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Is Your Banking User Centered? UX Cheklist and Tips to Integrate Right Away

In the digital age, in which there's an app for everything and almost everyone is able to build one, experience is what makes a difference. FinTechs are continuing their confident victory march in the monopoly once owned only by the big banks. That's why it has never before been so critical for financial product success, or even survival, to deliver according to customers’ needs and wants. Otherwise, they'll just switch to another FinTech unicorn that has found ways to cure their financial headaches instead of creating them. How is your banking doing at tackling the challenges of the experience age?

Collecting our experience from working with many different traditional and disruptive financial services, we've come up with a list that can help you both as a review and a reminder of the importance of user experience. We've listed the TOP questions you can quickly go through to get an overall understanding of whether your banking ship is sailing in the right direction when it comes to success in the digital age.

To make it easier for you to provide answers, we have included a “how to test it” guide. This will serve as an incentive to take a closer look at processes in your company that might be crucial for improving the customer experience but might be left unnoticed.

To make this “checklist experience” a truly valuable one, we are also sharing some of the best “ready to implement” tips and tricks that don't take that much effort but can surely result in much happier customers. And who wouldn't want that when experience is the core of your product's success?

So, let's begin!

Here's the checklist itself, feel free to save and print to share with your colleagues. Below you'll find the detailed “how to test it” guide and “ready to implement” tips.

Do you know your users’ actual needs and pains?

How to test it:

You might know your bank’s target audience, demographic data or user age group, but how about the users’ actual life stories, concerns and pain points? Do you know what your users’ stories when it comes to their banking experience? Do you feel enough empathy toward their struggles?

Banking UX tip:

In the financial UX approach, user personas provide a huge value in the process of developing user-centered banking. Not only will you understand the motivation of people using your product, but also what kind of troubles your banking platform may cause. These are real people with real-life stories, and their issues should be heard. Go deep analyzing your personas─who they are, where they come from, their daily activities, other services they are using and what job they expect of your service? By exploring these key facts, you will be able to uncover the main usage scenarios in your banking platform and surprise them with the best possible experience.

Bonus Tip:

Don’t be too confident in the quality of your banking service. Instead, step into your customers’ shoes and look at the bigger picture, even if it hurts. Your previous decades of success mean nothing in the eyes of modern customers; they only care about their actual experience and solution for which they utilize your product.

Does your banking regularly collect customer feedback and deliver solutions based on detected problems?

How to test it:

Check in with your team: when was the last time customer feedback was collected and reviewed? Also, learn how often it's done─daily, weekly or monthly─and what methods are used to do it? Perhaps, if one method does not bring as many valuable insights from the customers, it's worth exploring a different one. Also, it's critical to understand how the gathered information is used. Is your team analyzing it and then acting upon it by creating solutions? Or is it just stored away to collect dust?

Banking UX tip:

Amazing insights could be gained from talking to users, researching their financial behaviors and collecting all possible feedback (especially negative) to find real pain points from their interactions with digital banking solutions. There are various ways to gather the feedback─conducting customer surveys, collecting feedback via usability tests, regularly checking and documenting customers’ emails and/or calls about any targeted areas of improvement. It can also be just as simple as reading through your customer reviews on social media and the Apple or Android store.

Bonus Tip:

Being today’s No. 1 “word of mouth” tool, social media is extremely powerful and can be both helpful and destructive for your business. Jeff Bezos, a person who truly seems to know a thing or two about great experiences, has said: “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000.” Be sure. If your banking comes up with a brand new, more improved, convenient and enjoyable banking than ever before, people WILL most certainly talk about it.

Is your banking understandable, intuitive and easy to use?

How to test it:

This could be one of the toughest questions as there could be many subjective answers. It's no secret that it can be very difficult for us to see our own flaws. But, when it comes to user experience, it's the key to truly understanding your customers. You have to step into the users' shoes and forfeit your own preconceptions. That's the only way to provide an experience that will be suited to the customers and their needs, not marketing ambitions. Now, how can one do that? Here are some practical tips. Make a list of user scenarios─tasks users need to complete in your banking platform. Then conduct usability tests with both advanced and novice users and evaluate if both types of users can reach their goals successfully. Prepare a list of tasks to conduct in your banking platform and watch the users perform them. See where questions and moments of trouble occur: What can they do quickly? Where do they get stuck? What can't they find and understand? Analyze the results and focus on improvements. If the process described above seems to confuse you, contact a UX agency that's advanced in conducting research and designing financial UX. Also, it is important not to stop after one evaluation, but conduct the tests regularly and keep on improving.

Banking UX tip:

It is finally the right moment for banks to simplify everything and offer digital solutions to make their services clear, obvious and intuitive for their users. Perhaps this is the most difficult task of all because it requires overcoming the legacy of existing internal politics and an organizational culture. However, once you accomplish the challenge of making banking simple and intuitive, it is a huge achievement that will reap great rewards. Having a banking environment that is focused on the user is the way to win over their hearts. In other words, if you allow your customers to easily accomplish their goals in your environment, they are here to stay.

