ING Belgium

Project Atomium – Decoupled onboarding

My Role

UX Design Lead
Expert reviews
Workshop organiser
Stakeholder management


Daily Banking/Manage Money

Product Managers

PO: Mathias Seghers
CJE: David Rodriguez

Tribe Lead

Rosario Aguilar


and a bit of context

In Q2 2022, in a push to make its services more accessible and user friendly,  ING started a new high priority track, code name “Project Atomium”. Behind the code name is a new “lego style” flow for agnostic user onboarding.

The purpose of this track was to remove frictions between outside users and ING:

  • Lack of proper onboarding for users that are not ING customers
  • Lack of a connection between flows in the open environment (not logged in) and account creation
  • Independent of the product the user wants to subscribe to, a current account is required
  • Most of the flows are built for users that are already an ING customer
  • Accessibility issues
Overview of the original flows for creating current account, applying for a mortgage or loan at ING

Business requirements:

  • Increase the number of primary mobile customers
  • increase the number of prospects becoming ING customers
  • increase sales leads
  • allow users to link accounts from other banks to ING products (Mortgage, Loans)
  • reduce the number of visits to branches
  • reduce the number of CLT (customer support) calls
  • Accessibility improvements

What is the vision?

Unlike the previous diagram, this current diagram encapsulates the authentic and original vision that drove our UX project. It serves as a visual representation of the foundational concepts, ideas, and objectives that guided our design process, ensuring an optimised user experience. By referencing this diagram, we can trace the origins of our project and comprehend the core principles that shaped our decision-making and strategic approach.

Project Atomium overview on the original vision


and my role in it

As the UX lead designer for Project Atomium, I was responsible for spearheading the development of an exceptional user experience. With the chapter lead providing support, I was able to focus on pushing boundaries and delivering the best user experience.

In practical terms, this meant the following:

  • Expert reviews of our current user flows
  • Competitive benchmarks
  • Stakeholder management
  • Design sprint planning and execution
  • Conceptual UX
  • Mockups and prototypes
  • UX research together with the UX research squad

Building the stakeholder map

From a UX perspective, a stakeholder map is a powerful tool that helps identify and categorize the different groups of people who have a vested interest in the success of a particular product or project. This map is used to visualize the relationships between stakeholders, their level of influence, and their interests.

The stakeholder map for UX includes both internal and external stakeholders such as users, designers, developers, managers, customers, investors, and regulators. Each stakeholder is assigned a specific category, such as primary, secondary, or tertiary, based on their level of influence and importance to the project.

The primary goal of creating a stakeholder map in UX is to design and develop products that meet the needs and expectations of all stakeholders involved. By understanding the interests, motivations, and goals of each stakeholder, designers can create user experiences that align with the business goals and objectives of the project.

Moreover, a stakeholder map in UX can help identify potential conflicts or issues that may arise during the project’s lifecycle. This allows UX professionals to proactively address these challenges and ensure that the final product meets the needs of all stakeholders involved.

In conclusion, a stakeholder map is an essential tool for UX professionals, providing a clear understanding of the stakeholder landscape, helping to identify potential issues, and creating products that meet the needs of all stakeholders.

In the course of a few meetings with the tribes, the mapping was done.

The stakeholder map for Project Atomium

Wats is the status of the current flows?

To gain a deeper comprehension of the problem and propose suitable enhancements, it was necessary to map the existing user flows.

But what is the competition doing? What about ING in other countries?

We analysed all the top Belgian banks and surveyed ING flows from other countries. The conclusions were the following:

  • The majority of Belgian banks don’t offer this possibility
    • KBC
    • Argenta
    • Belfius
    • BNP Paribas-Fortis
    • AXA Bank
  • ING Netherlands has a similar track started
    • We can’t have the same approach as ING NL, due to the major differences between countries in handling the identity of its citizens. The Netherlands is much more streamlined than Belgium
  • ING Italy has a similar track started

Two tribes are taken out of the project

On a deeper analysis of the flows and talks with the tribe leads, Customer Journey Experts and developers, some decisions had to be made.

With every other team “backing out”, the Current Account team remained the only one on the project. While some may have seen this as a setback, it was actually a blessing in disguise. After all, current accounts are the foundation of banking, and what better way to start tackling a critical project than with them?

Conceptualise a better solution

Embarking on the project with the Current Accounts team was no small feat. It required a considerable amount of desk-based UX work to be done before we could even begin. But we knew that doing the hard work upfront would set us up for success and pave the way for a game-changing project.

As the lead UX designer, I took on the challenge of gaining a thorough understanding of the front-end and back-end ramifications of the project, including the complex IT mechanisms and API calls involved. Through countless conversations with various tribes responsible for different aspects of the process, I was able to delve into the intricacies and limitations of each stage. It was a challenging and time-consuming task, but an essential one if we were to create an optimal solution.

Using the insights gained from my consultations, I generated a block view of the user flow. From there, I meticulously mapped out the existing screens, identifying any gaps or inconsistencies that needed to be addressed and also the opportunities we had to innovate or optimise.

Through these efforts, we were setting ourselves up for creating a seamless and intuitive user experience, setting the stage for a successful project that would have a profound impact on ING Bank.

