The product designers hired for digital banking transformation can either leverage the impact of design and customer experience OR completely sabotage the entire project leading to huge losses not only in terms of money but also customer trust and loyalty. This is especially true in the post-COVID era when FIs are required to digitalize quickly and do it according to the growing customer expectations. How can you avoid the possible trap and hire the right financial UX experts to ensure a competitive advantage for the financial brand?
A shorter version of this article was originally published on Forbes.com
The Pareto principle states that 20% of efforts impact 80% of success. In terms of digital financial products, actions related to user-centricity have the biggest impact and often determine whether a financial brand will be demanded by the customers.
Amid the pandemic, 88% of customers expected companies to accelerate their digital initiatives, while 68% stated that COVID-19 has elevated their expectations of brands’ digital capabilities, according to Salesforce.
Despite the fact that 87.2% of organisations recognize the importance of CX, especially when it comes to building customer loyalty, only 30.4% of organisations have an executive on the board accountable for CX. Most companies are managing CX solutions at a business unit level and don't have strong teams of UX/CX specialists to bridge the gap between customer needs and their products, according to Dimension Data.
Beauty or a beast?
Many modern mobile banking and financial service design examples are found on Google and Pinterest. Though the visual appearance is important, often these products turn out to be a nightmare for the customers. Due to an over-stylized UI and complex banking information architecture, users are unable to find the necessary elements and important user scenarios.
In digital financial product design, we can divide designers into two categories─those focused on the artistic side with the goal of making an impression and those who aim for a beautiful design that would meet the user's needs and be intuitive and easy to use.
In the financial UX design methodology, the design is only one of seven stages toward creating a beloved financial digital product and brand. The other stages include business and market analysis; user research; engineering; prototyping; creating a design system; and ensuring UX assistance during implementation.
The seven stages of the Financial UX Design Methodology by UXDA
When it comes to finance, the ability to create an attractive design covers only 1% of the required competence and does not guarantee great usability in sync with user expectations and the specifics of the financial service.
Here's an example from UXDA's experience. A huge insurance company requested a redesign of a recently launched product. They had hired seemingly talented designers and spent a great deal of money on creating a fancy product that turned out to be unusable. These creative designers had made a beautiful flow with tons of pleasing illustrations and animations but it was overwhelming and distracting. From the user point of view, the process of getting insurance was a nightmare. We started with user research and intuitive information architecture to make all flows meet the user’s needs. In the end, we crafted an inspiring design that was attractive and easy to use.
To avoid this unusable beauty trap, it's handy to explore not only the colorful portfolios of the designers but also the status of their product designs. Are they launched? What are the customer reviews? What kind of methodology do the designers have? Do they pay enough attention to the research and the engineering phase or go straight to design?
Finance is not rocket science, right?
There are cases in which a financial company hires UX expert to create a great product, but the end result is far from perfect. This is because even a skilled UX specialist might not be able to bring his A-game when it comes to the specifics of financial services.
In financial UX, the smallest mistake can lead to both financial losses and loss of customer loyalty and trust. It's extremely important to have in-depth knowledge and understanding of the specific financial product and the industry at large. To work with financial services, it is crucial to have knowledge and experience in the specifics of this complex industry as well as user psychology behind finances.
This is the reason why UXDA spent 15 years developing the Financial UX Design methodology - to have a specific approach that helps to maximize the potential of financial brands and allows them to establish long-term connections with their customers through digital products that provide an exceptional experience.
Hiring a UX designer without in-depth financial knowledge might seem like a win in the short term due to the possibility of cutting expenses, but might incur a high cost in the end.
Here's a real-life example. A certain bank had hired UX designers to redesign their mobile banking app. Shortly after the launch, the bank’s support team received thousands of customer calls with similar struggles. This was because an “unimportant” detail missed by the designers was actually a major element for its usability. This is why UXDA's UX architects have several years of experience working at a financial institution.
When it comes to finance - a mistake caused by incompetence can cost millions not only in terms of money but also in customer loyalty and trust.
To avoid this, it's critically important to work with user-centered specialists with a proven track record of specializing in matching digital financial products with customer needs. It's very important to have a team of professionals who are dedicated experts in both UX and finance and have a proper financial UX design methodology in place that requires expertise in financial business analysis, financial UX research, financial UX architecture and financial UX strategy.
The success of the financial brand and its products depends on an in-depth understanding of the specifics of financial products, business strategy, marketing, psychology, human behavior and digital technology.
Design potential can be empowered by outsourced competence like financial UX consultants and agencies to help integrate a user-centered mindset throughout the financial company.
Topcoat vs. Depth
Even the most skilled financial UX experts might still not deliver the desired results. This is because the impact of the designer's knowledge and skills is decreased if their influence is limited to the surface level of the product.
If the designers aren't able to thoroughly analyze the product and design experience at a deep level, it might lead to a standardized, non-competitive solution. This explains the plethora of boring digital financial solutions.
It's important for UX specialists to become user-centric facilitators at every level of the company, integrating these values into the company culture and inspiring and coaching the employees to become user advocates.
Achieve a breakthrough with the right UX experts
The overall success of financial digital products and the financial brand often depends on the actions taken by the UX experts. This also impacts the end value the customers will receive, as well as the speed at which the product will be implemented.
To avoid the trap of limiting the power of design, UX designers need to have the appropriate influence over the company’s inner processes. It's also crucial that the C-level executives support the designer’s efforts and ensure the whole team is engaged in the process of user centricity and deliver the best possible experience.
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If you are seeking an exceptional competitive advantage in the digital age, contact us! With the power of financial UX design, we can help you turn your business into a beloved financial brand that has a strong emotional connection with your clients, resulting in success, demand and long-term customer loyalty.