Mobile App
Taxes with
Team Members
Product Manager - 1
Product Designer - Me
Software Developer - 1
Project Duration
6 Months
Research, ideating concepts, wireframing, iterating on feedback, designing system, coordinating with developers
A brief Overview

Quicko is a fin-tech platform focused on taxes for individuals and small businesses. From the beginning, the focus has been on DIY products and to motivate users to stay tax compliant with its four major products for Direct & Indirect taxes and a tax planning product for investors.


People have been trying to solve taxes in India for the past 6 to 7 years now. There are a few companies that provide complete DIY tax filing and all of them are web-based platforms. The main problem lies in varied target audiences such as small businesses, investors and salaried class. It becomes very difficult to engage and cater to such a varied target audience when it comes to taxes.

Taxes are something people run away from, Quicko and any other platform has been struggling to engage and encourage people to file their returns. The existing web app serves the purpose of filing taxes very well for motivated people but it fails to attract a younger target audience because of its form. Some of the common problems we see with the web app are, they are less accessible, People usually do their tax filing in multiple sessions, less engaging, difficult to get people to web apps and many more.


To answer the question of taxes being boring, we came up with a very new form of taxes in a form of the mobile app. More than solving a problem this project was an opportunity to explore another form and redefine taxes because there are very few mobile apps that exist in the taxes space. The app is designed keeping in focus the following things :

  • Engage the younger target audience and to motivate people to file their taxes on their own.
  • automate user journeys with APIs provided by the Income Tax Department
  • We broke down longer user journeys and we show them insights after users add the information
  • We wanted to experiment with the design so we went bold and dark mode

The idea was to capture the audience at the onboarding stage. We did a ton of iterations for an onboarding process because we wanted to keep it short and sweet at the same time we wanted to make that first impression on the user.

Onboarding  & Connecting with Income Tax Department

Income Tax Return has many entities in it & as a whole is a lot of information So in order to simplify it we decided to go with card-based layouts where every entity has a separate card or has its own space with cards in it.

We observed that users were completing their return in multiple sessions, so it was important for us to explicitly show the pending actions so that users can pick up from where they left.

Empty view Tax Return
Pending action
Prepared Tax Return

We have extensively used the bottom sheet for secondary action such as choosing the income source while adding incomes because user journeys could be long and bottom sheets help in retaining the context as compared to navigating to a different screen.

We designed a swipe to e-file microinteraction because we wanted to create that signature moment for the app where the user is all done and all he has to is swipe to e-file their return.

Empty view Tax Return
Pending action
Prepared Tax Return
Diving Deeper in the process

Being at a startup we don't really get a chance to do research for a long duration and we do research as we move forward so for the first two months we looked at a ton of other apps in this space, I did a lot of design iterations as I was also designing a mobile app for the first time. Along with the UI design part, some of the objectives major objectives of the research were to understand the following things:

  • We wanted to narrow down on target audience for the first version of the app.
  • Understand pain points of users from the existing web app that could be solved by mobile app.
  • Do market research at a high level in the fintech space to understand what's not working.
  • To leverage the power of Income Tax APIs to optimize our user journeys.

After secondary research and 10’s of brainstorming sessions with various teams, we came up with key challenges that users were facing while using the web app. These challenges were a goal for us to solve for users with this mobile app.

Complex Workflows
  • There are many user journeys
    where people need to look at different documents before
    entering their data.
  • User journeys are soo long and it's hard to pick up if left in-between.
  • Web analytics tool helped us understand that people used to prepare returns in multiple sessions.
Taxes are not engaging
  • Because of a lack of knowledge and understanding of taxes people want to stay away from taxes.
  • People don’t want to pay taxes because nobody likes to give away their hard-earned money.
  • People are unaware of their finances and they have a fear if something goes wrong then they would be penalized.
Boring Designs of Portal
  • People always feel overwhelmed by the designs of the income tax portal.
  • Taxes has always been imagined as a boring task and it has never been intuitive for people.
  • Because of very data-intensive layouts of portal people were not sure what they were clicking and what would be the consequences.

