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Why so slow?

Yes, Internet Banking, I’m talking about you. You, with your self service features, your reduced TCO and your oh so shiny new graphics. Yes, you’re faster than the call centre (if my call is important to you, then why don’t you pick up the phone?) and yes you’re faster than going into a branch. But I can buy a book on Amazon faster than I can move money between my accounts. Or pay a bill. And every page takes an AGE to load...

Next time you log into your Internet banking and need to do more than one thing, count the number of times you have to enter your password. My last visits were 5 and 6. Seriously. Then time how long a statement takes to load. Or a search. IF the search even works correctly. Then compare THAT to Amazon.

I like coffee. Bear with me. Since working at home full time, my little Nespresso machine has been working harder and harder. Why? Well, I like coffee and I like good coffee. But what I really like, is good coffee fast. I could find the best beans, patiently grind them, get a complex Italian machine with a 100 page manual that talks about pressure and evacuating steam. Spend the time learning how to do it properly and make a great coffee. I use my little Nespresso machine. It’s just as fast (faster?) than instant, and it makes a lot better coffee. The coffee may not be quite as good as doing it “properly”, but it is a lot faster. And easy to use.

I like snowboarding. Actually, I love it. But since the kids came along, my regular trips to Canada have disappeared. This year, we went on our first family skiing holiday - I snowboarded, in Europe. As I sat on a button lift - my quads screaming in agony as meter by terrifyingly slow meter passed by, it struck me that I was only using this horrible drag lift because there was NO OTHER WAY to get to the top. If it had been faster it would have hurt less.

It's not just me. Research shows that fast response times leads to higher flow states (Skadberg & Kimmel 2004), improved conversion rates (Akamai 2007) and lower user frustration (Ceaparu et al. 2004) while slow download times reduced perceived trustworthiness (Nielsen 1999). Nielsen also calls responsiveness a "basic user interface design rule that's dictated by human needs" (Alertbox, June 2010).

So, yes Internet Banking, I use you but only because there isn’t really another way.  But like that drag lift, I want you to be faster. A high speed chair lift would be nice.



Comments: (4)

Paul Penrose
Paul Penrose - Finextra - London 10 May, 2011, 15:35Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The Bank of Google anyone?

John Dring
John Dring - Intel Network Services - Swindon 10 May, 2011, 17:17Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Yep.  And the problem with slow sites is that you end up multi-tasking and flicking to another windown while you wait.  The session is a fragmented experience and hence a bad one.  Worse, you leave windows open and forget them, get timed out and have to re-connect when you realise - insecure and frustrating.

Never have that problem on Finextra ;)  (I claim my prize)

Chris Errington
Chris Errington - None - London 11 May, 2011, 14:53Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Hope the Google bank will sort out the 'slow' issue currently affecting their UK home page.  That weird moving Google Doodle sure is disrupting my user experience today!

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 12 May, 2011, 17:02Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Just the other day, we heard about an Australian bank that (finally) thought of drawing inspiration for its purportedly NextGen Internet Banking website to Amazon and other leading e-commerce portals. Like I'd pointed out in a recent blog post, they're still grappling with the reality that UX is much more than eye candy. Give them a few months - maybe years, they're soooo slow, you see - and we might be able to initiate a Faster Payments transaction faster than it takes for the money to reach the other side!