Citizens Financial

Online Banking Initiatives

Research / Strategy / Creative Direction / App Design / UI Design / UX Design


Citizens Bank is one of the oldest and most prominent financial institutions in the Northeast. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, they deliver a broad range of financial services to over five million individuals, companies, non-profits, and institutions.


Over the course of 3 years, I led a team of visual designers, UX designers, and developers through two full re-designs of the mobile, tablet, and online banking applications and various digital marketing initiatives. Through an ongoing relationship with Citizens Bank, we were able to help them define and vastly change the customer-facing mobile product and online banking experiences, to become one of the best rated banking applications in 2014. To comply with non-disclosure agreements, I have omitted certain information in this case study.

Citizens Bank iOS App iPad

Over months of facilitated co-creation workshops, stakeholder meetings, audits and audience research, we gained insight into how customers expected their banking app to behave. Usability and user experience testing is vital to creating a successful product. The majority of the value of testing comes from the magic of observing and listening as people use a design. Observations seen and heard are often surprising, illuminating, and unpredictable. This unpredictability is tough to capture in any other way. 

With iOS7, Apple’s largest update to their mobile OS came an opportunity to revise the experience once again and integrate new features like mobile check deposits and PopMoney for the app. By significantly reducing the number of legacy design elements and functions from the previous interface, we streamlined our use of UI patterns to make it easier for the developers to integrate any future changes without the need for design to create new screen elements unnecessarily.


By identifying initial quick wins to enhance the design through user research and testing, we also identified areas of functionality we could roll out across the desktop experience in a phased approach. We actively developed UI patterns, low and hi-fidelity prototypes, and user experience models that maintained consistency and added efficiencies to streamline design processes. Guidelines and design libraries were created for the design team, developers, and vendors to inform a holistic visual language between marketing materials and the digital customer experience. We needed to create a design that could flex and adapt to feature changes flawlessly as technology evolved and features were added.



Fast Balance was added with the iOS7 update, a feature that allowed customers to view their available balances without the need to login to the app. We explored a range of options as to how customers activated the feature from the app, and how they accessed the balance from their phone. Shaking, swiping and voice control were all up for grabs, and ultimately, using the Passbook feature from the native iOS, and widgets on Android platform tested to be the best solution for customers.


Agency: Tank
Creative Direction: Justin Hattingh
Design: Elanie Blais, RJ Foley, Justin Hattingh, John Hemminger, Jen Magathan, Caley Ostrander, Juliana Press
UX/Strategy: Jen Dadagian, Cara Guappone, Evan Smogor
Developers: Nick Braica, Niraj Shah
Account Manager: Karalyn Klepper