Case Study: Zelle®


Zelle Onboardingfig. 5.1: Zelle Onboarding Screens 


To comply with EWS Zelle UI Guidelines, Zelle network participants are required to incorporate onboarding in the enrollment flow. Only the primary screen of their four screen enrollment carousel is required:
“The first ‘Get Started’ screen of the Enrollment flow is an important Brand moment for Zelle. It is required that the first screen in the Enrollment flow clearly answers [the] user’s question ‘What is Zelle?’.”

Problem Statement

As a Capital One customer, I want to understand what Zelle is and what its benefits are as a payment method.

Understanding User (Empathize & Design)

With the single required screen, EWS recommends using photography with the following stylistic guidelines:

  • Conveys energy, movement and being in the moment.
  • Tells stories in ways that are arresting and fresh, sometimes a little irreverent.
  • Uses a range of subjects from people to objects and environments.
  • Includes people with authentic facial expressions, not just smiles.
  • Features dynamic angles and crops.

However, Capital One branding guidelines do not accommodate photography in the app experience. So we leveraged the Capital One illustrated character set instead.

C1 character setfig. 5.2: Capital One character set 

Low Fidelity

Once I sketched a general concept, I moved directly to Adobe Illustrator to build the scene.

Zelle onboarding sketchfig. 5.3: Zelle restaurant scene sketch 

Zelle restaurant groupfig. 5.4: Zelle restaurant group variant (branded color palette) 


Ideation gave me the opportunity to leverage illustration skills. Manipulating the existing vector-based illustrations and adding additional elements, I put together a three-person dining scene that brings the mandated “Move Money in the Moment” copy to life. The only noteworthy difference being that while Zelle recommends “authentic facial expressions” in photography, the Capital One character set is deliberately expressionless (more to emphasize archetypes than distinct personalities).

I iterated on additional illustrations for the three secondary “Get Started” screens, which are variations on the value proposition and additional use cases for sending money with Zelle. I also wrote new copy to provide a deeper understanding of the Zelle experience and elucidate on safety, transparency, and funds availability.

  1. Move Money in the Moment
    With lots of people you know.
  2. Pay the Sitter
    Staying out a little later on date night?
    Skip the trip to the ATM for extra cash.
  3. Send Money Fast
    Safely send money to your undergrad
    Direct from your bank account to theirs
    in just a few taps.
  4. Send a Request to Get Paid Back
    Directly into your bank account
    and ready to use in minutes.
    No third party apps or intermediary accounts.

Final Result

The onboarding imagery answers the customer’s question, “What is Zelle?” and the introduction of color is a welcoming change within the Capital One app. It provides a friendly entry point into Zelle and remains true to Capital One design principles.


Additional thoughts around increased awareness and engagement with the Zelle experience involved feature marketing. I explored leveraging illustrated marketing tiles on the customer’s eligible account page. The mid-fidelity tiles are a compelling, high-profile entry point into Zelle for the pre-enrolled customer.

Zelle marketing tilesfig. 5.5: Zelle feature marketing tiles (mid fidelity explorations)