A bit emotional about local banking apps

Websites of local and international banks have been updating rapidly and some of them have pleased their users with a good design. But in terms of UX everything is not that positive. It is difficult to find the information one needs, some of the online banking apps are ugly, rather like administrative panels for a warehouse of their own use.

Who knows why so many Armenian banking applications still look awful? It seems that this question doesn’t bother anyone. Even the users themselves. Banks should talk to their customers and not only put dozens of sections and functions in their apps.

When it comes to branding, website or mobile application design, tenders are often announced. Companies of all levels do their best to administer these projects. Surely enough, any bank is always an excellent client for a portfolio. Usually, designers face very specific problems during a discussion, work, as well as approval of designs and projects. People responsible for the project are often unprofessional and capricious, functionality and design are unjustifiably changed by marketing teams, or even by the owners themselves. All of them, of course, are worried about the project, and want to do everything “correctly” and “at the highest level”, requiring “more creative” work. But at the end, they only spoil everything.

Over the years of work, myself and my colleague-designers and advertisers have faced completely ridiculous requirements for design, depressing scenarios for advertising and inadequate editing right on the day of the project’s delivery. Eventually, banks gets what they want with all the pros and cons, through harmed nerves, delinquent terms and budget. Naturally, with such a fundamentally incorrect process, there are many bugs, forgotten and really bad products.

Nevertheless, even a tidy sum doesn’t affect research and UX design in any way. Simple questions like WHY clients need the functional or HOW everything should work is often forgotten during the process. The applications of even famous banks are inconvenient, poorly thought out and not beautiful after all.

According to the latest research in US, people use mobile banking apps much often than before, online transactions and app features are increasing. Nearly 70% of bank clients are managing their accounts through online or mobile banking. People want to save time and like attractive features in the apps. 80% of people are happy to use mobile banking in the US. It’s very nice to see really good products in the Europe, UK and Asia.

Today rapidly growing fintech startups have great functionality and beautifully designed. Banks should learn a lot from them and find out how to interact with their customers, collect feedbacks and bring some fun to their digital products.

A lot of really great and useful digital products have recently been born in Armenia: Picsart, Joomag, Teamable, Zangi and others have much better UX than any local banking app. While I worked at Picsart, I enthusiastically joined the team, which every day asked the right questions about UX and did their best for the convenience of a User. UX research, prototyping, testing — everything was worked through to the tiniest details. Prototypes were discussed and tests were conducted both outside and inside the company. Hundreds of millions of Picsart users is a proof of that good UX strategy really works.

In Armenian banking sphere, such factors as conservatism and management interference neglect the UX and design processes, preventing us all from enjoying the use of good products. Our banks should have their UX strategy and the role of UX specialists must be respected. Customer-centricity is the only way to make mobile banking successful, thus making it more personalized.

ACBA Mobile Banking app today. A long list for improvements needed.

For example, I like acba.am very much. But why don’t they develop new applications and online banking website? At inecobank.am things are also not so bad. With HSBC everything is complicated, as with some other global banks they could have a much better product. What about other local banks? NC.

Screenshot with a Ringer pop up explains a lot.

I’m really looking forward to seeing some new Armenian fintech startups in the nearest future. It can stir up our banks to be closer to the trends and current demands for mobile products.