Emotion Designer in Finance World

Emotion Designer in Finance World
30 May 2022

“How does a UX/UI designer do for the finance sphere?”

“Does a UX/UIer only do graphic and visual design for financial companies?” 

“Design skills are only required for a UX/UI designer?”

I have repeatedly answered those three questions above since I started working as a designer. Fortunately, as I’m considered myself one of the UX/UIer who is also part of a financial advisory firm, I think answering those questions by talking about my work experience at AA&P would be a great chance this time.

UX/UI in Financial Sphere

Globalization, which has been connecting people in many different places all at once, is understandably the main root of changes in human behaviors unstoppably. Especially in the finance sphere, most people from all generations still perceive this world as a traditionalist stuck in the old-school management system of transactions––in other words––it has inevitably been based on ‘Papers’ or physical document format still nowadays.

However, since the world keeps walking side-by-side with the new advanced technology every day, the financial industry can’t miss it. The evidence is an increasing number of fintech (e.g., mobile banking and payment, blockchain, cryptocurrency, etc.), competitively created by several growing institutions and finance start-ups globally. Of course, AA&P is also one of them.

As such, inventing a fresh product from scratch––even from all-set ideas of one company team–– doesn’t happen so suddenly overnight. The product––namely ‘innovation’––needs time and process, and this is the point where a UX/UI designer finally comes to the frame of product making of the financial organization.

A UX/UI still is recognized by multiple today’s companies as merely a visual/graphic designer (VD). The role dedicates to human experience design and understanding. We can’t deny all business success strongly relies on online platforms in the digital world since most of the planet lives on them. Thus, the experience–including behaviors, problems, activities, etc.–of those people, also known as users, in using the virtual sphere should be the first step of a product inventing process and deeply understood. By doing the before mentioned, a UX/UI typically use design thinking or human-centered frameworks to learn about them.

Besides the secret weapons of UX/UI designs previously mentioned, having an insight into the specific parts of financial products, business strategy, marketing, psychology, human behavior, and digital technology is also the main factor in the success of a financial product.

Emotion Designer & Decorator in the Finance World

Working as a UX/UI designer at AA&P makes me learn and be able to grasp pain points through our financial services. There are four frequently faced problems; the complex document transfer, the management of financial transactions, the slow-going communication and the traditional stock subscription system via black-and-white paper. However, the most painful one is that most investors cannot follow the investment information of their selected company because of the difficulty and a lack of motivation in reading lengthy and monochrome texts. Consequently, those people either have to make multiple calls to the firm asking for a short and simple version of the details or decide to stop investing when this situation gets worse. There will be never-ending issues.

As mentioned, my point is that those pain points show us the negative ’emotions’ and ‘feelings’ directly from the issuers-and-investors communication. While the complex and outdated managing system of financial document management causes annoyance and angriness, the unenticing and confusing paper even intensifies withdrawal for readers. 

According to Paul McLean (https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/triune-brain), the oldest layer of the brain controls human behavior. Our subconsciousness or the Mammalian brain does not require rational thinking. Finance is the neocortex’s thinking base which only 20% of the logical part of our brain can process. Thus, most people unsurprisingly are always irrational when it comes to financial comprehension and concepts, as Don Norman said in his ‘Emotional Design’ (2004):

“Much of human behavior is subconscious, beneath conscious awareness. Consciousness comes late, both in evolution and also in the way the brain processes information”

As a UX/UI designer at a financial firm, creating and ‘decorating’ financial products should base on simpleness (usability) and positive emotions (good experiences, association, and memories), enabling existing users and newcomers to access and still feel like continuing to use the products. In other words, the ‘interface’ of any types of information and innovation is as crucial as the ‘experience’ of using it.

“Attractive things do work better—their attractiveness produces positive emotions, causing mental processes to be more creative, more tolerant of minor difficulties.”

– Donald A. Norman. “Emotional Design.” (P.93) –


A UX/UI designer doesn’t only do the part of visual/graphic designs for sure. Human-Centered Designs – gaining insight into people’s behaviors, emotions, and feelings when they experience a product – is the mindset and the ability a UX/UIer should learn to possess. This design thinking will lead you to the place where thousands of problems and solutions of users are waiting on you to learn about them and use them for making a better (or worse) innovation at a time.

Another thing I’d personally like to add here is that a UX/UI design doesn’t have to be applied only to the application/website-making process. It can be exercised as a problem-solving in other fields outside the designs: for instance, in your daily life.

Phatcharanan Thongkumsook
PMO & Product Designer