We’ve become so used to technology being a part of our everyday lives that most of the time we don’t even think about its use. Behind the scenes, though, and particularly with the computerization of banking services, research now focuses heavily on how to best create the best interface design, focusing on both software usage and high-quality user experience (UX).
THE EVOLUTION OF THE USER INTERFACE
There was a time when all interfaces were command driven, and users needed to learn – and remember – complex commands. Then came menu-driven interfaces, and later the graphical user interface (GUI), which, in theory, is the most self-explanatory, user-friendly interface.
Several things must be considered when designing a user interface so that customers not only feel comfortable navigating it, but also develop long-term trust in the brand. Cluttered or visually-unappealing interfaces are turn-offs, and they directly affect brand loyalty, mainly because the user associates his negative feelings about the interface with the brand itself.
This is especially important to banks because the differences in their priorities versus those of their customers will eventually lead to dissatisfaction and distrust. Users expect great experiences when interacting with banking interfaces. When they fail to be satisfied, the loss of credibility is hugely detrimental to the financial institution. Banks that do not want to lose customers or brand trust must begin to think differently.
Several criteria that must be considered when designing banking and financial software:
Users prefer interfaces that are easy to understand and operate. Interfaces should have clear and concise layouts, allowing for smooth navigation between elements. There should also be consistency in the design so that customers can focus on the task and not be distracted by changing colors, layouts, and messaging.
Making interfaces intuitive actually means making them feel familiar to the user. For example: tabbed panes imply folders containing similar functions, so using tabbed panes in the design allows users to navigate faster. In banking or investment software, all the functions related to transfers or mutual funds could be put together under a tab.
USAA’s naturally intuitive design has garnered a lot of attention. Instead of focusing on what services banks have traditionally thought to be most important, USAA has focused on what flipped the focus to their customers’ needs. Their use of plain language and simply-designed pages and navigation have made them successful where many other banks have failed.
Interfaces should be fast, and they should provide users with appropriate contextual feedback. For example, when money is transferred from one account to another, the interface should immediately give the success or failure status of the transaction, along with meaningful information related to that status. For successful transactions, clearly showing the new balances of both accounts (if available) and the confirmation number builds faith and trust with the user. If the transaction failed, providing a clear, layman’s-terms explanation and a suggestion for how to resolve the problem helps mitigate frustration with the system as a whole, again building trust that the brand is working with the user in mind.
BankSimple is an excellent example of a bank doing it right. True to its name, Simple’s design and functionality give the appearance of simplicity, while using transactional data to provide personalized content for its customers. The UX allows the user to easily access the information that is important to them, resulting in both satisfaction and brand loyalty.
The right banking and financial software will include intuitive interfaces and will be responsively designed. Because technology has become an ingrained part of our daily lives, users expect an experience with easy navigation, as well as informative contextual feedback. All these help in promoting trust between the user and the brand, and ensure the success of the service overall.
Designing a user interface that will create a positive relationship between consumers and the brand takes thought. Simplicity, ituitiveness, and responsivity are at the forefront of design, a perspective that we at Nine Labs have put into all of our work. If your business is looking for a user-friendly interface, give us a call. We can help.