UX & Design
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- UX & Design

A customer-centric approach to web design in financial services

Head shot of TomBy Tom O’Malley

Over the last few years we have seen a growing trend for customer-centric initiatives among financial services firms.

From established banks to fintech startups, everyone is prioritizing customer experience and retention as key differentiators and the cornerstones of their growth strategies. Although, delivering a winning customer experience doesn’t start and end with the customer service team. It is at the core of every strategic decision and touch point across digital platforms.

So how does this affect web design in financial services?

When developing a brand and thinking about website design, your choice of colour is paramount as it influences first impressions, brand perception and customer experience. Colour denotes emotion, for example yellow represents happiness and red is associated with anger. With psychology in mind (no pun intended), it’s important to consider how your brand makes your prospective customers feel. It should resonate with your target audience and accurately represent the personality of your company.

In financial services, many firms play it safe and opt for navy blue to instill trust and confidence. Navy also represents loyalty, stability, wisdom and intelligence; seemingly the perfect option for any company dealing with financial matters, right? Well, when the likes of fintech startups and challenger banks pose a threat to traditional financial institutions, playing it safe is no longer an option.

However, getting it right is no small feat either, especially in a regulated and professional environment where reassurance and security are fundamental. So how do you create a website that is bold, unique and customer centric without compromising credibility?

UX design for financial services

User experience design for firms in the financial services industry can be challenging due to regulations, compliance and the complexities of financial products. UX design is about working backwards, considering what users want and need, understanding their behaviours and pain points and providing solutions through careful, data-driven design.

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Ultimately, the goal is to enhance customer satisfaction through ease of use and interactivity.

When designing for fintech, it is imperative that digital assets are agile and future proof so firms can keep up with the fast pace of innovation and changes in technology. What’s more, UX design can be leveraged to create an emotional connection with customers; something that many financial services firms are yet to achieve. Studies suggest that creating engaging digital experiences that evoke emotion can enhance customer perceptions, trust and loyalty – one of the biggest challenges facing financial service providers today.

However, fintech startups such as Atom Bank recognise the opportunity to create an emotional connection with their customers. They strive to redefine the relationships people have with money through their brand and unique digital experiences. For example, users can customise logos and names on their online account which subconsciously facilitates the convergence of their personal lives with managing their finances.

Importantly, UX design is an iterative process and needs to be reviewed and optimized based on customer feedback and usage data.

UI design for financial services

User interface and user experience design are interdependent. At the most basic level, UI design is concerned with the visuals, colours, graphics, typography and layout of digital products. More importantly, UI design is about creating an intuitive and responsive architecture that reacts to a user’s input. When designing a user interface for financial services, achieving simplicity and clarity is a high priority. The interface needs to be modern and user-friendly.

Emotions play a key role in the financial sphere as managing finances is one of the most common causes of stress for people in the UK. As such, ensuring ease of navigation by providing visual hints and directives to guide users through the digital journey is essential for creating a frictionless, stress-free experience. For example, most fintech products ask for confirmation of each action a user takes to double check user intention and avoid disastrous mistakes, such as sending money to the wrong bank account! These additional steps may momentarily disrupt the user journey, however they are crucial when dealing with finances.

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The challenge for UI designers in fintech is to strike a balance between beautiful design and practicality, both are equally important in achieving customer satisfaction.

Are millennials and fintech leading the way?

The customer-centric approach to UX and UI design in financial services is transforming the way we bank, save and invest. Millennials are far quicker on the uptake of innovative digital products than baby boomers and generation X, most likely because they are digital natives. They have more trust and confidence in technology-driven mobile apps than traditional banks.

Given that millennials are among the largest group of fintech users their preferences have a strong influence in the design and architecture of financial services products. Fintechs tend to be quirky, fun and innovative and appeal to a younger audience. What’s more, millennials have a very different approach to managing their finances, they are open to new ways of doing things and exert greater control over their money with a desire for self-managed solutions. They seek ease, speed and convenience when saving and investing and place greater trust in algorithms than human advisers.

With customers clearly in the driving seat, it is imperative that financial service providers continue to innovate and deliver new products and services that meet growing demands, with customer experience front of mind.

Although, with such a dramatically changing landscape, who knows what the future holds for fintech?

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