Effective banking UX engineering is not only about designing user interfaces. It is more of a deep competence in the areas of financial services, business management, marketing, human psychology, technology & digital platforms. Also, it’s about understanding users’ problems, needs, emotions, financial cognition and financial behavior on a deeper level that enables to architect services that your customers are seeking.
Banking product should not be designed by banking people
In Wikipedia, you can find one of the proven cognitive biases — the curse of knowledge. Usually, top managers at financial services like to dig into the product digital strategy. The catch here is that they create products based on their own understanding of service usage and their financial knowledge usually is better than the random user from the street. Usually, they don’t always see it from the users’ viewpoint, so they might fail to consider the factors affecting banking UX. Actually, the users of the digital banking product are often very different from their creators.
Financial specialists are rational persons always in search of the best solution and they expect that the majority of users will evaluate and use provided financial services in the same way. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.
Most people are quite irrational; they make decisions and draw conclusions based on emotions and instincts, which are usually unconscious. Their patterns of behavior are often not optimal, and they follow habits. This explains why many people do not use products in the way their developers conceived. The research on major European Challenger banks allows me to state that they are really advanced in UX and solves users problems in the modern user-centric way.
I have reviewed the challengers banks N26, Revolut, Atom bank, Monesse, Starling bank, Monzo, Tandem in Europe and found the following 5 major user journey UI/UX points:
It is fast, intuitive and in most cases frictionless. The user is lead to access the platform, where to download the app and what functionality should he expect from it. Websites also provide users ratings of the app which suggests that the app is functional and people like using it.
A big focus is put on the simplification of authorization. The challenge here is to meet the regulations and rules and make it as frictionless as possible for a user. Today, biometrics is good enough to provide instant access to the banking dashboard with an acceptable level of security all of the banks use one or the other KYC biometrics solution.
Information architecture is simple and intuitive. It meets the most important users' scenarios and helps solve their problems. Sections and content blocks are grouped into a clear and user-friendly way. Key sections and modules are minimized to the essential ones. Navigation is intuitive with clear instructions that are easy to use and match their priorities.
Observation: tasks divided into steps. When a digital service requires some action from the user it is better to divide it into step-by-step tasks instead of taking it all into one screen. It is recommended to use progressive disclosure in your forms or divide processes onto several screens by using layers behind primary pages. This should help to manage user attention and keep the flow clear.
The interface provides sufficient user feedback. It’s the only way a user can understand what is going on. The overviewed apps use notifications, messages, and tips to ease user points of friction.
5. “White space”
White space helps to accentuate the most important UI elements and reduce the cognitive load on a user. The apps try to leave enough space either on the interface level or at the feature level. Harmonious and elegant layout and UI element hierarchy allow a user to quickly scan and make intuitive choices.