Pressure Project 1 – The Frozen Bank Card at the Train Station

Description of Experience

Last summer I took an internship in the state of Oregon. Of course, I did not call my bank and tell them this. I then casually used my bank card for the first few days in Oregon, buying things such as groceries and housewares. For background the first portion of my commute to work involved a 10 minute walk to the train station, where I buy a ticket and catch a train to a bus stop. One morning I woke up, got ready and trekked on down to the train station and went to buy my train ticket. I swiped my card at the kiosk in order to purchase a ticket for my commute and my card was denied. I swiped my card at the kiosk again, more carefully this time, and it was denied. I asked my friend to swipe her card and it was accepted; therefore I knew the issue must have been with my card and not the kiosk. At this point I’m wondering why my card was denied and am extremely concerned as to how I will get to work. Luckily I have some cash in my wallet which I used to buy my train ticket and get to work. Since I was working I didn’t get a chance to call my bank and ask what was going on until the afternoon. Once I learned what had happened, I explained that I moved to Oregon temporarily and they unfroze my account.

Illustration/Diagram of Experience



Design Process (AEIOU)

Activities: Moving far away, making purchases, detecting fraud, freezing accounts

Environments: Stores, ticket kiosks, the bank’s office

Interactions: Swiping bank card to make purchase, freezing user’s bank account

Objects: Bank card, bank account

Users: The user of the bank account and its respective card, the bank worker

Proposed Intervention

In this intervention, the bank would still monitor users’ accounts for fraudulent activity. Except, instead freezing accounts in suspected cases of fraud, they would call the user and ask if the most recent transactions were verified. If the transactions were not verified by the user, the bank would then freeze the account. If the user states that the transactions were valid, the bank will simply leave the account be and the user can continue to use their bank card. This would prevent situations such as the user being at a train station with no way to access their funds and purchase a ticket to get to work on time.

Illustration/Diagram of Proposed Intervention



One challenge was how to best illustrate and diagram the experience. While flow charting I realized that I was showing a sequence of events with small illustrations. It occurred to me that I very frequently share sequences of events with small illustrations to my friends—but instead using the medium of text messages with emojis. In most contexts each message represents a discrete event, and the one following it represents the next event in time or a simultaneous event. Emojis are added in order to give a small visual of the events or emotions involved in the text.  I decided that if I diagrammed and illustrated my experience in a context that I am extremely comfortable with (text messaging) that I would be able to better design for myself. While designing for myself I also realized that I am far from an ideal user. For instance, I didn’t tell the bank I would be moving and was then blindsided when my account was frozen. Any solutions that involved proactive user measures probably wouldn’t be effective with me.


-Victoria Odessa Worrall


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