As online and mobile banking methods are increasingly adopted by Canadian consumers, and with the growing number of online-based banks that have surfaced in the past few years, personal finance is becoming more versatile than ever. In fact, more than three quarters (77%) of Canadians are now using online banking. To stay competitive, it's important for lenders to offer the most user-friendly online service possible.
However, for an online service to be considered user-friendly, anyone visiting the page must be able to easily navigate and find what they want on their own, hassle-free. For banks specifically, it's important that visitors be able to fluidly and quickly find the information they require. This is achieved when the website provides all the required information regarding the services the bank offers in a straightforward way (it definitely helps if it’s pleasing to the eye, too!).
Why Visit a Bank's Website?
The main reason most consumers visit their bank's site is to find information on their own and to bypass branch visits and the need to speak with tellers. A lender's website should equip visitors with all the necessary information regarding the services they offer, the daily rates, and hopefully the answers to any pertaining questions one may have regarding their assets.
Mobile apps are free for download from all of Canada's major banks and allow for a streamlined version of the website’s essentials for users to browse through on their smartphones. A banking app must be as simple as possible for a user who’s on the go, as they generally won’t want to waste time with a confusing interface when they are mobile.
Does Design Matter?
Today's consumer demands a visually appealing and smooth user experience, so it's important for a bank to consider what their website will look like to a potential new client, or to visitors in the market to switch banks. A clunky interface, sloppy navigation, and poor design choices all play a crucial part in the first impression and feeling of trust a bank shopper will have on the institution.
An effective user experience (UX) successfully plays to the user's feelings and behaviour, using those sentiments to target their product or service. The idea is to change or affirm a positive attitude within the user - and great design and navigation are key. And it needs to be fast - the user must be able to find what they're looking for on their own conveniently. This applies largely to mobile apps, as they are most effective when responsive, easy to access and operate. It can be a frustrating experience if not properly optimized or designed.
In the end, having a practical website could be a distinguishing factor from one bank to another, potentially giving a bank a positive edge to stand out!
This post is part 1 of 2 talking about what makes a bank’s website both an effective and enjoyable experience. Next week we'll look at what YOU want from your bank's website - and review the best (and the worst) currently on the Canadian market.
About the Author: Derek Nicholson
Derek is in his fourth year of the Bachelor of Public Relations program at Humber College, working as an intern with the marketing team at RATESDOTCA over the summer. As his first foray into the world of personal finance, he hopes to expand and further develop his understanding while offering insight from a student’s perspective.