Banking on a digital future

7 common misconceptions about UX in banking busted

28 Nov, 2017
5 Min Read Dan Ward

7 common misconceptions about UX in banking busted


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Banks and financial services firms launch countless financial products every year, from mobile banking apps to mortgages. But the harsh reality is that many of these products are destined for failure - and a misguided  approach to user experience (UX) design is often to blame.

Without good UX, potentially successful products end up on the scrap heap, costing their companies time and money. So how can you avoid a similar predicament?

In our experience, it’s helpful to start by addressing some of the most common misconceptions about UX. Let’s get started...

  1. You know exactly what your customers want

It’s easy to assume that your customers have the same background knowledge as you do. While some of your clients may be well versed in the finer elements of banking and financial services, most will not. And they won’t always evaluate and use your services in the way you intended.

Remember that customers make decisions and draw conclusions based on their emotions and gut instincts. Often, these are unconscious and follow established habits. It’s not unusual that users don’t interact with your system in the way the developers intended.

With a bit of reading about psychology, especially around cognitive bias, you’ll gain a better understanding of user behaviour – before you design your system. In this way, you'll be better placed to target their needs instead of assuming what they want.

  1. The easiest way to success is to copy another design

We know what a lot of banks and financial services firms are thinking: if it worked for PayPal or Amazon, it’s bound to work for you, right?

Wrong. Blindly copying a popular service is no guarantee of success.

The key to effective UX is a careful initial analysis of what makes your business or offerings unique.  Only then is it time to design your product. This approach is more likely to bring a long-term competitive advantage because you are familiar with the needs of your users.

RXP Collective, for example, deploys rapid prototyping, observes user behaviours and preferences and tests and validates assumptions before diving into design. That way, its team can ensure success when products are in the hands of users.

Sure, check out what the big-gun financial services are doing. That’s a smart starting point, but ultimately, your solution should target the concerns and problems of your users. Aim to set a new standard, and perhaps you’ll end up being the company that inspires others!

  1. UX design guarantees instant success

Wouldn’t it be great if this were true? The reality is, however, that the success of a product depends on many factors, including:

  • The way the product is introduced
  • The level of support
  • Terms of service

UX design is an iterative process, and it continues well after product launch. Seeking user feedback and optimising the product are time-consuming tasks, but it’s the most efficient way to achieve compliance with market demand.

  1. Any designer can do UX

Good UX designers are in high demand for a reason: they’re extremely rare. This is because UX is more than just an interface. It's a part of a full customer experience.

As a result,  the designer should be a capable user experience specialist. He or she should not only understand the specifics of financial services but also have relevant cross-sector expertise, as RXP Collective’s UX designers do.

And don’t forget that UX designers don’t work in isolation. For a winning product, you also need experts including business analysts, UX researchers, UX architects, information architects and strategists (strategists ensure the project’s vision is based on all the available data and insights, and make sure the product strategy aligns with this).

  1. UX design is too expensive for my business

While the UX approach can be complicated, it's necessary if your goal is to create an intuitive product that stands the best chance in the market. But you don’t need to spend a fortune to get there.

Lean implementations or basic versions of design thinking are available at little to no cost. RXP Develop, for example, has built a lean agile product called Quick Start, which makes standing up UX projects fast and cost-effective, opening up UX to a wider audience than many thought possible.

  1. Users want all the features

Users don’t need thousands of features to feel satisfied. When faced with an online environment with an overwhelming array of choices, users become frustrated. At best, they get annoyed. At worst, they stop using the product altogether. The decision paralysis effect is the result, and it’s not uncommon.

To prevent this, do your homework before starting any project. Establish what the critical, functions of your UX will be, then ensure your design gives users fast, easy access to essential tasks.

Keep user overload in mind, and take it easy with the features and layout. Users should be able to find what they need and use the package intuitively and quickly.

  1. It doesn’t have to look good

Financial products used to have a reputation for being complicated and difficult to understand. Little wonder that contemporary customer-centred products are comparatively well-received. These days, it’s a given that interfaces need to be clean and intuitive. Clarity and aesthetics should go hand in hand.

That said, a beautiful looking interface that isn’t user-friendly is likely to end up as a dud. To deliver outstanding user experiences, you need interfaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional.  What’s on the inside is essential, but what’s on the outside is critical too.

If you’d like to know more about how to design the ideal user experience for your next financial product, contact RXP services today. 

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