Select Page

The Keenly App

Helping 9-15 year olds learn more about finances through hands-on, real life experience


The problem is that financial education in Canadian public schools was nonexistent until grade 10. If kids don’t get the education they need, they will most likely take unhealthy money decisions as adults. Increasing debt in adults in return, causes mental health and relationship problems.

This is why I felt it was very importatn to create an app to help them learn how to delay gratification, the value of hard work and how to easily budget. While at the same time have fun, feel in control and buy the things they love.


User Research, User Interviews, Journey Mapping, Sketching, Wireframing, Screen Flows, Visual Design, Interaction Design


Everything in this page took 12 weeks of independent work. I will be collaborating in the future with to finish the app and bring it to market.


Sketch, Invision, Photoshop, Illustrator, Principle, After Effects, Google Docs, InDesign, Pen & Paper & WordPres for the marketing landing page.

The Problem

Canadians now owe $2.3 trillion overall

Increasing Debt

46% of Canadians are still worried about their current debt levels and this number continues to rise every year

No Education

Schools have been teaching financial education until kids are 15 years old! 2020 is the first year a new financial curriculum will be introduced from grade 1-8 

Learned Patterns

Financial literacy is pass down to our children as they imitate our patterns of behaviour

Vicious Cycle

Parents lack the financial knowledge. If kids don’t get the education they need, they will take unhealthy money decisions as adults

How might we help parents provide their children with more effective financial education, in order to ensure their future success?

What do children need to know?

The goal of my secondary research was to obtain studies that indicated how children best learn about finance, best practices for teaching finance to children, and apps that are available for this purpose.

Research Findings

What do children need to know?

Delay Gratification

Delaying gratification helps children in every area of their lives, as they set goals and continue to work towards those goals rather than getting side tracked by immediate distractions.

The Value of Money

Understanding through hard work rather than easily getting what they want is a valuable lesson. Otherwise they could easily get into debt later in life to continue to get what they want.  

Learn to Budget

Like setting, giving, saving and spending goals. Giving helps children to detach from money and understand that not everything is about them and that money can also help others.


To gain insight and discover the pain points, motivations and behaviours of our youth I needed to clarify my target demographic. Through another quick research I found out that kids age 9 are best suited to grasp financial concepts and 16 is the new minimum working age. Therefore, we decided to make our target demographic 9-15 years old.

I Interviewed 13 children so I could listen and empathize with their needs.

Interview Insights

Through my interviews I was able to find the kids pain points, behaviours and frustration.

shopping cart icon

Money To Buy Things

Young people not only want money to buy the things they love but are happy to do various jobs to receive it.

Saving For Nice Things

Surprisingly many already think about saving for a car, university and even a house.

Learning Many Topics

Kids are very curious and want to know more about all the financial terms they have heard like mortgage, interest, trading and more.

Meet Camille Jones

Camille Jones

Camille is the child persona I created to gain perspective in similar users needs and expectations

Personality: Curious Creative Outgoing
Occupation: Grade 7 student
Location: Canada

I also want know more about money

"I want to have my own money"


Camille is 13 years old and a 7 grade student. For the past couple of years she has been more interested in knowing more about money. Camille wants to buy cool things and is happy to save for bigger items. Sometimes her parents buy her those things, some times, she does little jobs for them. Ultimately, she wants to have control over her own money. Unfortunately she has learned some bad behaviours around money but would love to learn how to manage her money wisley


Buy something cool
Purchase something she needs
Save for university
Get a car and a house one day
Know that her parents are proud of her


1. Create an active and interactive learning environment where she can learn more about how money works.

2. Enable her to manage money, so she can learn through real life experience.

3. Help her have more positive and meaningful moments with her parents.


  • Social 90% 90%
  • Achivement 75% 75%
  • Pleasure 95% 95%
  • Entertainment 60% 60%


  • Extrovert 60% 60%
  • Sensing 80% 80%
  • Thinking 90% 90%
  • Perceiving 50% 50%

Camille's Experience Map

Sees something she wants to buy

Looks for the prices and where to get them

Things about how she can pay for them

She got rejected and doesn’t know what to do

Her parents thought about it and gave her a few jobs

She orders her headphones onlines

Looking at someone wearing a cool pair of headphones

Searches online to see the prices and how much are they

Asks her mom and dad for money to buy them

She is sitting in her bedroom sad and frustrated

She is washing the car

She is in her phone ordering her cool new headphones

Those are super cool I want to get them, she thought!

Wow! Those are expensive.

I don’t think they will buy them for me

It sucks that they don’t understand me

A few more jobs and I can get those headphones

I can’t wait to show them to my friends!

The Digital Idea

It was clear that what Camille wanted and needed was to:

Find jobs to learn the value of hard work
Jobs will be posted by a network of family and friends and a school community

Receive and manage her own money
With the help of her parent through a digital wallet

An easy budget system to delay gratification
The app is a digital wallet that budgets first. Therefore it will only allow her spend the money of a category only after that has been filled up

Her own debit card
Once a category is filled the money gets transferred from her digital wallet into her debit card so that she can wisely buy the things that she loves!

