Almost every financial institution invests a lot of effort and money into experience design. As this is the main way to ensure a competitive advantage in the digital age. Unfortunately, sometimes results are pitiful. For example, a large retail bank redesigned their 6-years old app with an in-house team of UX designers. Its rate decreased from 4 to 2 stars in the App Store. What could be the reasons behind such a bad outcome of UX design in digital banking?
A shorter version of this article was originally published on Forbes.com
1. Not connected to your brand
It's not enough to replicate the design of another nicely looking banking app to ensure a great quality user experience. Behind every digital transformation success, there's a number of unique factors that impact the customer experience. User interface design is only one of those.
For a digital product to succeed it's crucial to take into account your brand uniqueness, customer expectations and cutting-edge technology. To turn your digital service into a long-term competitive advantage, conduct user research and execute a tailor-made UX engineering.
2. Curse of knowledge
When someone is communicating with others, unconsciously believing that they would have the exact same context to perfectly understand what he's saying, it's called a cognitive bias.
In many cases, the same happens when finance professionals create a digital service that they believe is easy and pleasant to use, while customers are confused by its complexity.
To architect the best possible banking UX, speak the "customers' language", become their ally. You can achieve it through in-depth empathy, knowledge of psychology, UX research, usability testing and user-centered business mindset.
3. False hopes
There's no doubt about the impact of user experience in creating successful digital products. However, it's faulty to assume that outstanding UX is the only element FIs need to gain instant success.
Even digital products with great UX are still subject to market rules and multiple business factors, like the business model, strategy, the way product's introduced to the market, the CX of support, the competitors' offers, etc. Managing all of these aspects with the right allocation of responsibility allows to become more certain that the new digital product would truly succeed.
4. Lack of financial UX expertise
Quite often FI executives outsource UX designers hoping that in a few months they'll bring a new successful app design to the table. Unfortunately, this kind of scenario very rarely works out. The success of a financial app depends not only on the design skills of the designers but most importantly on an in-depth understanding of the specifics of financial products, business strategy, marketing, psychology, human behavior and digital technology.
Ensure your inhouse or outsourced team has a proper financial UX design process in place that requires expertise in financial business analysis, financial UX research, financial UX architecture, and financial UX strategy.
5. Funds deficit
There are still companies that perceive UX design only as a visual design that's part of marketing or product departments receiving a small fraction of the budget. The truth is, in the digital world, business success relies on digital channels, and accordingly, digital user experience and this should be the top priority.
To create a strong digital advantage, prioritize UX design in strategy, processes, team and budgeting. It doesn't mean you need a huge funding, but a cultural transformation. Switching from push-sales approach to customer-centricity can lead to disruptive products that delight users, bring great demand and loyalty.
6. No strategic context
Sometimes the financial industry tends to perceive UX designers as artists that draw some buttons. While in reality, financial UX design experts perform similarly to business consultants who research all related contexts to creating the digital product and identify bottlenecks to find appropriate solutions.
For many businesses, it's still not easy to define customer context. There are companies that aren't aware of why the customers use their service or decline it, they also don't check product reviews on the App Store or social media, though these are the main channels of consumption nowadays.
7. Bewitched by innovation
In the rush for outstanding competitive advantage, many banks seek innovative technologies that will fascinate users. At the same time, their existing digital solutions are far from perfect and are full of friction that confuse users. A complex new innovation is hard to integrate while there are multiple issues with delivering good UX through the existing products.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel. In the majority of cases, patterns and solutions that are already familiar to users could be used. The best digital innovation is one that takes the value for the customer to the next level. This requires absolutely clear and pleasant to use service, which becomes a powerful competitive advantage of the business.
8. Ignoring irrational
Data-driven design is an extremely powerful approach. The opportunity to statistically justify and measure the design outcome is very promising, especially for the BFSI (Banking, financial services and insurance) industry. The dark side of it could be the responsibility shift from product owners and designers to data.
Unfortunately, data can't take into account user behavior and emotional context that is variable and changes with time. As Henry Ford stated, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." Customers behavior, in general, is affected by human irrationality, that's why data provides only interpretations, not the real answers.
9. Over featuring
There's a common misconception among quite a lot of FIs - the more functions we provide, the better the satisfaction of different kinds of our users will be. Actually, it's quite the opposite. When a customer is faced with plenty of options it confuses him and leads to decision paralysis. In the end, the customer quits without taking any action at all and there's a question if he will be willing to come back.
Find out the exact customer needs and tailor the services upon them, providing a simple, clear, and intuitive experience.
10. Underestimating emotions
For years, banking has been perceived as a very serious institution that some are even afraid of. The world is changing and so is the finance industry. People seek an emotional connection and a personalized attitude from their services and banking is no exception. Humans are emotional beings by nature. As Don Norman, the apologist for emotional design demonstrates in his works - aesthetics bring worldwide fame even to the simplest things like a teapot. It's because it causes the users positive emotions and offers a brand new, more meaningful 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 loved financial brand that has a strong emotional connection with your clients, resulting in success, demand, and long-term customer loyalty.