Banking on User Experience

April 03, 2017 - Ed

Banking on User Experience

April 3, 2017 - Ed Wieczorek

Let's go utilize my financial institutions site

I was in a rush yesterday, and I wanted to make sure that my mortgage payment cleared. I moved to a new loan provider, and my auto payments don’t register right away. So anyways, I went to my bank's website on my phone as I typically would do and was presented with a new design. YES!!! I love new designs. Specifically, designs when they are on the web even more so. My first thought was "man…they did not have a UX person when they redesigned this site". If you did, I’m sorry, and my goal is not to offend anyone.

Please understand that insult is not my goal.

Disclaimer, I do not want to put down anyone's work, and my intention is not to hurt feelings for making mistakes. I’d like to point out some simple mistakes so others who may stumble onto this post may use the advice to avoid such pitfalls in the future. As a bank, you can not afford to make these mistakes as the banking industry is a feeding frenzy on existing customers and moving them to new banks. You often see "NO FEES," or "I’ll give you 3000$ if you transfer to our bank!" In other words, you just can’t mess things up like this. Another wise person once said: "You play with my money you play with my emotions."

Oh please don't go down!

Did I mention that the bank was down for 1 - 2 days with very cryptic 1995 looking HTML pages that looked like the way back machine?

See what I mean?

Anyhow, see Exhibit A. The initial landing page, the place where hearts can be warm, and excitement is born. The put your money where your mouth is web page. "Sock your money away in a bank employed with the friendliest of people page." My first thought, "ok I see that you have a tutorial explaining that the site is new and your green overlay with comic sans makes me feel like I'm back in kindergarten about to play." Since the assets downloaded are so large and poorly planned I can't understand what I am supposed to do when it loads and I deal with a large number of websites on a daily basis.

Let's pick up that pace!


I don’t need tutorials, so I click the comic sans word close and move on to the site. Ok, great yes they stripped down the content, and there's not a bunch of text here. Yes, a call to action I’m pumped. I am about to tap the button, and I realize this is “Find a location” ok, cool. I get it you want your customers to find a close bank first and foremost. I see the idea here. Do you have branch specific websites? Are you taking folks to a landing page where they log into your branch? I'm confused, yes this is confusing. I want to state that never in my history of banking have I ever used a bank's website to figure out where a bank location is. Google provides directions to a given location faster than anyone else in the world can (maybe not everyone but at least faster than you can). People aren't going to type out your full domain name and then follow your button to find a bank that is near them. It’s simply not what the majority of your customers or potential customers will do. So, I know I am biased, but maybe they’ve done the data-driven research to understand that finding a branch was the most painstakingly hard part of the old site. Now, they've made the appropriate call to action fix this dilemma. I highly doubt the former statement.

The number one reason why I as a customer visit your website is to do 1 of 2 things.

  1. I want to log into my account to review the services or additional services that I'd like to register or have already registered
  2. I'd like to see what other products you have that might be suitable for me or ways the bank can help me as a user

If I were running this place, I'd want to get more customers and have them generate leads to my branches to convert them to long term users/customers thus increasing the LTV (long term value) of each.

Am I being too harsh? Am I just bummed?

Ok maybe I went a little too far. There's a hamburger menu in the top right that I can open and I”M SURE LOGIN will be the top item, and I can just get to my account. Bam, an accordion opens and links fall out! YES! Beautiful experiences are excellent; Ooh modern. I tell myself. And as I stare at the accordion, it hits me... there is NO login button. Nobody at any bank would kill off the login button, right? I proceed to scroll the links, and out of the bottom of the screen, I see the faintest glance of a green login button hiding at the lower part of the accordion. Great let me just tap the green, and we’re in! NOPE since the bottom toolbar of safari on ios shows when you tap the bottom of the screen it is impossible to log in. Man, what a shame nobody even tested this!

Next, I take to the footer. Every web designer nowadays puts the most beneficial hyperlinks in the footer of the website. Surely there will be a link or a CTA that says My Account or Log In. Nope, nothing. Hmmm, how do I do this? Do I wait until I go to work to try this on my desktop? Maybe. Ok, so I turn my phone in portrait mode and open the accordion a second time. FINALLY! I can click the login button.

I want to take a second just to shine some light on the root of this problem. Aside from the numerous other small errors and issues, the main thing that keeps rearing its head is a lack of connection with customers.

When you fail to be empathetic to your clients, you ultimately die. A lack of understanding and empathy has proven time and time again to send companies on a slow downward spiral. To the pitfall, one should always do extensive testing, trials, and reviews to ensure you have exactly what your customers want in the end. Make rapid iterations on your product to serve your clients/customers/etc. needs. After all, they are who keep you in business in the first place. Finally, if you make your users feel like they are not smart enough to use your service. They will go where they feel like they belong.