Performance snapshot: National Australia Bank’s new homepage

It’s great to see banks step away from antiquated designs, and implement responsive web design strategies. The design, testing and development effort for an organisation of this size is monumental, and cannot be underestimated. Unfortunately sometimes these changes introduce a new series of challenges, in terms of both usability and technical implementation.

An example of that is NAB’s new homepage, which launched this week.

When I visit NAB, I’m doing so to check in on my business or personal account. What I’m faced with, is a dropdown navigation that feels slow and is visually distracting.

The dropdown animation takes half a second— and it’s about 750ms before a customer can interact with it

Animation and user-experience guidelines state that the user should not wait more than quarter of a second for animations — in fact, the Google Chrome® team have coined what they call the “Rail performance model”.

In this case, breaks the first rail guideline

Halving the animation time would greatly improve the way the navigation feels — given that a large amount of customers are likely to hover over that dropdown multiple times per day, it would be a great user experience improvement to make such a change.

What else could be done?

As I hinted, regular visitors will use the dropdown multiple times per day. Right now the animation is fired when:

  • The customer hovers over the dropdown
  • The customer clicks the dropdown

In both cases, I think that the usage of the slide down animation is unfounded. I’d really like to see the animation sped up, or removed entirely. If a user clicks, they’re making a deliberate action — don’t make them wait.

Further performance issues

Clicking on “Internet banking” launches in a new window, which represents an entirely new issue. Can you spot it?

It takes between 6–10 seconds to go from click to visually complete.

As you can see, the site performs badly, and also violates another R.A.I.L guideline:

Load your site in under 1 second. If you don’t, your user’s attention wanders, and their perception of dealing with the task is broken.

I would love to see larger organisations offering services that we all use on a daily basis, recognise that performance is a crucial part of user experience and severely impacts a customers’ quality perception.

Disclosure: I’m strongly focused on user-experience and web performance — I run a service called Calibre, which helps teams improve website performance.