Skip to main content

Google Wallet Research

As part of a group of graduate students at the University of Michigan School of Information, I conducted user experience research on Google Wallet for the Google Consumer Payments Team, and made recommendations to the team based on our findings.

Research methods used included comparative and heuristic evaluations, surveys, interviews, and direct user testing. The video above is a summary of our research methods and recommendations.

Step 1: Interaction Map

Google Wallet Interaction Map WhiteboardGoogle Wallet Interaction Map

Key Findings:

  • Major breakdowns found were crashes at certain steps, such as adding debit card or switching accounts
  • An inconsistency found was that part of the security PIN settings were handled through the Wallet website instead of within the app. This created user confusion as they were not redirected back to the app after changing their settings.

Step 2: Interviews

Google Wallet Persona

Key Findings:

  • Current money transfer app only used as a backup
  • Choice of app dominated by the network effect (“...I use this only because my friends are using it…”)
  • Google Wallet perceived as ‘cold’ and ‘transactional’ compared to other ‘friendlier’ apps
  • “...some people who get really funny with their messages, like, ‘for last night's hooker’... I had a friend actually get in trouble because... he was going to the Greek Islands, and he said the money was for Syrian refugees, and he got called from Venmo… so they froze his account and had to interview him. It was a joke!”

Step 3: Comparative Evaluation

Google Wallet Comparative Chart

Key Findings:

  • Highly social platforms tend to be multi-purpose
  • More focused platforms tend to be highly formal (Venmo is the exception, but is moving away from the space)
  • Google is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunity, with judicious use of social/emotional features, while maintaining its ease of use and streamlined focus

Step 4: Heuristic Evaluation

Google Wallet Heuristic Chart

Key Findings:

  • App crashes when switching between accounts
  • No clear system status or recovery path after crashing
  • Incorrect image recognition; app scanned incorrectly and claimed ‘Debit’ card as a ‘Credit’ card and did not register

Step 5: Surveys

Google Wallet Survey Results

Key Findings:

  • The most important feature for those surveyed was the security of their information
  • The most popular group of people that users were sending (~83%) and receiving (~77%) money to are friends
  • A positive association with Google as a company didn’t necessarily convey a familiarity with their products