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Lydia Making usage limits more transparent


As part of my training at The Design Crew, I worked in a team on a brief for Lydia, "the super app for your money". This brief was given to us by Felix Lepoutre, Product Designer at Lydia, who himself had just "shipped" his solution.

The brief concerned the communication regarding limits on the usage of Lydia in its free version. These limits mainly concern the number of transactions and/or the total amount of transactions per month. They also concern the number of withdrawals, ephemeral payment cards allowed per month, and other advanced features. Beyond transaction limits, fees apply, but the app has so far only communicated this when the case arises. Two paid offers, Lydia Blue and Lydia Black, allow these limits to be extended, as well as access to new features.
Our challenge was therefore twofold: to communicate more about Lydia usage limits, while encouraging subscription to paid offers.

Roles: Benchmark User Journey Maps User Interviews Ideation UI & Prototyping User Tests

From user research to prototyping a solution, we worked on the entire design process.


« How can usage limits be made more transparent in order, among other things, to encourage subscription to unlimited paid offers? »


To start our research on this project, we looked at how other services were addressing the issue of communicating on limits. We also studied sign-up flows and researched the psychology of freemium. From this research we learned about the existence of a "free mentality" (the tendency to intuitively expect all digital services to be available for free) and a price-quality inference among users (read an article on these concepts). It made us realize the scale of the challenge of converting users accustomed to a free service into subscribers.

During our benchmark, it became clear to us that it was best to communicate usage limits in a benevolent and gradual manner, so as not to surprise the user once they have been reached. Our research has shown us that in many cases limits are handled through a system of gauges, whether in package consumption screens or in cars.

We have also identified another way to communicate about the limits of a product or service: progressive notifications that draw attention in a progressive way. Notifications become more prominent when the limit is reached, and are also a good way to highlight advanced features available in the paid version.

As a result of our benchmark, we made 3 assumptions:

👉🏻 We believe that Lydia users know the app is chargeable / limited.

👉🏻 We believe that some Lydia users feel limited with its free version.

👉🏻 We believe that users of the free version will leave when they find out about Lydia's usage limits.

User Research

At the end of our interviews, it turns out that we only validated our first hypothesis, namely that users expect Lydia to be paid and limited, like Jason who tells us, "They need to make money. It's free, but I suspect there are paid features."

We also learned that:

👉🏻 What incentivizes conversion is the need to use a specific feature, not the fear of exceeding limits:

As soon as I reach the limits, I use my account differently. - Abdallah

I switched to Lydia because I had specific needs abroad. When I return to France, I will switch back to free. - Clotilde

👉🏻 Usage limits need to be more visible and understandable:

If the limits are communicated to me clearly, I find it benevolent. On the other hand, if they are not and I find out at the last moment, I will be suspicious of Lydia. - Jason


mindmap affinity mindmap

During our ideation phase, we explored different ways of displaying usage limits, drawing inspiration from our benchmark (although, much to my disappointment, we decided to discard the gauge option, deemed irrelevant in the face of multiple usage limits 🤷🏻). We also considered the premium aspect, the social aspect of using Lydia and the sense of belonging generated by joining the paid versions.

Solution and V1

Our solution offers a carousel displaying in a condensed way the limits and status of use. Placed on the home screen, this carousel is clickable and redirects to a new page: My usage. On this page, the user will be able to find all the limits and track his or her monthly usage in detail.

We have also added elements to the payment flow. Short sentences located under the amount and under the recipient indicate the limit of the number of transactions and the total volume of transactions.

1 free transaction this month
Limit of 20 free transactions reached
A pop-up appears when validating the amount if the user has reached the monthly limit. It contains a call to action inviting the user to move on to the next plan (Blue or Black).

Detailed flow

Adele opens Lydia and notices a new item above her latest transactions. Intrigued, she taps on Learn more.

She arrives at the My usage page and discovers the details of her Lydia usage and the monthly limits of her offer.

Adele wants to make a payment of €8 to her friend Agathe. When she enters the amount, she notices small blue phrases telling her that she has reached the payment limits.

A moment later, a pop-up appears, alerting her more visibly that she has reached 20 transactions this month. The pop up also touts the benefits of Lydia Bleu, and offers her to subscribe via a call to action.

User tests and acquired knowledge

Our user tests have taught us that in order to draw attention to the limits, you have to be impactful. Lydia's payment flow has become an automatic process for its regular users and we need to make sure that we capture their attention, so that they don't miss out on the display of limits:

I know Lydia's flow by heart, I know what to do so I don't read. - Manon

We have also learned that it was best not to interrupt the payment flow. The pop-up appeared unexpectedly during the payment flow, which made it ineffective and disruptive. Indeed, 5 out of 5 testers closed the pop-up that appeared during the validation of the amount, without even having consulted its content:

Now when that pop-up shows up, how it pisses me off, I want to break something. 🤬 - Aurelia

Finally, we have learned that with our solution, the usage limits weren't visible enough. Only 1 out of 5 users went to the My Usage page, and only 1 out of 5 users noticed the limits displayed on the Transaction page.
The lack of information led to frustration when users discovered the charges, even for a small amount like 6 cents.

Iteration and V2

Based on our findings, we have redesigned the display of limits in the payment flow. In order to leave the transaction screen untouched, we have removed the short sentences indicating the limits.

We also created 2 pop-ups. The first one appears when the limits are not yet reached (75%), at the end of the payment flow. The second one appears when the limits are reached, just after the payment validation. The latter offers to continue with fees or to switch to Lydia Bleu.

Finally, we took advantage of our iteration phase to simplify the content of the pop-ups as much as possible, and to refine the wording of the various calls to action.

Detailed flow

Adele opens Lydia to make a payment to her friend Agathe. On her dashboard, she sees that she has made 14 out of 20 transactions for the month of March.

Once the payment is sent, a pop up tells her that she is approaching the limits and suggests she switch to Lydia Bleu.

Five days later, Adele opens Lydia to make another payment to her friend Agathe. When she confirms the payment, a pop up tells her that she has reached the limit of 20 free transactions for the month. She can finish her payment with additional fees or switch to Lydia Blue and have no more fees.

Adele chooses not to go premium and completes her payment with fees. On the home screen, she can see that she has exceeded the limit of 20 free transactions for the month of March.

If she had wanted to, Adele could have switched to Lydia Bleu...

...and its interface would have turned blue!


When presenting our work, it was our idea of changing the color of the interface when switching to Lydia Blue that caught Felix's attention. Indeed, playing on the social dimension and on the recommendation of premium plans between friends ("Why is your Lydia blue and not mine?") and accentuating the feeling of belonging to a premium offer seemed to inspire him. On the other hand, while our pop-ups and My Usage page were not too far from Felix's solution, he informed us that it was not conceivable to display a new feature on the home screen (let alone one that displays limits!). Fortunately, we had thought of adding access to the My Usage page from the profile!

To go further

We have learned from this project, whether during user interviews or during test sessions, that communicating transparently on the usage limits of the free version of Lydia increases its trustworthiness among its users.
We also found that it might be interesting to explore a new way to further highlight the various features of Lydia. Indeed, not all of our panel were aware of the full range of features Lydia provides and as we learned, what converts most to unlimited paid offers is the need to use a feature, not the fear of exceeding a limit.

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