Basset: A Financial Management Tool for Modern Relationships
Tracking Finances, Together
Group Members: Peyton Lee, Joseph Schafer, Susie Shen, Ally Zitzka
Divorce rates in the United States have recently hovered around 50%, impacting roughly a quarter of a million Americans each year (not to mention those in their families and communities). Among 52 surveyed couples filing for divorce, 50% cited financial issues as a leading motivator, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Even among couples who are still together, a Fidelity Investments survey in 2021 found that up to 1 out of 4 couples cited financial issues as their largest relationship stressor. Our user research revealed that one of the major reasons for this stress was a lack of shared awareness of financial status.
We developed Basset, a new financial tracking system that reduces the complexity of tracking finances for couples, making smarter financial decisions easy. “Basset” is a combination of the words “Budget” and “Asset”, as well as an homage to the Basset Hound, a dog known for its tracking capabilities.
Basset has two primary components — a budget tracking mobile application and a paired physical receipt scanner. With the scanner, users can scan and upload receipt data in the time it takes to walk to their car or bus stop from a store. Our scanner also itemizes receipts automatically, breaking transactions into separate, user-definable categories. After uploading transactions, the application provides detailed dashboards of budget health and transaction histories of both partners.
Paper Prototype, Testing Process, and Results
Fig 1: The Basset paper prototype, showing our initial user screens and scanner model.
We tested our system with a paper prototype of our application and a mock scanner made with a cardboard tube. We then conducted user tests of this system with several UW students in order to determine usability issues with our system. We noticed that several users did not understand how the scanner needed to be turned on, letting us know that we had not clearly communicated the system status to the user, so we made the system operate in an always-on functionality. We also noticed that users were confused about how to navigate through the app, so we changed several aspects of our layout, including adding multiple ways to navigate to transaction information, modifying descriptive text, and highlighting navigation options.
We made a number of design changes from our physical to digital prototype for Basset. We included a dedicated screen for scanning new receipts with a visual prompt and instructions for the scanner, helping address user confusion as noted in testing. We also inverted the highlighting on the scanned receipt, as it was much easier for users to identify text that was not recognized as a purchase item. Additionally, we included user icons for both partners on all transaction lists to remove ambiguity surrounding which partner made a transaction.
The tasks we designed for are itemizing a budget from a receipt, and managing irresponsible purchases by a partner.
Fig. 2: A depiction of a portion of our digital mockup, showcasing the transaction flow.
Task 1: Users can scan in a new receipt, then edit, add, or remove individual items from the transaction. Items on the scanned receipt are automatically categorized based on the printed name, but can be easily recategorized in the case of ambiguity or incorrect categorization. Splitting purchases into categories by item allows users to see more accurate spending data and stay on budget.
Fig. 3: A 3D-printed, medium-fidelity prototype of our receipt scanner.
Fig. 4: A depiction of the budget tracking flow of our application.
Task 2: The user can quickly spot budgets that have exceeded their budgets and is able to view a complete transaction history for that budget category. The user can then view specific items in that budget category that may have put them over the limit, and use that information to start thoughtful, more informed discussions with their partner.
Fig 5: A depiction of how a user would edit a transaction to reflect returned items.
Financial stresses and lack of budgetary awareness are pressing issues for American couples. Our tracking application and receipt scanner system makes keeping an accurate budget up to date far easier by increasing communication and granularity of purchases. This system allows for greater financial transparency within relationships, reducing the burden of budgeting. Because of this, we believe that couples who use our system will be less likely to have disagreements stemming from finances and, as a result, be more likely to have a long-lasting relationship.