Bonus Tip:

Don’t over-complicate and over-featurize your digital solution; users are freaked out by information overload. Make your information architecture contextual; every feature is in the right place and at the right time. Follow the progressive learning curve principle.

Is your banking enjoyable for the users?

How to test it:

Leave the ego at home and take a careful look at your banking. Now, remember the looks of the latest FinTech solutions. Think about some finance apps that are rapidly growing their user base like Revolut, N26, Monzo… Do you seem to notice any differences? What are your customers saying about the look and feel of your bank? Do they ever mention the unpleasant word “outdated”?

Banking UX tip:

It's a myth that finance has to be boring and complicated. It's time to look around. The world is moving fast, and rapidly growing technology startups can share some outstanding UX design insights and case studies. Banks should find out what inspires their users and be open to digital challenges and changes. Try to bring more pleasure and fun to your banking. Delight users with fresh, light design and smooth, intuitive flow. What if you could feel good and not depressed when entering your online bank? What if making transactions could be enjoyable? What if banking becomes a part of the user lifestyle? We believe that financial UX design takes banking potential to the next level and opens up opportunities to be much more than just a tool for sending and receiving money. Find out how to give your customers the best treatment in terms of user experience. After all, from the myriad of banking services out there, they have decided to give yours a try. Let the users know that you care and appreciate their time using your banking service. For example, you can make a huge difference in your customers' attitude toward your service by simply congratulating your user after completing the registration form with an encouraging: “Well done! We are happy to have you with us!” Or you can actually give the users rewards for inviting friends to your bank. People will appreciate this and choose to stick with your banking instead of switching to a competitor.

Bonus Tip:

Think of gaming elements. Yes! You heard it right. Gaming elements in banking is the new black, and the truth is, it's really working! The customers love it. Think about how your service could reward your users both emotionally and physically, but keep in mind that you have to use gamification the right way. Incorrectly utilized gamification may demotivate the users toward reaching their goals.

Do you learn from your competitors' mistakes?

How to test it:

Do you follow the successes and failures of your competitors? Are you checking out what people are saying about their services─what they like and what they despise? Do you analyze why some financial services don't survive while others strive? Can you name a few examples of how your competitors have experienced a failure and how you could avoid it, because you knew how to?

Banking UX tip:

We started with a tip to regularly collect customer feedback and base problem solutions on it. The same applies to your competitors. There's plenty to learn from other companies in the financial sector. What problems are their customers facing? This is an ultimate tool to stay a step ahead of your rivals─seek out the customer problems, find solutions to them and integrate those in your banking solution. This way you don't need enormous investments to find the latest and most modern technological innovations that will help you become the first one who implements some function (that users often don't actually even benefit from). You can attract customers by being the one who offers convenient solutions to their everyday problems.

Bonus Tip:

There's a lot you can learn from success and failure stories. One such lesson: don’t underestimate the power of UX design in a modern digital world. Today, consumers are constantly searching for pleasant experiences. Their expectations are rising, and they could easily switch in minutes to a more active and caring provider regardless of its size and experience. Consider the success of the iPhone versus the dramatic fall of Nokia.

Does your banking platform provide a good user experience on all devices?

How to test it:

This might seem unbelievable, but there really are many financial institutions that forget about the omnichannel nature of the digital age. Test your banking solution on actual devices and operating systems. Make sure that the user experience is consistent and seamless on all platforms. Ensure the elements are in place, interactions work properly and overall user flows do not get affected. If you have not yet done this, assign your team of designers to create specific guidelines and style guides that define necessary principles, usage of colors, fonts and visual patterns for different devices.

Banking UX tip:

Not all of the users of your online or mobile bank will have the latest smartphones and highest resolution computer screens. Not everyone will be accessing the online bank via the same internet browser as your team. Consider a variety of devices on which different users will be using your product. To maintain the same user experience for all devices is definitely not the easiest task due to the many factors that are necessary to be considered. Understand the user personas─people who will be or are using your banking─and determine how they are going to use your product. The users will expect and rely on the product to be consistent.

Bonus tip:

When it comes to creating consistent experiences throughout different devices, a great resource for inspiration is the book “Designing Multi-Device Experiences” by the Senior User Experience Designer at Google. This author describes the 3C framework based on the approaches of Consistency, Continuity and Complementary, and gives the readers his insight on delivering experiences on all devices “at the right time, on the best (available) device.”

We truly hope this article created a spark of inspiration to improve the user experience of your banking service. We'd love to hear from you about how it went with completing the checklist and maybe even implementing some of our UX tips. Don't hesitate to share your experience with us in the comments section!







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Karina Skara

Karina Skara

UX Architect / UX Consultant

UX Design Agency

Member since

31 May 2018



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