Karandaaz Pakistan

Building a UX design toolkit to help mobile money providers in Pakistan make their apps more accessible to first-time smartphone users.

A designer from GRID Impact is shown how icons and colors are used as visual cues in the phone's contact list.

Mobile money in Pakistan

Karandaaz Pakistan is a not-for-profit development agency that promotes financial inclusion through technology-enabled solutions. Karandaaz hypothesizes that mobile financial services (MFS) delivered through smartphones have the capability to extend and improve financial access for Pakistanis, particularly to lower-income segments of the population. Currently, mobile money providers offer limited services, as they are largely delivered via USSD interface and mostly transacted anonymously (i.e. over-the-counter).

With the increasing ubiquity of smartphones across multiple income segments, there is now an opportunity to develop a viable and scalable alternative to the USSD format. In Pakistan, smartphone penetration currently stands at 31%, with more growth expected given the increasing availability of low cost smartphones and improved 3G/4G services.

01 Discover
  • Stakeholder Interviews
  • User Interviews
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Discovery Report
02 Concept
  • Rapid Ideation
  • Interaction Models
  • Wireframes
03 Prototype
  • Low-fidelity Prototype Testing
  • Interactive Prototype Testing
  • Design Toolkit
04 Experiment
  • Dissemination Event
  • Ongoing support for service providers adopting the toolkit


This projects had three objectives:

  1. Design a smartphone user interface with insights from Pakistani consumers that will drive greater customer use and trust in mobile money services.
  2. Rapidly iterate user interface design and share output in a way that providers can easily adopt and apply to their own application development.
  3. Implement human-centered design concepts that can help less literate users more easily use MFS.
Sample pages from our Discovery Report, which included research insights, opportunity areas and actionable next steps.


Our primary audience for this toolkit was mobile money service providers, so our discovery research included a series of interviews with stakeholders from a range of organizations in Pakistan including National Bank of Pakistan, EasyPaisa, UBL Bank and National Rural Support Program (NRSP).

This was followed by a series of interviews conducted with current, potential, and former mobile money customers. This resulted in  a set of of  potential challenges and opportunities our team used to inform design of the smartphone application.

The final component of our Discovery Report was a competitive audit of other mobile money smartphone apps from key markets around the world, as well as providers in the Pakistani market.

Example interaction models and sketches from our concept development phase.

Interaction models

With Karandaaz, we developed three feasible approaches to a UX design for the smartphone app based on the behavioral insights from the Discover phase.

Over several weeks, we refined the models with feedback from UX design experts, mobile money experts and other relevant stakeholders. Ultimately, we selected the two most promising concepts to develop into prototypes and test with users and agents.

We iteratively prototyped multiple concepts in Pakistan.

Prototype testing

Using both low-fidelity and high-fidelty prototypes, we tested the selected concepts through participatory activities with mobile money customers and agents. These activities included card sorting to select appropriate visual icons and transaction flows, and task-based transactions to test the usability of key flows.

The use of paper-based prototypes allowed us to capture feedback from users and agents on the style, design, icons, flows and overall structure of the smartphone app menu. The high-fidelity clickable prototype generated feedback on how users engaged with the app, where they encountered difficulties, and how they interpreted transaction flows.

Sample screens from the toolkit.

UX toolkit

The Toolkit is targeted at various providers in Pakistan – banks, mobile money providers, payment providers – who want to extend MFS to mass market in low-income emerging markets via a smartphone delivery channel. Mobile money (MM) providers will find this Toolkit helpful if and when they develop a smartphone app channel for their products and services. These providers will be able to adopt the use flows as well as iconography and other design pattern recommendations into their wireframes.

The recommendations in this Toolkit focus on the design of an app for the mass market - average mobile money customers in the Pakistan market. The aim was  to create designs that would appeal to the broadest range of customers, from low-literate new users to existing customers who already use MM services. After rigourous testing our project team was able to propose designs that worked well for low literate, low income users, while not compromising on the user experience for existing customers.

Participants of the dissemination event in Karachi, Pakistan.

Dissemination event

Karandaaz Pakistan organized a dissemination event in Karachi, Pakistan where GRID Impact presented the toolkit, methodology and research findings. The event included stakeholders from several organizations and industries including JazzCash who are now incorporating recommendations from the toolkit into the their mobile money smartphone app.

I believe that the HCD based design will allow the MFS industry in Pakistan to substantially augment its services and expand them to low literate financially excluded people, especially women.

Imdad Aslam, Director Digital Financial Services at Karandaaz Pakistan

My Role

I was the Lead Designer on a team from GRID Impact that also consisted of a Project Manager, Creative Director, Visual Designer and local research support. 

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