Jide Pinheiro

Umba is a digital bank for small businesses offering lending, payroll and financial management services.

Break Free

When I joined the Umba project, our mission was to empower small businesses with seamless payroll management, loan services, and payment solutions. The campaign title “Break Free” perfectly encapsulated our vision of breaking down financial barriers and making money management accessible to everyone. Every feature and interaction within Umba was designed to simplify financial management for small businesses and enhance their growth.

Our journey began with a deep dive into understanding the needs of small business owners. We conducted extensive user research, gathering insights into their challenges and pain points. This user-centric approach informed our design strategy, ensuring that every element of the platform was tailored to meet their specific needs.

Collaboration was at the heart of our process. Working with a dynamic team spread across California, Lagos, and Nairobi, we relied on Slack for standups and daily communication. FigJam was our go-to tool for brainstorming sessions, where we generated ideas and mapped out user flows. Using ClickUp and Notion, we managed our sprints efficiently, keeping the project on track and aligned with our goals.

Feature Development for Mobile App

I worked on several key features for the Umba mobile app, focusing on user-friendly interfaces and robust functionality. One of the standout features was the loan application process, designed to be intuitive and quick, allowing small business owners to apply for and receive loans with minimal hassle. Another feature was the payment tracking system, enabling users to monitor their transactions in real-time and manage their finances effectively.

Building the Business Web App for Payroll Management

The web app for payroll management was a critical component of the project. We aimed to create a seamless experience for businesses to manage their payroll processes. Starting with wireframes, we outlined the essential features such as employee management, salary calculations, and automated tax filings. High-fidelity prototypes were developed in Figma, focusing on usability and efficiency.

Brand Guidelines and New Brand Strategy

Developing the brand guidelines and a new brand strategy was an integral part of the project. We wanted Umba to be recognized as a reliable and innovative financial partner for small businesses. The brand guidelines included a cohesive visual identity with a modern logo, a refined color palette, and clear typography. We also created brand graphics that reflected Umba’s commitment to innovation and empowerment.

Interactive Prototypes and Documentation

Creating interactive prototypes was crucial for visualizing our ideas and gathering feedback. Using Figma, I developed detailed prototypes that demonstrated the app’s functionality and user flow. These prototypes were shared with stakeholders and developers, accompanied by Loom videos that explained the design rationale and key features. Additionally, I created comprehensive annotations and documentation to ensure a smooth handoff to the development team.

Collaboration and Project Management

Working with a large team of over 100 members across different time zones required efficient collaboration tools. ClickUp and Notion were essential for managing our sprints, tracking progress, and ensuring transparency. Regular Slack standups kept everyone aligned, and FigJam sessions fostered creativity and problem-solving.

Visually, the platform needed to be both professional and approachable. We chose a clean and modern design aesthetic, with a focus on usability and accessibility. The color palette and typography were selected to convey trust and reliability, essential qualities for a financial services platform.

In the end, the work on Umba’s features, business web app, brand guidelines, and overall strategy successfully positioned the company as a leader in financial solutions for small businesses. Each design choice and feature was crafted with the intention of empowering small businesses to break free from financial constraints. Working on this project, especially with such a talented and dedicated team, was a testament to the impact of thoughtful, user-centered design in transforming business operations.

Case Studies

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Bowman Williams
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