Along with generating a block view that mapped out the underlying processes, I produced a very straightforward user flow that segmented the various main stages of the proposed user flow.

Project Atomium - Current accounts proposed solution

By taking a user-centric approach, I was able to create a user flow that was intuitive and easy to follow, guiding users through each step of the process with ease. The segmented stages made it easy for all the stakeholders to understand where they were in the process and what was required of them at each stage.

Time to get everybody in one room

For those unfamiliar, a design sprint is a structured process that brings together cross-functional teams to solve complex problems and create innovative solutions in a short amount of time. It involves rapid prototyping, user testing, and iteration, all within a compressed timeframe.

By organizing a design sprint, we were able to bring together the right people and resources to tackle the challenge at hand, while also fostering a collaborative and creative environment. It was an exciting and exhilarating process, one that allowed us to explore new ideas and test them quickly.

Ultimately, the design sprint was the perfect solution for our needs, allowing us to create an innovative solution that was grounded in user needs and backed by rigorous testing.

Step 1: Framing workshop / The Scoping Canvas

Before diving into the design sprint, we needed to ensure that we were all on the same page and had a clear understanding of the scope of the project. That’s where the Scoping Canvas came in.

A Scoping Canvas is a tool that helps teams define the scope of a project and set clear goals and objectives. It’s a collaborative process that involves bringing together stakeholders and team members to brainstorm ideas, identify key challenges, and map out the project’s key components.

By using the Scoping Canvas, we were able to identify the key challenges and opportunities of the project, and set clear goals and objectives for the design sprint. It helped us align our thinking and focus our efforts on what was most important, setting us up for success in the design sprint.

Project Atomium - Scoping Canvas

Step 2: Plan and execute the design sprint

  • Mapping
  • Sketching new approaches
  • Deciding on one approach
  • Detailed designs
  • Prototyping
  • Legal & Compliance validation (1)
  • Iteration of feedback
  • Legal & Compliance validation (2)
  • Testing preparation

The user test

and the conclusions

With the help of the UX research team I planned and facilitated a moderated, remote user test. Conducting user testing remotely allowed us to reach a wider pool of participants and collect feedback from individuals who were unable to attend an in-person session.

To prepare for the test, our UX research team recruited 8 participants that fit our target audience.  We also developed a script that included a series of tasks for the participants to complete while thinking aloud about their experience.

At ING we always try to test in both languages because we found out Flemish people have a slightly different mentality and approach compared to the Walloons. Therefore we recruited 4 French speakers and 4 Flemish speakers.

In a nutshell:

  • Non ING users
  • FR and NL speaking
  • Ages between 26 and 52 years old
  • Equal gender representation
  • Various levels of IT knowledgeability
  • Blue and white collar jobs

Out of all the input we got, I’m sharing with you the list of adjectives we’ve generated from the interviews conducted during our testing process. This comprehensive list encapsulates the most important attributes that the users found in the product, and provides insights that we can leverage to enhance the user experience.

The good

Quite easy, Simple, Secure, Fast, Easy, Interesting, Visually attractive, Good, Efficient, Practical, Not too many questions, Logical, Structured, Right amount of information, Intuitive, User friendly, Gives a safe feeling, Informative

The not so good

Long, Repetitive, Intrusive, Lacking information in some places, Too many screens, Why use FaceID is not clear, Boring colours, Why so much white


and the next steps

While user testing is a crucial step in the design process, it can be challenging to interpret the results accurately and apply them effectively.

In the case of the user test for this particular user flow, I can say that it proved to be a moderate success. While we did receive positive and valuable feedback from users, there were also areas where we identified room for improvement. Now the team will have to take the insights gained from the user test and applying them to refine and optimise the user flow further.

Better itsme integration

The fact the itsme integration is not optimised leads to a lot of extra screens, as you can see below. For the moment we had to accept the tactical solution, not the strategic one, because of the complexity of the IT infrastructure required and time constraints.

For the next iteration of the user flow, the tribe responsible for the itsme integration will be creating and implementing a radically optimised solution that also takes into consideration the latest developments of the itsme platform.

PSD2 – The revised Payment Services Directive

We weren’t able to implement PSD2. For those that don’t know, PSD2 is

PSD2 is a set of regulations introduced by the European Union to promote innovation, enhance consumer protection, and increase the security of electronic payments by requiring banks to provide third-party providers with access to customer account information and payment services via open APIs.


Basically, in this context, PSD2 would have enabled us to enable payments from other bank accounts, in preparation for the integration of other services of the bank (eg. Consumer loans or Retail mortgages)

Strangely enough, after countless meetings, we got confirmation that this feature is already developed, but nobody knew who created it or who to contact. An unpleasant effect of the complexity and siloed nature of a bank.

Deferred deep links

A deferred deep link is a type of deep link that allows users to access content within a mobile app, even if the app is not currently installed on their device. When a user clicks on a deferred deep link, they are directed to the app store to download the app, and once the app is installed, the deep link will then open the specific content or feature within the app that was originally requested by the user.

When I left the project, this issue was still a very big question mark. Because of the development strategy ING has implemented, there were no native mobile developers (!), therefore the know-how was lacking on how to properly do this. However, informal discussions with colleagues led me to believe that this linking issue will be solved before the launch.