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Customer Experience and Design

Six Quick Tips to Improve the User Experience for Mobile Banking

My name is Abbey Smalley, and I’m a Lead User Experience and Visual Designer for Perficient’s XD team. I have had the opportunity to work with financial institutions on various projects. In my work, I find similar user experience needs often rise to the top.

Whether you’ve decided it’s time to create a mobile experience or are looking to improve the one you already have for mobile banking, remember these six quick tips to help ensure you are delivering the most useful experience for your users.

1)   Desktop Computer Transactions Should Also be Accessible on the Mobile Platform: While it’s true that some of your users might be looking to view information on their accounts, it’s also important to focus on the fact that your users are most likely accessing the app on their mobile device to perform a task “on the go”. Consider the top 5 tasks a user might have when they make contact with you over the phone, on their computer, or in person at a brick and mortar location. For example, a user going to their bank may want to deposit and transfer funds. The value of your mobile experience comes from allowing your user access to information and task completion “anywhere, anytime” when they aren’t in the convenience of their own home or near their local branch. Note, that even though your user expects to be able to perform tasks on their phone as they would on their computer, the experience and flow of the tasks could (and most likely should) alter to accommodate the smaller screen and the phone’s native functionality whenever possible.

Example of Mobile Bank Transfer

Mobile Banking Transfer example from ING Direct

2)   Speed of Use: The operating speed and load times are crucial for keeping your users attention. If load time exceeds a few seconds between transitions, users will consider the app or mobile website to not be “user friendly” and it will no longer be viewed as a convenient, timesaving tool. When building out your bank’s mobile experience, remember to test it with real user data so you can see what operating speeds will really be like with more robust/complex data being loaded in. Testing speed with lighter/dummy data does not always produce realistic results.

3)   Simplicity in Design = User’s Will Actually Use It: The mobile experience for payments and banking should be simply outlined and task oriented. Allow your users to perform their basic banking needs with very few steps, and little clutter to distract them from the task at hand. It’s great to dream big and think about the wide variety of functionality and offers you could serve to your users. But the reality is, if so much content gets added that your users have to start searching around for their basic needs to be met, they most likely won’t be coming back. Every new feature or content element you would like to add should be framed into the question of “Will new item W take away from or distract from our main tasks of X, Y and Z?” If so, the new item should not make the cut.

Secure login example

Secure Login Example from

Sense of Security: Users are looking for a feeling of safety and confidence when it comes to their private financial affairs. Giving your user assurance with a secure login process makes them feel safe in knowing that if something should happen with their mobile device, their sensitive financial accounts and information are safe and sound. Make sure your messaging is clear around this matter. Sign the user out after a certain amount of time of inactivity and require the user to login every time the app or mobile webpage is re-launched.

5)   Accuracy and Timely Updates: This element refers to a user’s expectation that the content is available to them on a mobile device should in fact be as up-to-date as the account information on the desktop and tablet experience.  Having account information flow seamlessly between these three mediums allows the user to have confidence that no matter which type of device they chose to “view” or “perform financial tasks” on, their transactions will be captured and executed with the same accuracy that they would expect with a brick and mortar bank branch.

6)   Take Advantage of the Functionality a Mobile Device Has to Offer: Mobile devices offer two features that should be leveraged in your mobile experience. Camera functionality and the ability to track the user’s location. The camera function can be used to allow your user to add important documents or Remote Deposit Capture. Being able to note your user’s location can help them find their nearest bank location by just having the location ability turned on in their mobile device. Also, consider if the possibility of sending location-based offers is right for you and your banking customers. Successful strategies should leverage location-based capabilities to add value to the mobile banking experience, offer new services, and create new revenue sources for the bank.

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Abbey Smalley

With 10 years of interactive industry experience under her belt, Abbey Smalley serves as a Solution Architect within Perficient XD’s Strategy & Ideation Practice. Client industry list includes Financial, Retail, Healthcare, Fitness, and Restaurants. Prior to working for Perficient XD, Abbey served as the Online Design and Usability lead for 3M’s global mobile design strategy. Abbey is passionate about spreading the message of a User-Centered Customer Experience and has spoken Internationally at several industry conferences. She is a contributor to Perficient’s Spark blog and a part of the leadership committee for the Minneapolis Interaction Design Association (IxDA). Abbey’s other interests include creative strategy, writing, jewelry making, and rather cute cats.

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