Concept, Rendering, UI/UX
the smart wallet
This idea for this personal project was conceived during a heated talk about spending behavior with a good friend of mine. The key hypothesis: if people had a more transparent picture of their monthly spending, they would be able to save money more easily.
It was around the time when smaller wallets became trendy and fully digital payments were (and are still) scarce to find in Germany. As a result, we were convinced that the solution to that mental transparency problem could only be a hardware-based solution.
The most crucial pain point of this in-between state of both digital and paper payments is the fact that paper money transfers have to be kept track of manually, while digital transfers can be easily accessed via the user’s online banking account.
To save the user precious time and sanity in the often hasty cash-desk situations, we knew from day one that it had to be your wallet that you grab and not multiple devices with numerous inputs and steps to go through. With these key insights in mind, we started scribbling ideas and created mock renderings as a proof of concept.
Walley came to life and served both needs. It had a touch screen that not only shows your daily spending budget and what’s left of it but also offered a quick and simple input method to enter your "offline" paper spendings (see the interaction video at the bottom of this page).
Next to the obvious screen, it also needed space for some bills and credit cards of course. So Walley got a durable rubber band that enabled the user to attach both in his preferred place - either in the RFID protected inside of the aluminum case or outside for a faster accessibility in the hectic moments.
To both access the user’s digital payment data and shift more time-consuming interactions away from the simple device, a companion app was the inevitable next step. There the user could set up and sync his Walley, add his bank accounts, adjust his daily budgets and enjoy a detailed breakdown of his spending behavior.
The whole interaction of paying at a store now consists of opening the wallet, handing over the money to pay the cashier and, in that same moment (while you still wait for your change), just press and swipe down on the screen till your paid amount shows on the screen and let go - that’s it.
To get a better understanding of the input method, watch the video at the bottom of the page.
You get a small grace period to undo your input, but it is automatically accepted unless you tab the button again. You can also see your last spending with a quick tap on the screen and undo it there later as well. This step was also planned as a manual sync request with the companion app for incoming digital payments.
Even though this side project really took root in my heart, we soon realized that developing your own hardware device—even just a prototype—comes at a high cost and multiple risks we were just not willing to take at that point in time. For that reason, Walley now rests in a warm place in the back of our designers’ minds. Maybe later, good pal.