top of page




Venmo is an app that allows users to send money quickly and easily to other people in their network within the app. Although Venmo has grown tremendously beyond this simple yet vital function, we want to expand their limits to further convenience their users.


The app enables users to easily send and receive money, but we want to expand their features in order to streamline some of the more common uses, such as bill splitting.

How can we create an easy way for users to share tabs/bills and split simultaneously?

  • Design two prototypes that allows users to be bill sharers to receive reimbursement from footing the bill and recipients to choose their orders on an itemized bill to pay.

Role: Research and Design Liaison 

Software: Figma, Sketch

Skills: User Surveys, Synthesizing Research, Personas, Usability Testing, Visual Design

The Plan

Working remotely in a team of 3, we chose to analyze Venmo and wanted to know what we could do to improve it.

My team and I immediately discussed our strengths, set boundaries, expectations and guidelines for our success to present this project in two weeks. We then delegated responsibilities of tasks, titles, and deadlines onto a Trello board to have visual representation of progress and communication.​

I took the position of the Research & Design Liaison, where I was to support both leads and involving myself in every aspect of the project to ensure a seamless collaboration. I also took the initiative as Project Manager to establish organization and maximize productivity in the most efficient way possible.

Discovery & Research

I administered a survey of 10 questions to 19 participants while the Research Lead conducted 4 Zoom interviews with people who said they use Venmo to determine how Venmo differentiates from their competitors and what kind of behaviors, pain points or desires our users have.


Our findings: 

  • There are a number of money transferring apps out there now, but most users continue to favor Venmo over competitors due to its familiarity.

  • Venmo’s current capabilities are limited to the basic functions of either sending or requesting money which then connects to the user’s bank account.

  • More than half of our participants said that they use Venmo to split bills or payments, and this tends to be the task with the most opportunities for pain points and confusion.


Meet Eugene

I took all the information we learned about our users and formed a persona. Eugene is a guy who likes to be on-the-go and keeps the fun rolling when it comes to spending time with his friends. He's the "I'll just put it on my card and you guys can pay me back" friend because waiting for everyone to pay their tabs and making sure everyone was charged the correct item and amount can sometimes take some time and can usually be a big headache. 

The Problem:

Our users need an efficient way to divide group expenses on Venmo in order to avoid tedious math and potential


The Solution:

Create a native check splitting feature in Venmo.


The feature will function as follows:

  • The user who “foots the bill” shares an interactive, itemized receipt with their friends.

  • The friends select their items from the list and pay back the friend who “foot the bill.”

Sketches and Ideation

I then began sketching and ideating the scenarios users would go through and created user flows.

In the functions, the bill sharer would scan the receipt, which would turn into an itemized list. Then he would have the option to split the bill evenly or share the itemized bill to participating recipients.

He would also be able to check on the status of the pending bill until he has been reimbursed from each of the friends he shared with from the "Incomplete" function Venmo already has now.

The bill recipient would receive a notification indicating that a bill was shared with them, where they would claim their own items from the bill, add their tip if there was any, and reimburse that amount back to their friend.

Click to enlarge full images of the initial flow sketches

Current & Future Site Map

This is a chart of Venmo's current and future Site map. The current site map is represented in grey and our future site map is represented in blue.


As you can see, there aren’t any drastic changes that would throw off our user. The Scan, Notification, and Incomplete buttons already exist in the app. They’ve just been given more options, including being able to add multiple recipients instead of just one.


The new function blends smoothly into the app, but its purpose would make a big difference in our user’s experience.

Prototyping, Iterating, & Testing

With our two prototypes, one for the bill sharer and one for the bill recipient, we conducted 4 rounds of usability testing with 8 users and iterated our design at least 4 times.

We realized that people were more reluctant to push buttons when it comes to wording, because no surprise-- people are careful with where their money is going, so we changed around the writing in the call to action buttons a few times to better fit Venmo's writing style that makes users so comfortable with the app.





Our initial design also had the user manually add their tax, which turned out to be an unnecessary extra step, so we had the tax auto-calculate and each individual user will manually add the amount of tip they want instead.

Throughout the whole design process, we had a "Claim My Items" interface for the bill sharer  with the intention to signify which items on the list belonged to theirs so that others wouldn't accidentally claim it. It failed in each usability test no matter which stage in the process we had it.      

The assumption that users were making of that screen were that they were claiming items for participants and charging them for the amount owed, which defeated the purpose of the function making this task easier. We learned that the Learnability Curve was just too steep for users, and that old habits die hard. This screen didn't work naturally for them so during our last iteration, we finally decided to scrap it.

Next Steps

Our next steps are to dive into more research and iterate even more. During our usability tests, we’ve uncovered other scenarios that we hadn’t considered and require further ideation. We’ve realized that we need to incorporate the ability to divide single items between 2 or more users, for an example, for those who like to split meals. We also need a way to account for multiple quantities of the same item on the receipt and how we can represent that. We found that implementing a calendar option for scheduled payments such as household bills would be useful as well. We want to continue to gain more insights on how to improve our user’s experience in Venmo as a whole. 

4 iterations later and forever to go. Give our prototypes a try and let me know what you think!

View Bill Sharer 

View Bill Recipient


bottom of page