Banking UX Design Challenges and Opportunities

by Alex Kreger, Founder and UX Strategist at UXDA

User Experience (UX) is about human feelings, impressions and behaviours while using banking digital interfaces. The aim of UX engineering is to create financial service that matches users’ needs with banking capabilities and are easy and pleasant to use. So, let’s outline some general Do’s and Don’t’s in banking UX and reveal how UX can help banks and Fintech startups to enhance their customer involvement. 

Banking UX Design Do’s

1. Banks should talk to their users, research their financial behaviours and collect all possible feedback (including negative) to find real pain points when interacting with digital banking solutions.

2. 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 of the need to overcome legacy of an existing internal politics and an organizational culture.

3. Let’s bring more pleasure and fun to finance by delighting users with emotions that banking services can provide through light design and smooth flow. Let’s implement design thinking into all bank levels.

4. 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.

5. Banking services could look more authentic if banks would add soul to it. It sounds provocative, but finance doesn't have to be so formal. We all know that digital solutions will reinvent it and make it more human-centric. Challenger banks are already unafraid to show their passion inserving their clients.

Banking UX Design Don’t’s

1. Don’t underestimate the power of UX design in a modern world. Today, consumers are constantly searching for pleasant experiences. Their expectations are rising, and they could easily switch to a more active and caring provider regardless of its size and experience. Consider the success of the iPhone versus the fall of the Nokia.

2. Don’t be afraid of digital technologies; just start from a simple solution that will enrich your customer experiences and match their needs. Iterate and move forward step-by-step by implementing new solutions.

3. Don’t be too confident in the quality of your banking services. Instead, step into your customers’ shoes and look at the big picture, even if it hurts. Your previous decades of success means nothing in the eyes of modern customers; they only care about their actual experience.

4. 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 in the right time. Follow the progressive learning curve principle.

5. Don’t manipulate users through conversion rate optimization and UX engineering; use them only to bring fair value to your customers. It’s not about marketing anymore. Your customers are waiting for real value from your service. Give it to them; make their lives easier.

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Main Banking UX Design Trends

1. Every bank will need UX strategy

It’s not enough to create usable interfaces to ensure user-centered approaches in your banking service delivery. Banks need to understand what kind of experience they want to ensure at every touch point of digital interaction with their users. Every member of the banking team has to perform this strategy and provide user-centric approaches to promote an excellent user experience.

2. Financial psychology will be in demand

Nowadays, a lot of banks already believe in the power of user testing and user research. This is awesome, but it’s not enough. A/B testing and customer feedback from interviews are only a part of the picture. UX specialists must learn human psychology in order to conduct the proper research, ask the right questions and make the correct interpretation of collected data.

Testing button colors and placements could raise conversion for a while, but it will not result in a great user experience. Only by understanding users’ problems, needs, emotions, financial cognitions and financial behaviour on a deeper level will you be able to architect services that your customers are seeking.

3. UX support from stakeholders will increase

The role of UX specialists will be more highly respected and more important for customer-oriented banks in 2017. From an instrumental level of UX/UI designers, the user experience design will move to a higher level of engineering, from UX architects to strategy level C-level executives like chief experience officers and heads of digital experience.

This will be caused by a banking organizational culture switch to a new paradigm: customer centricity. In a digital age, this is the only way to make banking successful.

4. Banking UX approach will become holistic

Effective banking UX engineering is not only about designing user interfaces. Rather, it requires deep competence in a myriad of areas, including financial services, business management, marketing, human psychology, technology, digital platforms, etc. A UX specialist explores the big picture of banking service workflow, hundreds of user scenarios and the overall background to create an ideal user journey map.

As a result, a holistic approach allows the integration of bank targets, customer needs and technological opportunities into innovative digital solutions.

5. Banking UX will be challenged from alternative UIs

We have recently witnessed the appearance of a lot of alternative user interaction platforms, such as Chatbots, voice processing and VR technology. We expect them to grow rapidly by expanding into new areas, including finance, and providing new financial abilities for users. This will become a critical challenge for banking UX specialists in the near future.

6. Banking UX will fit to millennials

Millennials are poised to become the most powerful consumer group in the next decade. They are tech-savvy and independent. They are not brand loyal; experience is the only thing that matters to them. If you want to ensure your bank survives in the long term, find out who these millennials are and how to engage them.

7. Financial UX will become more personalized

Artificial intelligence and predictive analytics will ensure the ability to craft a pleasant user experience by matching user needs on a deeper level. AI virtual assistance using Internet of Things sensors will predict user intentions even when offline. Maybe next year is too early to speak about full AI-based banking personalization, but banking services could already be much closer to customers by personalizing their experience using their social ID.

8. Bank users will expect completely digital UX

Customers expect to be able to do everything online, having a complete digital experience in opening their accounts, making transactions and enrolling in new services. Many of them want to get the best possible self-service experience ensured by biometric authentication, online forms, step-by-step guides, FAQs, DIY videos, knowledge bases, online advisory support, advanced scoring, etc.

9. Banking UX will be empowered by micro-interactions

Design is getting more functional, especially in digital services, but it’s not about outdated spreadsheet design with which we are so familiar in banking. It’s about the science of meeting customer needs in a digital space: simple elements and lines, clear icons, small copy and frictionless flow. In order to ensure that, banking design should switch from static to dynamic by implementing rich micro-interactions based on descriptive animation.

10. Mobile first is transforming into omni-channel UX

Without a doubt, mobile channels are already dominating. If you have just begun your bank digitalization, start from a responsive web for mobile services. But to provide the best possible experience for your customers, implement omni-channel strategy that includes native solutions for major mobile platforms, responsive desktop service and, in the near future, wearables, IoT or even VR solutions. This will generate exceptional experiences across all platforms used by your customers.

Thank you!

Alex Kreger

Founder of UX Design Agency
UX Architect & Strategist

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