UX design and human psychology
It’s no secret that banks have had their share of PR blunders over the years, but so have companies like Apple, Amazon, and Uber. So what gives? Why do consumers seem to forgive and stick with tech companies and punish legacy institutions like banks and credit unions? It all comes back to the intersection of perception and experience.
Where banks and credit unions have traditionally relied on conventional marketing methods to spread their message, mobile app and site-driven tech companies have used intuitive, delightful experiences to show consumers their value rather than tell them, building loyalty and boosting perception through thoughtful UX design. More and more, consumers are choosing these alternatives over their bank’s equivalent product because of the perceived simplicity.
It all comes back to some basic psychology and the triune brain theory, where 80 percent of our brain activity comes from the “lizard brain” (fight-or-flight, feeding) and the “mammal brain” (emotions, habits, motivational systems), with the remaining 20 percent coming from the neocortex (knowledge, abstract reasoning, math, analysis, etc.). Digital experiences that cater to our mammal brain are perceived as more intuitive and enjoyable, where experiences catering to the neocortex are perceived as frustrating, even anxiety-inducing. Even though finances are technical and clinical, it can pay to keep things simple and human-friendly.
UX design principles for online banking: web vs. mobile
Whether on a smartphone screen or a full-size monitor, the ideal digital banking experience can be described in three words: quick, seamless, and personalized. With that in mind, the context and mindset behind app and website use can be very different. Let’s break it down.
Common reasons for visiting a bank’s website include:
- Applying for loans
- Updating user information
- Researching rates and products
- Opening new accounts
Common reasons for visiting a bank’s app include:
- Depositing checks
- Checking account balances
- Transferring money
- Locating branches or ATMs
Generally, websites tend to favor research and more complex tasks, while apps are used for more immediate needs. Treating your app like your website and your website like your app is a mistake: emphasizing too many different points of functionality on your mobile app can create a cluttered experience, while emphasizing minimalism on your website can bury some highly specific needs your users may have.