Alana Leshno

Digital Experience Design


Helping people split payments


I was challenged to choose a product to optimize. To minimize bias, I chose Venmo because it’s a product I use, but not often.

This case study examines solutions to help users split payments using Venmo.


Product Designer (Personal Project)

Tools Used

Omnigraffle | Survey Monkey | Google Sheets | Sketch | Invision | Keynote

The Process


User interviews

Understanding behavior and needs

I started by interviewing people about their personal finances to understand where Venmo fit (or could fit). I also wanted to understand what current frustrations and successes Venmo users are experiencing.

These are some areas I wanted to understand:

  • What optimizations are most needed within the current experience?
  • What pain points and successes are current Venmo users experiencing?
  • Is there an opportunity to expand the product offerings with new features?

Below are some of the key findings:

Splitting costs:

  • When purchasing with others, she wants to split bills correctly, but usually splits evenly because splitting is too much work (several factors like tax and tip) and doesn’t want the hassle.
  • She might not go out if everyone is expected to split evenly since it may cost her too much.
  • In large groups, she finds it hard to keep track of who owes and how much they owe (especially if it wasn’t requested).
  • Some of her shared expenses recur monthly.


  • Thinks Venmo isn’t personal enough for gifts.
  • Worried everyone can see her purchases.
  • Getting to learn Venmo was easy, but missed some key features (like balance doesn’t go straight to bank account). But also loves that Venmo keeps a pool of money because it’s a nice surprise.
  • Wants to track purchases, but thinks it’s too much effort to type the purchase description.

App audit

Discovering current problems and successes

Then, I performed an app audit to understand what's currently working and not working. Below are some key findings:


Learning what users want most

Based on the insights from the user interviews and app audit, I determined opportunities and features Venmo could implement. To understand what users want most, both in general and for Venmo specifically, I created a survey. Below are some of the key findings:


Establishing the product roadmap

Using the interviews, app audit, survey results, and an evaluation of feasibility (time, cost and resource likelihood), I was able to determine which features to focus on.

Phase 1 project goals

Design Process

Early Sketches

Early Wireframes

Early Prototype

Testing plan

I tested 4 iterations of low-fidelity prototypes with 8 people—5 Venmo users and 3 non-Venmo users. They ranged in age from mid 20s to early 60s.

The Solution



Multi-person transaction

Scenario 1: Requesting the Same Amount

Scenario 2: Splitting the Total Equally

Scenario 3: Splitting the Total Individually

Import receipt

Recurring payments

Next Steps

Minor fixes:

  • A/B test calculate language—"Calculate amount" vs. equation
  • A/B test transactions language—"Transactions" vs. "My Venmo" vs. "My Activity"
  • QR Code—Make QR Code feature clearer
  • Tagging People—Add person icon to tag
  • Each vs. Total—Can I put in in different amounts for each of them?
  • Selective Requesting/Payment—Calculate the bill with everyone at the table and then select who you want to request/pay
  • Split—When changing the split number ask to add the additional people

Nice to have:

  • Due Date—Add a due date
  • Drag & Drop—Ability to drag people on scan receipt

New features:

  • Transaction search—Ability to search by keyword or category in my transaction history
  • Transaction tags—Add categories & tags to transactions
  • Update onboarding—Get clearer directions on how to transfer money into your bank account
  • Piggy bank—Automatically save $X or X% from your Venmo balance to a savings account monthly
  • Send personalized gifts—Send gift money digitally with a personalized digital card or physical card directly to the recipient
  • Store partnership program—Automatically tracking your purchases and split costs based on individual orders (for 2 or more people) and automatically send reminders to people who owe you money
  • Recommendations feed—Visual feed of recommendations on things to buy from people and companies you follow (friends, influencers, blogs, stores) with direct links to purchase
  • Rewards program
  • Monthly budget—Set a monthly budget and track your spending with alerts
  • Poll—Poll friends and ask questions like “Should I get this?” or “Which one?”
  • Personalized recommendations—Personalized recommendations based on what you buy