NuBolão: How we built Nubank’s first social feature in less than six months

In less than six months, a small team of 6 Software Engineers, 2 Designers, 1 Business Analyst, 1 PM, 1 PMM and 1 Tech Manager built Nubank’s first social feature.

Mockup of a cell phone with the screen showing NuBolao application

In Nubank’s debut as an Official FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Regional Supporter, the company launched different initiatives on and off the field. The Brazilian passion for soccer inspired Nubank’s teams to create features that elevate their experience during the competition, such as the “bolão” function, a pool where customers can interact with friends, making guesses during the event directly in their app.  

We are here now to tell the story of how we launched this unprecedented social feature that amused our 8 million users in Brazil!

A new social feature combined with a huge opportunity

As a company that puts the customer at the center of our strategy, we wanted to design an experience to delight each of them, leveraging the enthusiasm around the matches.

On that premise, a multidisciplinary team was put together to reach out to opportunities that would tackle this challenge. Working at Nubank is all about collaboration. This pillar and the willingness to deliver an exceptional product made the multidisciplinary work a joy for all involved – who were eager to learn from each other – by sharing responsibilities and co-creating every part of the process.

It was in a collaboration like that where we discovered “NuBolão” would be a great option to offer a new experience within our app, aligned with our broader goals to provide uniqueness during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

Users: Who are they? What do they need? And how to discover all of this?

NuBolão is the first social feature of Nubank’s app: until now, interaction and data sharing between users had never happened. Having said that, programming this was very challenging for our team of 6 software engineers directly involved in the project.

First of all, to get customer insights, we had to do benchmarking on other bolão apps. To enhance this process, we conducted qualitative research via interviews with groups of friends that played a bolão during the last World Cup. To validate our choices with the final customer, we engaged in usability tests.

This was a huge part of the development process, and it involved a lot of different teams. With that, we could guide almost all of our choices. After that, we had to think about how we would present the user’s guesses. Because this is, indeed, personal information. We didn’t have any parameters, as a feature like this is unprecedented in the world of financial institutions. 

Throughout the World Cup, we could learn more about our users. We assessed a high level of adoption based on our prediction models; we could forecast the necessary structural capacity. Over Nubank’s history, this same strategy has enabled us to keep cloud costs low and availability high during these exceptional events.

Understanding the usage pattern was vital to optimizing the functionality of the feature and the app as a whole. Service auto scaling is already Nubank’s practice. This means that if the workload increases, we’ll automatically have more instances responding to requisitions. 

Social sharing and fun with friends: how to communicate this narrative? 

Customers nowadays are looking for much more than just consuming or using something: in addition to having a good experience and meeting their expectations, customers want to feel that they belong. This is why building emotional connection is so important to us when developing new features for our app.

We added a Profile Picture feature to NuBolão, to make it emotionally closer to our customers. This was already used in Brazil and was a constant request from our users.

Our value proposition was based on social sharing, engagement among friends and, ultimately, fun. Our feature development always reinforces these pillars, and that can be seen in our gamified badges, groups with friends, shareable information, and many other features.

Our aim with NuBolão  to strengthen our community, creating a new way to bring people together in the World Cup: a global event that dissolves borders, differences, and conflicts.

NuBolão Project

The Nu way of designing

NuBolão appears as a fourth tab in the app, so the UI had to be suitable for the application interface. Fortunately, Nubank applies BDC on its daily operations. This allowed us to focus our efforts on creating the canvas, because we didn’t have to modify the app to add them: we just had to create the design and add it using BDC. This really helped us with time management of data sharing.

Building a major legacy

There were two major challenges in the development of NuBolão: creating real-time leaderboard and building a social feature in which users will be able to see the picture, name and points of the other user in their group.

The learning that came with the development of this social functionality will remain at Nubank 一 helping teams that will develop social features for Nubank in the future. Also, some of our creations will live longer than the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, like the raffle system: when users perform certain actions within the NuBolão, such as making a guess, for example, they were granted a lucky number.

This functionality will live on because it’s not only a system for the World Cup: it’s a complete raffle infrastructure designed exclusively for Nubank, something that can be used in a lot of contexts over the next few years.

Our biggest value is the need to ask and structure the right data to perform analysis and understand how the initiative impacted our customers and how they interacted, for example. 

If you’re interested in our workflow and want to discover what is possible to do when you work in one of the world’s largest digital financial services platforms, come join us.

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