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Philippe Heckly
User Experience Designer

©Philippe Heckly, all rights reserved

Expensit – UX, App Design, Mobile



Hand holding a phone with one of the screens from the app


Category — UX
Time — 3 weeks
Team — Philippe Heckly
Tools — Interview, rapid prototyping, user testing


A mobile app for business travelers

What if there was an app to help freelancers traveling out-of-state on business track their daily allowance—also known as per-diem

A quick overview of the screens showing the available interactions.

Some of the screens as pencil sketches in the paper prototype I started with.
A quick overview of the screens showing the available interactions.

The problem

Tracking expenses is nobody’s idea of a fun. It is worse for Freelance contractors who have to track many and this mobile app proposes to help them.

The Federal Government stipulates that freelance contractors who often travel out of their home state for work are entitled to a daily stipend as reimbursement for their expenses—what is called a per-diem. That amount of money is based on cost of living and varies from city to city and even by time of year.

Because of all these variations it is hard to easily keep track of Per Diem. So any help to do so is greatly appreciated.

The Process

My preferred approach is the double diamond where research helps define many approaches which then get assessed and brought back into focus. Once this is defined the design process starts all over again to bring everything back together.

Though most of the time the process really feels like this:

Per Diem Mobile App

Expensit is an app to help freelancers traveling outside of their home state track their daily allowance—also known as per diem


Competitive analysis

I was able to identify 3 groups of competitors, each focused on one thing and did it very well.

Harvest and Expensify are great expense trackers with many features but do not track per diem.
Per Diem tracker helps you find out the per diem rate for any place and time. But that’s all it does.
Shoeboxed is great for scanning your receipts and emailing them.

None of the above was answering the particular need of freelancers, truckers, and federal employees for tracking per diem. Some, like Intuit, estimate that about 1/3 of the total US work force, or about 55 millions, is made of freelancers in what it calls the ‘gig’ economy.

My solution

Bringing together the per diem information from the first group and the scanning capabilities of the second within the constraints of a more robust expense tracker such as the third group. It would also need to be integrated with the heavy players like Mint, Expense.