A screen capture from a Twitter account showing a missile warning for Hawaii on Jan, source.

On January 13, 2018, the state of Hawaii was shaken in a state of absolute panic.

The state runs alert tests twice a day on various systems. One of the systems happened to be the service that sends a signal to all phones within the state, similar to an Amber Alert. The state employee accidentally clicked the “ballistic missile incoming” button instead of the regular “test” button. For 38 minutes, the residents and visitors of Hawaii were in complete pandemonium.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency via Hawaii News Now

Now, you may be asking, “How does someone make a giant mistake like that?” The answer is simple when you look at the menu that the employee was working with.

When presented with a bad interface, it’s easy for users to get lost or make a mistake.

It’s obvious that someone unfamiliar with the Hawaii Emergency Management system could easily mistake the two controls. However, this worker had presumably been familiar with the system, possibly even a subject matter expert on it, but they still made a costly error.

The takeaway? Good user experience matters.

Why user interface and user experience matters

With a more thoughtfully designed user interface, the unfortunate events that occurred in Hawaii may have been avoided. If they had a warning similar to Slack’s, the false alarm may never have run, leaving people free to enjoy the sun.


Dwolla’s API and its white-labeled capabilities allow the user interface and the user experience to be controlled completely by you and your imagination. The important thing to remember is that with great power comes great responsibility.

So how do you prevent a UX disaster within your application?

User interface: how are you designing your application?

Utilizing Dwolla’s API can be very liberating to designers. Building with few design constraints allows for creative freedom letting your unique branding to be at the forefront.

This being said, understanding good design practices is vital to leveraging every aspect of the API. You want to make sure the design of the application lends itself to the user’s interactions.

Take this mockup as an example:

Your designer can do better than this.

Your designer will be integral to mocking up various views that anticipate the needs of its users. This includes providing clear warning messages when users are about to take drastic actions and make errors easy to catch and reverse.

User experience: optimize with Dwolla’s API

While user interface is an important component of design, user experience is the other half that ensures your customers have a delightful experience within your application.

This starts with making sure the design solves the problem your customer is facing. Crafting a delightful, easy-to-navigate user experience can also help protect your user from themselves and potential mistakes.

  • For example, consider CustomerA who wants to send a payment for $100 to CustomerB. Through an unfortunate mistyping, CustomerA accidentally types $1,000 and initiates a transfer by hitting “Send.” The transfer has now been initiated, and if the they are unable to realize their mistake, their bank account may be down $1,000. This also runs the risk of financial losses via a negative balance.

A simple solution to miskeyed information is to have a confirmation screen. By presenting the Customer with another chance to view and confirm the transaction, you can help alleviate pain and mitigate against the risks of Customers accidentally sending an errant transfer.

This cascades down to help you reduce the risk of cancelled transactions or worse, refunds.

  • Another example: your Customer is attempting to add and verify a bank account with micro-deposits. Through another mistyping error, they enter in the wrong routing number, inevitably sending the micro-deposits to an account that doesn’t exist.

When your Customer is going into bank account verification, you could have them type in their routing number twice.

By typing in this parameter twice, you reduce the risk of a mistyping errors and reduce misplaces micro deposit verification having the micro-deposits be sent to “the void.” In this void, micro-deposits are essentially lost due to them not being able to find a proper account.

If a Customer did end up typing in their routing number incorrectly, they would wait for days expecting a set up micro-deposits to appear in their bank.

Not only does this take away from a good user experience in terms of time wasted, but they would also need to interact with your company outside of the application in the form of support calls to rectify the situation and re-add their bank funding source.

Pulling it together

Dwolla’s platform can enable your application to achieve efficiency when moving money. Going above and beyond in creating a delightful user experience can set your application apart from the competition.

As you build out your application, remember that careful design and thoughtful testing can help avert a potential disaster for you downstream.

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