We did some digging in the data of the income tax department to narrow down on an audience for the first version of the app. We wanted to test our product before we put in a lot of effort and quicko being a startup we always believed in building MVP as soon as possible and later work in iteration to mature the product

Tax Returns Filed AY 2020-21

We conducted competitive and market research to identify current design conventions and product features that other apps had in this space, This helped us understand the scope of the app and prioritize different features of our app.

Ideation & Design exploration

After doing market research, we got to know that nobody was focusing on one thing, and because of that mobile apps were becoming hubs for different services. So we decided to build an app that resonates with the ideology of google pay ( razor-focused on payments) and defined the scope of the app to be only tax filing and tax payment.

Initial Scope
Final Scope

Once we had the final scope of the app, we then prioritized the ideas using the MoSCoW model approach and started designing user flows. This was a very challenging task as some of the add workflows were very complex and we wanted to create an intuitive experience that would not overwhelm users with a lot of information. This helps us build trust and confidence in users.


This was my first time doing mobile app design and it took me a while to capture the essence of mobile design. While doing design iterations I learned about information architecture, thumb zones, different types of native mobile interactions such as swipe, pull to refresh, haptic feedbacks, breaking information into contextual chunks, and many more such things. I also had the full liberty to experiment with the visual design so as you can see how it evolved during each iteration.

Iteration 1
Iteration 2
Iteration 3
We started with the limited monochromatic theme and went to a multicolor theme because we had to represent different information that has no correlation. It was confusing to show different information in similar colors. During each iteration, the focus was to achieve an intuitive experience that would not just help the users quickly finish their task but also gives a sense of delight and achievement because doing taxes is not that easy task.
Select Regime Iteration 1
Select Regime Iteration 2
New Vs old Regime
The government introduced two tax regimes, the old tax regime which has slab rates, and the new tax regime which has flat tax rates.

Users can decide which tax regime to choose while filing the tax return, we wanted to simplify as much as possible for users because this was new and they were confused as hell. So we came up with a simple table that compares the metrics of their income over the two regimes to show a clear picture.

We also add a contextual card with a visual which clearly communicates the outcome of the decision and gives confidence in whatever regime they are choosing.
We designed avatars with simple shapes to create dynamic personalities. This was something very important because it was going to be present all the time on the top bar. There can be multiple taxpayers that you can add to the same account, so avatars with different colors and personalities help users clearly differentiate between different taxpayers.
Iteration 1
Iteration 2
Iteration 3
Contextual Card Designs
Cards organize information into chunks of content, and users appreciate chunked content because it aids in scannability: it helps avoid walls of text, which can appear intimidating. We followed a set of questions while designing these cards to help us stay in sync :
  • What information matters to the user the most?
  • How can we add more context to cards?
  • Does it follow the information architecture of the overall design system?
  • How much visual should it be? (Color, Ilustration)
  • Is this pattern scalable?
  • What's the most relevant interaction
Visual Design

Till now taxes were considered very boring with those monotonous old systems and that was one of the reasons why everyone hated doing taxes. So we wanted to spice it up and create that immersive and fun experience of doing taxes. The dark mode is something very popular on dribbble but there are very few live apps that do this, the dark theme is something that gives that premium feel as well so we decided to experiment a bit and go dark!

Creating a design system from scratch is very challenging, we experimented with tons of dark colors for the base of the theme. I referred to material design guidelines for creating a dark theme to learn about creating proper contrasts between the base color and the primary color.
Final Thoughts

This was my first project for mobile app design, It took me some time to get hang of it. I learned a lot of things about this form and the opportunity it has to offer in terms of different interactions. Along with the visual design I also learned about designing consistent navigation patterns & interaction patterns and how it shapes the overall experience of the product.

Also learned about the Flutter framework while designing the app because it's really important to know what you can do with the technology so that you don't restrict yourself from designing awesome things.

Some rule of thumb
  • Be proactive. Never hesitate to ask questions or stress previous decisions to ensure everyone's on the same page.
  • Maintain quick and dirty check-ins with engineers on the feasibility and development resources it would take for each feature and interface component.
  • Speak the engineer's language, and be the translator for designers.
  • Reflect on the team's collaboration method and progress on a half-day basis.
  • Adapt and prioritize design features ruthlessly according to effort: impact.
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