Bank of China

Anti-Money Laundering System Redesign

Interview    Contextual Inquiry  Wireframe    Prototype    Product Management    Usability Testing

Project Summary

Anti-Money Laundering(AML) system in Bank of China, New York Branch helps analysts monitor, manage, review, and report transaction data to avoid risks in the business.

In this project, we redesigned the AML system for the business department to help analysts review the transaction data. The project needs multiple departments' collaboration. I was the main UX designer in the project.

My Role

As a UX designer, my role was to redesign the system to fit the requirements of varies departments. I negotiated with different stakeholders, interviewed and conducted contextual inquiries with analysts, made hi-fi prototype, and help developers understand users' requirements.

Redesign What?

This is the original interface of a web-based anti-money laundering system. It helps users review and manager massive data. This looks fine.

However, the manager wants a new system that tailored to the new client and looks more modern. We do not have the prototype of this system so I have to build one on my own and redesign it.

Redesign What?

This is not hard to understand. The first requirement can be interpreted as redesigning the information architecture of the interface based on user research. And the second requirement is to redesign its layout and color.

First Try

While I was coordinating user research meetings with clients, I sketched a few new layouts of the system.

I hope these modern designs could satisfy my manager because all my colleagues loved the new layout.

However, I was wrong.

“Your design looks nice, but we already have the code of the original system, and changing layout is too time-consuming. You only need to redesign the color or some buttons for now.” Considering the restraints of the resource is important in a real project.

Interface Changes

The main changes I’ve made were color and the position of the menu bar.

The color I chose is colder and business-oriented. The color of the table border has been changed to light grey, which could reduce the visual load of users.

The menu bar is moved into the top bar to make it easier for users to understand it is a menu bar, which will be shown on every page.

I did not have access to talk to users of the current system, so it is almost impossible to know the deficiency of the UI design from users. I can only make decisions based on my experience. Fortunately, my manager and colleagues like these changes.

Redesigning information architectures was much more difficult and time-consuming.

Understand the Business

The goal of the system we built is to prevent money laundering in the oversea transaction. When the transaction happens, the money will move from the buyer to the third-party payment agency, to our bank, to the merchant in China. There is a huge possibility that evil people do money laundering in this process. To prevent this from happening, business analysts have to review the transaction data and escalate dangerous transactions to the Legal and Compliance department.

But how do they make decisions? They need to look at the country where the money came from, the transaction amount, the merchants’ information, etc.

Before the System

What are they using to keep track of and review these thousands of transaction data?

The answer is the Spreadsheet.

I could not imagine how much effort it would take to review such a massive amount of data on the Spreadsheet, but our system, which has an AI built-in, would help.


Users may not know what they want. Thus, interviews and contextual inquiry were conducted.

I scheduled meetings with an analyst everyday and went to her desk to see how she reviewed the data. I figured it out that Merchant ID, Seller ID, and transaction amount are the most important information, so I put them into the first columns in the table. Analysts search Alert ID, Merchant ID, and Seller ID most, so I put them into the quick-search bar.

And they need to report the number of alerts each month, so I make a visualization on the report page. Their requirements kept changing, so I have to keep talking to them and revising my prototype.


I finished my prototype within one month and present it to stakeholders and developers. And I am so glad that the system should be launched by April 2020.

More Than Design

The work was not finished after I delivered the prototype. Database developers need to know data sources and data formats to build the SQL database. Since I talked to the users a lot, I helped them check required information. For example, the number of digits of ‘Merchant ID.’ I updated my prototype and made a spreadsheet to track data sources. During this process, I learned basic SQL knowledge and reduced the communication barriers between the clients and data developers.


There were lots of negotiations between me, developer, and clients. Just like the problem of UI design I mentioned, we have to consider recourse limitation in the project. I was the mediator between the clients and developers. I tried to understand their needs and help them achieve agreements by balancing the need to add some new features in the system and putting infeasible features into the next phase. Fortunately, I find I am pretty good at balancing and negotiating with different stakeholders.

Even though this is not an agile project, I applied agile methodology during my design process. I kept doing user research, asking for feedback from developers, and revising my design back and forth so that I can finish my work efficiently.

I was the only onsite designer in our team, so I can barely learn from other designers. This is really sad. However, my experience in previous design projects and the knowledge I learned in class were beneficial. Based on the data collected from user research and comparative analysis, I am glad I can deliver the project successfully.

I have done two other similar projects during the intern and participated in project management of an SIT (system integration testing) project. I will be thrilled if I could have an opportunity to talk to you.