Don't Let Internal Content Compete with External User Needs3 min read
Stakeholders at financial institutions, as in most large organizations, have an innate self-focus. They are, as they should be, very much involved with their day-to-day internal concerns. Too often, though, this leads to pressure on the web and/or marketing team to put internal-focused content on the public-facing website. If this happens more than a couple of times (and it always does), your site will put too much focus on the bank itself and not enough focus on users.
Your Site Doesn’t Need to Reflect Your Business Organization
Save the internal organization and lingo for your employee newsletter. It doesn’t matter to your users how your back-office processes work. In fact, if you’re doing it right, it’s very likely your website organization will vary quite a bit from how your business organizes things.
For example, you may divide your customers into three categories: big business, small business, and personal. But your users might not care about that. Three options may make sense internally, but might be too many for site visitors. They may want to choose simply “Business” or “Personal.” The point is, find out what your users actually need and reflect THAT.
Make sure your focus is on how your users act and think, not how your organization acts or thinks. Here are some simple rules of thumb:
- Employ the novice test. If average, novice users don’t understand it, don’t say it or do it.
- Users are your north star. If it is not important to users, don’t make it prominent.
- It’s not about you. Just because it’s important to you and your organization doesn’t mean it is important to your online audience.
Test With Users
If you’re unsure something an internal stakeholder wants will work for your users, test it out. First, compare it to your users’ tasks. Does it have anything to do with those? If not, it doesn’t belong on the website. If you’re still in doubt, a user test (even if quick and informal) will make it clear one way or another. It’s very hard to argue with user data, even for the most stubborn internal stakeholder.
Live By Your Governance Document
You should have the standards and guidelines for your website formally documented. (If you don’t, put that high on your to-do list.) Use this document as a shield against pressure to put internally focused content on the public-facing site. It’s much easier to refer to a neutral document that says certain changes violate website policy than to say “no” just because.
Your Site Isn’t About You
An effective, lead-generating, customer-retaining, engagement-getting website is never about the organization running it. That kind of successful website is all about the people using it. It answers their needs and help them accomplish tasks without getting in their way. Period, end of story, put a fork in it, that’s all. As soon as you focus on your organization instead of your real prospective and current customers, you take a big step away from online success.
Next Post in This Series
Choose the Right Content Management System with Research
Part of the 10 Big Issues Banks Face Online and How to Deal With Them Whitepaper
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
Our team has been doing the real work of user experience since the earliest days of the commercial web. We’re out to make your digital products a whole lot better.
We help our financial services clients through each of these challenges on a regular basis. Although the specifics change, the first question we always ask is: How will it affect your users?