User experience is not only about design, but clarity and flexibility of an API: lessons from a fintech stage
As people rely more and more automation of their routines, data providers should simultaneously think about how their data can be sourced via APIs.
Point of inspiration:
This post is by Brett Scott tweet about the shift from customer experience to user experience — where I went and pushed the thought of digital self-service even further — to an algorithm state.
Three years ago I did a decent post (on a now defunct platform the name of which I cannot even remember, that was automatically repuslihed on my Tumblr) that is still valid today — of the inevitable arrival of API as a norm and a mandatory channel for banks, as people drive for more data and increased frequency of checking it will impact how any institution:
- manages the data at the architectural level: inevitably the crave for constant and near real-time incessant clicking urge will increase the number of pings going to a bank’s servers, asking more from Apache servers and other load-balancing elements, following the 19th century Jevons Paradox;
- pushes the data to the devices that would at some point create the need for the data to be consolidated, recombined, processed for ease of use.
One of the problems banks do carry by right of inheritance is the language they operate and enforce — hence most of the time the data is encoded in banking language where people:
- demand the language they frequent on the internet services they use most often;
- want the data to be embedded or otherwise contextualized with the rites or habits that are already there;
Where banks at first fought a loosing battle for the attention span of people eyes, the very hands of the customers they are fighting for, are themselves chosing ways to save time. Where banks rabidly pushed their users to exesses of spending, the new norm is now keep a close guard at personal consumption and save.
The internet engine and connectivity allow people to form societies with full richness of communication and permit to rapidly exchange thoughts, opinions and experiences on their financial lives and altogether creates a middle-ware that reformats the communication from service providers and distil it to simple truths that are channeled through the social fabric of people around you. It allows a user to dispel and really grasp the necessity for byuing this now and for the specified amount.
Here and there, the Web in general and those selling services on it — becomes a better financial adviser, just because it learned the laws of connectivity before banks did. Where most thought that being social means launching a social media community, it really was different. Diverse horizontal communities slowly crawled and started offering investment advice (eToro), P2P Insurance schemes, loans (take your pick from a diverse P2P lending marketplace cohort) etc. Banks are still part of the picture as they provide funding and sometimes act as intermediaries, but users increasingly interact with them through intermediaries that connect to banks via APIs.
Henceforth, bank’s plans on digital channel ecosystem should include API and external developer relationship right from the very begining, just because you cannot fathom all usecases that would include your financial licence and your KYC / Risk management / arbitrage experience and correspondent network experience — while you cannot stand and slowly loose all these elements to newcomers as they arrive and recombine financial products in conjunction with ecommerce.