At Kenzie Academy, our students gain real-world experience as they earn their certifications to become UX or Software Engineers. Their largest assignment is a group capstone project completed just before graduation. This project lets UX students combine the design and front-end coding skills they’ve learned throughout their time at Kenzie to create a functioning app or website for their portfolio.
UX Engineering students Matthew Conroy, Jai Thurman, Jessica Ireland, and Ben Findley worked together to create a unique daily budget app for their capstone project.
The Hive was inspired by the 50/30/20 rule, a budgeting technique popularized by Senator Elizabeth Warren in which you use 50% of your income towards needs, 30% towards wants, and 20% towards savings and debt repayment.
The group interviewed people between ages 22 and 27 to get more insight into how they could create a quality user experience — one that was more user-focused to this younger audience than current apps on the market.
“The biggest thing when it comes to budgeting and saving is it’s boring,” Jai said. “Other apps were very cluttered with terms we didn’t know and our participants didn’t know. After talking to our participants, we found a way to make the app more calming and engaging.”
At the beginning of their creative process, the group wanted to keep things simple, in order to make sure users could easily understand their finances and the app’s functions. Users simply enter their salary and the percentages are divided up for them. From there, they can create individual goals like saving for a concert ticket. They can also create notes of encouragement to keep themselves motivated as they work towards their financial goals.
The team is happy to have completed the project and to have learned how to work through a group assignment while operating remotely.
“It definitely was a new challenge getting used to working on a group project in a remote world,” Ben said. “I think it’s very beneficial that I did go through this because, with coronavirus, the whole tech industry is changing. Remote work is becoming more and more popular. This is [an experience] I needed to get during school so I could understand how to work with people in this environment.”
While the group didn’t have time to officially launch their app over the course of the Kenzie program, Matt hopes to use the repository to continue working on The Hive and see where he can take it from there.
As they closed out their time on the UX Engineering program, the group shared a few pieces of advice for future and current Kenzie students.
“Keep going, don’t give up,” Jessica said. “I’ve learned that almost everything has more than one way to do it, think outside the box, and try a different way.”
“My advice would be to use Kenzie as a safe space to fail,” Matt said. “We’re provided that opportunity. I’ve spent the last year failing more than succeeding and I’ve taken that opportunity. I’ve learned a lot from being able to fail. Failing hurts but the more you do it, the better you get at it. That’s been really helpful for me.”
Please join us in congratulating these students on their successful capstone project and recent graduation from Kenzie’s UX Engineering program!