upon tapping the tile, users enter the app and go through onboarding to familiarize themselves with the features. They can choose an avatar based on their mood, ensuring anonymity and reducing negative feelings when discussing financial concerns.

Kick off stigma-free conversations with an icebreaker game

MoneyCombs provides a judgment-free space by anonymously grouping students based on their financial issues. Ice-breaker games spark genuine conversations, fostering a supportive, stigma-free environment.

Need help? Call a uni pro for financial guidance

To ease concerns about discussing financial matters with the school department, the app offers anonymous chatrooms. Students can seek help from a moderator, bridging the gap between students and experts. This encourages positive behavior, rewarding users with virtual coins.

Stay updated with events and groups

The Community Page, Profile Page with a Rewards Tracker, and Groups Page are designed to keep students informed about university events and workshops, foster positive behavior, and enable participation in multiple groups where students share similar financial challenges.

The Community Page displays events and discussions happening in the broader category.

The Groups Page
highlights the groups
the student is a member
of, their DMs, and
Pinned Messages.

Future Impact

Students can get good advice about their financial concerns from anonymous peers and professionals. Over time, they become good friends and decide to hang out in real-life.

Personal Level

  • Give students a sense of inclusion and community. They’re not alone in their struggles, and help is available.

  • Alleviate the negative feelings associated with bad financial decisions.

  • Help form long-term bonds among students.

Societal Level

  • Bridge the communication gap between professional help and students.

  • Let students focus on academics and career development instead of being bogged down by these issues.

Lessons Learned

Reflecting on the project outcomes

Despite the intensity of this project, it was a deeply rewarding experience for our team. We were able to push our boundaries, learn new skills, and create something with the potential to make a positive impact on society.

Importance of Research

Trusting the design process is crucial. Initially faced with a generic problem statement, our research journey allowed us to comprehend the on-campus reality, leading us to refine and adapt our problem statement accordingly.

Usability Testing is the key

During the ideation phase, we leaned on research, interview insights, and journal articles. However, the pivotal moment came with creating the prototype and subjecting it to testing. This experience highlighted the significance of ensuring users comprehend the design, fostering a deeper understanding of their needs and demands for designers.

  • Crafted with passion and countless cups of coffee.

  • Last updated: June 2024.

  • Enjoyed my work? Let's connect and collaborate!

  • Featured in the Open Doors newsletter.

Thanks for visiting my portfolio!

I'm open to new opportunities and would love to hear from you.