We tell you how OKAD Agency searched for respondents offline through ice and snow storms, overcame the language barrier, and fought mistrust and closed-mindedness to complete one of the most unusual studies on improving user experience in Russia.

It's always nice to put your knowledge and experience into practice when you get a decent reward for it, but you have to admit, if the case turns out to be unique and flies into your portfolio, it's doubly nice.

Unistream Bank, focusing on a payment system for online money transfers around the world, turned to OKAD Agency with an ordinary task, but aimed at a specific audience. It's not every day that you perform UX analysis and offer recommendations to improve migrants' experience of using the application :) But we coped with our mission and now we will tell you what problems caught us by surprise, how we overcame them and what result we got. But first, a bit of context.

UX culture in Russia - what kind of a beast is it?

When it comes to the experience of using a website or app, we can safely say that in Russia they learned how to make good design a long time ago. Basic patterns of behavior have been worked out, everyone knows how to build a page so that the sequence of actions and orientation by sections is intuitive.Giant companies like Yandex or Sber, which can afford their own UX department with researchers, editors and analysts, have also played their part in this.

It doesn't matter if they are now focusing on marketplace, music service, food delivery, cab, etc.In-house spokespeople cover all these tasks. But still, when it comes to niche products, it is much more efficient to hire a small agency, and it is definitely possible to grow and develop in this direction.

Let's take off the rose-colored glasses

Let's imagine that one company has worked hard on a product idea, assembled a development team, a design team, reached the release stage, but at the end of the day it has not received enough customers, not enough profit. How did it happen, because the company knows its product as the best, the most convenient and vital? All to blame is a washed-out look, which in many ways hides small problematic moments that your team may not even be aware of. But there are peculiarities on the user side as well.

Sometimes you don't think about sending feedback after contact with a product at all.Either the user experience ends in failure and you'll leave for competitors, or you'll humbly accept the inconveniences and continue using anyway. Point UX research, especially when the customer already has a ready layout and his own design team, helps a lot to quickly fix small defects with a couple of lines of code without a major redesign. And that's what our story is about today.

Unistream case

It all started rather trivially. Before that, the Unistream team had received a lot of negative feedback and started looking for problems in the work of the bank itself: office design, card processing algorithm, etc. Having failed to achieve the desired result, the team turned to us to improve the experience of using the bank's app.

We had to test two scenarios of what mistakes app users make when trying to send money abroad by phone number and card number. At the end of the study, we came back with recommendations to improve the user experience and increase key product metrics.

We are not looking for easy ways

The main research method was qualitative interview, which means we had to find respondents on the street or in public places. Yes, sociophobia was afraid of them:)

Everything could have been easier, but, alas, suitable respondents could not be found online, and we had to go to all lengths. Why? We needed respondents from real life, who don't use super-modern smartphones and don't know too much about technology and apps, and who mostly spend their time offline - working long hours, solving endless problems from the life of a migrant and meeting with friends.

To foresee everything in advance, we first prepared a research script, a list of actions to be taken in extreme situations, a list of hints, and tasks for the respondents. But no one expected that the problems would start even earlier.....

Understand and forgive

The first and main problem we encountered was closedness and mistrust. You have to understand that the Unistream app is a banking app. No one was going to just hand over their personal data for some obscure research.

"When I approached a group, there was bound to be one person there who felt distrust. Five people would believe more their own, not me. And they would refuse" - Veronika Kalgushkina, our UX researcher

There were other problems, like poor knowledge of Russian language, insufficient education, unsuitable for the research citizenship and weather conditions. That's why the search for the first respondent was delayed and the work period grew to 1.5 months.

"Very many people in general don't know how to use the app, and they don't use it. They have a friend who does it all, but it's a different level of problem."

Many respondents did not have sufficient knowledge of Russian, and this problem got in the way of researching a door with seven locks. We had to choose simplified language constructions and structure the interviews taking this factor into account.

The effort is rewarded

But we found a solution after all! We simplified the scheme, made it safe for respondents, and the Unistream team helped a lot by providing a test build of the application. We had a lot of fruitful conversations, taking into account each other's requests and looking for ways to work around the problems that arose. Communication was by calls and all questions were promptly solved in a convenient format.

From that moment the active stage of the research began, which lasted for 2 weeks. We managed to interview 15 migrants +2 relocants and the results of these surveys yielded results.

The speed and the amount of commission fees were of paramount importance for transfers. When sending money to their home country in case of urgent need, respondents often got stuck when filling out forms, and this is where the first mistakes crept out. They can be systematized according to the following features.

1. Transfer by phone number

Sender Data:

  • Respondents clicked on the "Change Data" button when trying to add a document

  • The number of document types that are provided to users intimidates them

  • It is not obvious how document selection and document viewing works

Adding a new document:

  • It is not obvious that a photograph of the document is mandatory


  • Data validation occurs at the end, because of this, if an incorrect number or currency is entered, the error only appears at the end.

Adding a new document:

  • The formats of some input fields are not obvious and are too complicated for users. For example, that a hyphen should be added to the 123-456 format unit code, or that a space should be removed at the end of the name.

2. International transfer by card number

Entering the recipient's data:

  • People don't realize that it is the recipient of the transfer that needs to be entered

  • People do not realize that the name should be the same as on the recipient's card and enter it in Cyrillic alphabet.

  • Sometimes people confuse the first and last name with each other

Selecting a method of translation:

  • If you click again on the transfer method, the choice will be moved to "Cash" and all the data entered earlier will be reset

Recommendations for solving problems

Having analyzed all the errors, including atypical actions, for example, a strange search or a strange choice, we have prepared a list of recommendations of several ways to solve each problem.

For convenience, our team has systematized them by different levels of importance, as well as the amount of effort that will have to be spent on implementation. As we mentioned at the beginning, this will help Unistream make minor changes to the app rather than spending a lot of time on the redesign. The team was very satisfied with the work done, and we remembered this cooperation exclusively as something warm and close in spirit.

Feedback from Unistream

Instead of a finale

The moral of this case study is quite simple: every small company can significantly improve the user experience of its application and save design budget by ordering a spot UX-research.

More often than not, ordinary users know much more about the problems than the developers themselves, you just need to take the right feedback and, having prioritized it, present the obtained information in the form of a list of recommendations. Our UX-team is always open to new interesting cooperation. Send us an email and we will help you make your product better.

Olga Kad


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Discuss the project

Write to us about your idea and we will calculate the cost of the work, as well as offer a step-by-step project management.

Discuss the project

Write to us about your idea and we will calculate the cost of the work, as well as offer a step-by-step project management.

Discuss the project

Write to us about your idea and we will calculate the cost of the work, as well as offer a step-by-step project management.

Write to us about your idea and we will calculate the cost of the work, as well as offer a step-by-step project management.

Discuss the project

Write to us about your idea and we will calculate the cost of the work, as well as offer a step-by-step project management.

Discuss the project

Write to us about your idea and we will calculate the cost of the work, as well as offer a step-by-step project management.

Discuss the project