As a communication agency specialized on user experience, we have spent a fair amount of time trying to automatize the processes related to the analysis of the usability of a website. Building a workflow in a field where subjectivity is predominant, it is one of the challenges that motivate the whole team involving all the levels of our method. Obtaining a real and credible database for the customers, to start from in order to create a successful strategy, it’s like building the foundations of a house.
How to analyze the User Experience
Thanks to our developers and designers team we are creating a tool (we will soon release a beta version) that could allow a preliminary automatized analysis of a webpage user experience, highlighting data and useful pieces of information on how to proceed to improve the accessibility and availability based on a certain score.
Why choosing Italian banks’ websites
E-commerce, information portals, brochure websites, blogs, communities and web-apps have different aims and needs and they ask their users actions completely different, for this, it can be really complex to compare them.
On a positive note, when consolidated, this analysis method can be applied to different sectors and market niches, becoming scalable.
We started our research in the banking sector: one of our colleagues, looking for information in order to open a new bank account, had noticed (professional bias) that in the home-pages of the main Italian banks’ websites the main conditions of use were often missing, starting from the SSL certificate that guarantees the privacy of the information exchanged between the user and the website itself. Moreover, the first impression is given by a bank more or less renowned was often not convincing when looking at the credibility and the appealing of the proposed service.
Due to this early considerations, our choice of drawn up a ranking list.
Assessment criteria – usability and user experience
During our evaluation we took into account 8 guidelines: we assigned a -1 mark (negative) if the website didn’t respect the standard analyzed, a 0 mark (neutral) if the standard analyzed was respected but not optimized, a +1 mark (positive) when the analyzed standard was both respected and used at its best.
1) SSL certification:
Google is putting pressure on websites so that they can achieve at least an SSL standard certification; in a forthcoming update, it is going to flag as “not safe” all the websites that do not own one.
There are 3 different SSL certification typologies:
• SSL DV certification (Domain Validated) – the basic one
• SSL OV certification (Organization Validated)
• SSL EV certification (Extended Validated) – the green band one
2) Contents “freshness”
When was the most recent news written? How often does the company involve and update its customers on its activities? Several studies prove that showing the date of an article improves the chances that a customer will be interested in reading and assimilate the concepts exposed.
3) Product endorsement
Are personal experiences and opinions being described? Product endorsement, in digital marketing; many factors suggest how and when to use people and testimonial to influence customers choices in the most appropriate way. For example, the position of an image in relation to the text, the implements of logos to validate our experience, reviews to our products and services and so on. Using this options is a wise choice.
4) Domain length
A good name is easy to remember. The same can be said for a domain, whose ideal length is 8 characters.
5) Headquarters address
Is there an address? Is the location of the branches being given? Providing this kind of information reassures the customer that you are not just a virtual reality “on the internet” but you are also actually present in real life, with a possibility to check on you and to get in contact with you. Improving the tangibility of an organization reassures the potential customers and allow a first contact to be made.
6) Phone number
Do you provide a phone number? Is it easy to find? We have often ended up finding a contact number after a close research, while it should be visible immediately, with no more than two clicks.
7) Employing pictures depicting real people
Can picture depicting real people be found on the home-page? Employing pictures of real customers is a “best practice” as it reassures your target to a subconscious level.
8) Awards and certifications
Validation. Validation. Validation. Offers and costs being equals, the customer will choose the service with the best reviews, experiences (direct or indirect), awards and certifications that represent the know-how of the brand and of the people who compose it.
The global user experience is defined by a series of factors among which usability is an integral part. For this, sorting a single bug won’t produce great benefits while having a wider vision of the aspects in which the users are engaged during their browsing experience and trying to optimize them at their best will result in a credible brand that customers can trust and that they will use again in future.
It is surprising that in a sector such as the banking system, where safety is a key factor for customers trying to choose whom to entrust the management of their savings, there are still businesses that do not have an SSL certification or that are not updated on the last development standard. There are start-ups that are tackling the market, such as Revolut or Hype, lowering the costs and granting the best user experience thanks to a research on both graphic design and apps. When will the great players of the financial sector start offering new and innovative solutions?
Which bank do you use? Please let us know your experience in this sector and if you have any questions or anything to report feel free to write it in the comments.