Every day millions of people deal with their personal finances on the Internet. Banks have to tie a lot of systems together to make this possible, and simultaneously ensure that other information is easily accessible. There are a lot of details for banks to cover on a website: information about mortgages, credit cards, locations, insurances, loans, and much more.
We decided to test the websites of eight large retail banks in greater depth. Banks need to provide a pleasurable online customer experience by embracing the importance of usability and a good User Experience (UX). This provides an opportunity to look at the similarities and differences of a large number of banking websites that all offer the same kind of services.
We utilized Usabilla tests to collect a large amount of qualitative feedback in a short period of time. This is a user test that collects the opinions of real users using real websites. This is not a scientific paper and we did not track behavior. It is instead a quick way to show what goes on inside users heads when they visit these sites.
A total of 400 participants performed simple tasks and gave feedback on the websites of eight leading, large retail banking sites. The participants in our visual surveys reveal positive and negative aspects of banking sites that are easily overlooked when you only focus on the numbers.
You can download the full report here.
A selection of highlights in this report
There appears to be a divide between the priorities of users and the priorities of the banks. Information is often based not on the most frequent actions a user takes on a website, but on the services that banks want to sell.
Having an icon of a padlock next to the login and sign in fields conveys safety and security. Users automatically seem to trust sites that use these. Additionally, prominently placed banners and links that mention a security measure or program do well. Too many ads and offers on the other hand, harm the brands trustworthiness.
Losing a credit card is normally a very stressful experience that causes a credit card holder extreme anxiety or panic. Most of the banks in the test do not perform well on this task. The experience of losing a credit card could be less stressful for their customers with some minor webpage adjustments. Having a prominent button proves to be very effective and will result in fewer panicked calls to customer service. Our test reveals this as well: both HSBC and Bank of America sport such a button and both score very well.
Credit card pages are cluttered with information that requires customers to scan a lot of information before they can decide which credit card choice is best for them. The Royal Bank of Scotland shows this can be refreshingly different: a clean design with simple copy helps users to make good choices.
Banks should avoid using stock photography; it very clearly irritated several of our test participants. They are smart enough to tell the difference between a real and a fake photograph. Banks should add a phone line for live customer service, and place it in a prominent position. Users made it clear that they appreciate this easy, yet very effective feature.
Be sure to read the full report for interesting insights based on the feedback of 400 users.