Cover the Basics Before Worrying About the Competition4 min read
The pressure to keep up with digital trends is real. Looking around at the new, innovative things happening in the banking marketplace, you might wonder if you're falling behind. Your visual design may start to feel outdated. You might fight to keep up with the latest technology. How should you engage younger customers?
Trends will make your site irrelevant faster than anything. The new, kicky thing the bank down the road is doing? Avoid it like the plague. They’ll be changing it soon anyway in a desperate effort to stay relevant.
Serve Your Users Above All
True relevance lies in serving your users’ online needs excellently. Period. This produces loyalty and is the best way to future-proof any digital product. Great user experience will help keep your website modern and will – quite frankly – set you apart from your competitors, even after dozens of fads have passed.
Get the Basics Right
Want a user-friendly bank website that real people enjoy and appreciate? Make sure you’ve got the basics covered:
- Make login the undisputed king. Offer highly prominent, ubiquitous log-in for online banking, especially on mobile.
- Keep it simple. Navigation options should be concise and descriptive.
- Help users find you. People should be able to quickly find all your locations.
- Offer easy, quick contact. Contact information should be easy to find and understand.
- Be mobile. Your site must work perfectly on phones, tablets, etc.
- Organize around common tasks. Present clear calls to action that parallel your users’ top tasks.
- Provide online sign-up. Allow easy sign-up for accounts and loan applications online.
- Help people choose accounts. Make it easy to research and compare banking options.
- Make forms a pleasure. Offer simple, friendly forms that guide people to use them correctly.
- Be accessible. Build in accessibility to the WCAG 2.0 AA standard.
- Be secure. All sites must be visibly secure.
Don’t Show Your Bank’s Age
Many banks have a bad habit of accidentally showing that they’re not quite as tech-savvy as they want everyone to think. When it happens, it’s obvious and it can immediately make the organization seem less relevant.
- Don’t highlight standard features. Avoid touting functionality other banks have had for a long time, like overdraft protection. This goes double if it’s a new technology for your institution.
- Avoid over-explaining. Resist the temptation to endlessly spell out the use of basic tools, like online banking or mobile deposits.
- Refuse to use dated material. Using photography of old, outdated devices tells the world you are behind the times, even if you aren’t.
- Shun internet wonder. Don’t mention how fast the internet is or that it’s available anywhere you have a connection (trust us, your users know this).
Don’t Spend Too Much Time Comparing Yourself
Your competitors – even the big dogs – aren’t always right. Just because they hop on the latest trend wagon doesn’t mean you have to, or even should. And if they go against the best practice basics listed above, they’ll need to learn from their mistakes. Don’t follow suit and get dragged down with them.
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All Posts in This Series
- Keep Compliance and Regulations Out of Users' Way
- Prioritize Digital Accessibility for Good Business and Happy Users
- Cover the Basics Before Worrying About the Competition
- Users Before SEO (Always)
- For Easier Maintenance, Focus on Consistency & Efficiency
- Make Third-Party Tools Work for Your Unique Needs
- Keep Your IT and Marketing Teams Talking and Collaborating
- Don't Let Internal Content Compete with External User Needs
- Choose the Right Content Management System with Research
- Acquire New Customers and Retain Old Ones with Excellent Usability