A New Way To Budget

Why are bank accounts separated from our budgets?

What if the only way to buy something was after we had saved for it?

For Camille I wanted to recreate the saving process

1. Camille receieves a payment

2. Divides her money into giving, saving and spending into different items that she had previously set

3. Only after a category is full her money gets moved from her digital wallet into her debit card so she can buy the things she loves

The Task Flow

The Wireframes

The following wireframes showcase the taskflow I had previously selected as saving

Keenly home wireframe
Keenly Wireframe Payments
Keenly Wireframe Give
Keenly Wireframe Give 2
Keenly Wireframe Save
Keenly Wireframe Save 2
Keenly Wireframe Spend
Keenly Wireframe Spend 2

Testing The Wireframes

My first prototype was done from my sketches using Marvel APP. Then I transferred my findings into a lo-fi using sketch, tested the lo-fi using InVision. Finally applied those findings to a full color high-wireframe for my third test.


Test 1


Test 2


Test 3

Test Findings & Updates

Financial Terms

When I asked kids to divide their money into different areas. They didn’t know what the word “budget” ment. This was an opportunity to add a description to start teaching them what budget was and how to easily do it.

Kids didn't understand what budget ment

Add Category

Most kids were looking for the “add new goal” button below the categories. Therefore I moved the button down and used a more generic symbol for it. I also removed the bottom nav bar as it was not needed in this screen.

Recall Problem

Younger kids and one pre-teen with Autism didn’t know where the category “New Clothing” was when they where in the give tab. Therefore, I decided to have all the categories in one screen that they can quickly scroll through.

Confusing Numbers

The first iteration of the Accounts page was confusing for younger kids. There where too many numbers that they where not interested on all the information displayed. Therefore, I simplified the tabs to make it easier for kids to only see the information they wanted.

Kids didn't understand what budget ment

Positive Reinforcement

Kids felt burden when looking at their accounts as they saw they still had so much to do, this was caused by a simple use of words. Changing the copy from “You still need” to “You have saved” left kids feeling excited about their progress.

The Branding Process

The Name

To find a name I created several lists that reflected the different aspects of the app. Like sayings, financial terms, adjectives and synonyms. Then, I created combo words like: The Wealthy Panda, PayFlow, Divide & Conquer, Thrive, Keenly etc… After, I did a quick search on google to see which names had the least amount of results in the financial industry and selected those.

Finally I  asked a few kids, parents and students and they all liked Keenly the most.

The next step was to create the vision and mission for the business as this would guide any business actions towards future objectives

The Mission & Vision

Our mission is to equip and empower the next generation of youth so that they can live to their full potential, debt free

Our vision is to bring financial freedom for the next generation

The Hi-Fi Design

To design the Hi-Fi Wireframes I first created a mood board and selected this image which I felt would give the app the dynamic and energetic feel I was after. Then transferred those colors into my app, However I swap the green for the blue as green has been overly used in the financial Industry.

I also wanted to switch the view of finances from rigid and boring to a more fluid and dynamic feel. To me money is more like energy or water. This is why I decided to use waves as the main image.

Bright Color Theme

Keenly Y

Second Try – Younger Color Theme

However, when I asked the kids what they thought. Some kids felt the yellow theme look a bit too mature. So I set my self to look for younger colors and apply those to the app

Keenly Y

Third Try – Trendy Colors

When I showed the kids the new design, the girls loved it but the boys thought the app was “to girly”. Trying to find a balance between boy and girls ages 9-15 wasn’t easy. This time I asked the children to show me the things and apps they liked. Quickly I saw a trend that I though would perfectly fit the look and feel I was after.

I selected a new image and applied the look and feel once gain to create a dark neon theme. The app could also have two modes, white or black that can be selected at the start.

Keenly App

Responsive Landing Page

I designed and developed the Keenly marketing landing page in Word Press in 3 days:


Parents involvement

Financial literacy is a topic most parents are interested about. However, most parents don’t have a lot of time and knowledge to teach this skills. I believe that it will be crucial to the success of this app to create an app that will require minimal parental guidance and time but will maximize parents and children relationships.

Embrace ambiguity 

My initial lack of knowledge about this topic caused me to doubt my ability to find the right solution. However, I realized that because of this ambiguity, I was able to better empathize and listen.

Learning gaps

There are big learning gaps between kids. However it is possible to group them for this project in ages 9-11 and 12-15 and test with a younger audience to improve results.



Vision impairments

 30% of kids with autism have color vision losses.

Done is better then perfect

There were many times when I wanted to spend more time perfecting my research, ideation or prototype. But, I realized that getting it done quickly, testing early and often was a better approach as I let the users guide me through the design process. I don’t have all the answers they do.

Next Steps

Parents Research

This app has thre users, kids, parents and employees. I will be conducting the same research for parents and neighboors.




Other Projects


Meet uConnect an app to help you meet other students in your own university.

A heuristic evaluation and re-design for the app