Image of the noobill app on a mobile phone.
An intro to noobill.

Can UX research develop Product Advocates?

A Product & UX Cross over Case Study at a Fintech StartUp

Josephine Maguire-Rosier


noobill is a fintech start up, focusing on consumer payment services in the utilities sector, and hoping to expand to other regular household expenses. I joined in the very early stages, just as the first beta was launched on the app store. As is normal for all start ups, my role encompassed a broad range of areas including and not limited to user experience design and product.

My goals were to prove market traction, conduct user research and usability testing, ensure a tight customer feedback loop, support product iteration, develop a marketing strategy, and manage key stakeholder relationships including with our overseas development team, as well as anything else that came up. So not much.

However, focusing on the UX aspects of my role a lot was achieved in a very small amount of time.

The first and most pressing concern was to validate our key assumption. The problem statement:

People want help managing their cash flow when they pay bills because utilities are expensive and come in large quarterly chunks.

While a previous prototype had proven there was a need within the Chinese speaking Australian community, the newest iteration of noobill had changed slightly and was to be released to the broader Australian community. Everything needed to be re-tested.

Sign to invite people for guerrilla interviews

So I got out of the office and started talking to potential users. Within three weeks, I’d conducted 59 guerrilla interviews by offering potential users free coffee (we were based in Melbourne). Validated the core assumption: yes, people want help managing their cash flow when paying their bills because they are expensive and come in large quarterly chunks. Armed with these insights, I developed a persona to help us remain user centric as we iterated.

An outline of Jackson’s feelings and behaviours around debt.
Jackson, our persona.

After finding Jackson and proving user need we went onto developing user journey mapping and usability testing. By following up with those who were overtly enthusiastic about our product in the guerrilla interviews, I developed a group of beta testers willing to help us better understand their user journeys. With these, I was able to streamline the on boarding process and remove multiple pain points.

These users enthusiastically provided feedback when they hit a glitch. I often received screen shots at 9pm at night from an enthusiastic tester, and was able to send them onto our dev team to be addressed overnight. (A real bonus of asynchronous work schedules!)

This responsive and open communication with our initial users / testers, generated huge amounts of good will. We ended up with a group of product advocates pulling in more users than we had capacity to service. They felt like they had helped make the product, now they wanted to help make the product successful. We were forced to pull back our product offering so the development team could catch up. We couldn’t service the demand we had.

Funny how good UX work can have such great product outcomes.

So what were my key learnings?

  • User relationships aren’t just about research and testing. They are a two way street, and if you demonstrate that you are actively listening to them — they will repay you tenfold.
  • Offering people a free coffee will get you nearly anything… in Melbourne at least.

If you’d like to read more about my work, or contact me to organise a coffee, please visit my website: