Given the complexity of Russian markets and that many small businesses deal in cash payments, it was important that Zhuck was designed to coax small business owners into new behaviours and to share information through a service such as this.
Typically, Russian business owners are very cynical of the financial industry and fearful of entities such as ‘black raiders’ – anonymous white collar thieves, who design to legislate successful businesses away from their owners within hours, as evidenced by businesses closing every three years only to re-open in order to avoid this phenomena.
They also maintain both ‘white’ (official) and ‘black’ (unofficial) accounts, to keep the real state of their business hidden from raiders and officials (allegedly one and the same thing at times).
When Zhuck is initially set-up, one of the first few things it teaches you to do is to send invoices to customers. Zhuck then tracks payment dates and prompts when payments should be received.
Over time, Zhuck starts to understand customer behaviour and reports on the health of the business relationship in a provocative way i.e. “This is the third time that Ilya’s Printshop has paid you late. We’re not going to let them to get away with that, are we?”
But Zhuck is far more powerful. Over time, it helps businesses manage their profit & loss, model forecasts, budgets, and monitor partners and suppliers. In the palm of their hand, business owners can see where they are, where they’ve been and where they are going. Zhuck picks them up when they let things get a bit slack, and it compliments them when things are done in a timely way.
In terms of interaction design, it was always important that the interaction came first. To wit, a simple and clean UI was developed, using the bookish positioning that Studio NB were developing.