userPhoto by Sam Dan Truong on Unsplash

Digitizing the Tipping Industry with tipboxme — a user testing study

Tipping is a huge part of American culture. From the food industry to the service industry, tipping is an integral part of customer and staff interactions. In the fast growing world of 2020 we are beginning to see the process of cash being phased out. Tipboxme is trying to capture the growing market for cashless alternatives by providing a simple and intuitive way to tip with just a tap of a button.

Preliminary heuristic evaluations

The challenge this time is to test the provided prototype from the tipboxme team. When I first received the functional prototype, the initial impression was that it looks pretty and clean. Many new apps suffers from the lack of aesthetics but tipboxme seem to have the general conventions intact.

With a great first impression, I soon moved on to some preliminary heuristic tests and WCAG tests. The UI was simple enough to navigate and the sign up process was relatively painless, however there was a small detail that bugged me, more on that later. Upon entering the main screen I tested out all the functions, including payment, banking, sending and receiving tips, etc. all the major features are functional, aside from a few minor bugs that popped up. I continued to the WCAG audit, and found that it passes most of the accessibility recommendations aside from one which is the contrast ratio of the main colors yellow and white are somewhat low in the 1.45 to the recommended 4.5.

Having done the heuristic evaluations, I now have a pretty good idea of what the app does and how it works, but what I think I know doesn’t matter, it’s got to survive in the wild. That’s right, it’s time for some user testing.

User Testing

The pandemic has made meeting in person for this sort of stuff really hard, so I opted for some online remote testing with the user sharing their screen to me. I was able to get two testing sessions from my network, but that is not nearly enough to have a robust data set to work with. To gain more data I used the service of, a site that provides real user feedbacks to your projects and do the recruiting for you. With that I was able to conduct 7 tests in total. I made a test plan from the information I learned from heuristic evaluations and further developed the test questions and tasks from that. The participants were given a scenario where they are a new users of the app signing up for the first time. I gave the the participants some tasks to complete which are the following:

  1. Asking participants to sign up for the service
  2. Adding a payment method
  3. Adding bank account information
  4. Giving someone a tip
  5. Check account history

Participants were then asked follow up question to gauge their pain points and satisfaction levels with the process.

Photo by UX Indonesia on Unsplash


  • Users have confusion about sign in/sign up page. (5/7)
  • Users have trouble navigating the main page after signing in (3/7)
  • Users enjoyed the aesthetics of the app (7/7)
  • Users did not find the placement of payment and banking methods intuitive (7/7)

“had to click and see to find what I was looking for”

“There should be pop ups that guide you”


Remember that one detail that bugged me in the beginning? Well turns out my suspicions were not unfounded. The first thing I noticed when I tried the app was that the first page you see is the sign in page instead of the sign up page, and furthermore the option to switch to sign up is in a tiny line of text hidden the bottom of the screen. Needless to say the participants had trouble with that. Most of them had entered their information in the sign in page thinking that was the sign up information, then they had to do the process again once they realized they were on the wrong page, which greatly added to their frustrations from the start.

Some of the users were lost after entering the app and did not know what to make of the UI. That is caused by the lack of a onboarding process in the sign up process. Users are thrown straight into the main page UI without any explanations of the functions for the different elements.

The major pain point of the users were the task of entering payment and banking information. All of the users were not able to locate the position of the payment and banking information. This is due the the placement of payments were under the “settings” menu, which did not strike the users to be where payment should be. They all thought settings would be something else like the settings of the app itself.

On a good note, all the users enjoyed the aesthetics of the app and were pleased with the theme. they thought it was simple to navigate and even if some functions were not obvious at first, they were able to find it relatively quickly.

Upon discussing with my team members, we were able to confirm our findings since everyone pretty much had similar insights. We mapped out our insights and came up with some recommendations.


We made these recommendations on the level of severity and priority from easy to change with high impact to harder to change with relatively lower impact.

top priority

  • Have the first page to be the “sign up” page, and make the button to switch between sign up/ sign in more prominent
  • Have payment and banking info be its own tab in the menu

medium priority

  • Have a simple onboarding process to tell users what to do after signing in
  • Make payment info part of the sign up process as it is essential to be able to use the app

Looking forward

With the first round of testing and insights done, there is great room for the app to improve. If I were to follow up the development of the app, I would take the new iteration with the recommended changes and do another round of testing to polish out the design and placements of elements. During testing, there were some technical bugs that came up as well and I would like to see those ironed out. For now I rest my case.



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