What characteristics distinguish a superb digital banking and finance design?
In a profession as particular as finance, the ability to create interface components accounts for just a modest portion of essential knowledge! Truly amazing financial solutions are built on excellent usability that is in harmony with unique consumer demands inside a well-developed digital environment.
The world is changing quickly, and so is the financial business. Customer expectations are rising, as is the need to meet them. In this post, we will show how financial design may shape the future of banking products.
1. Tailoring UI/UX
For the past 20 years, there has been a deep-seated conviction that design plays a minimal part in the creation of digital financial products. Generally, design has been considered as nice-to-have packaging for marketing purposes, with the major focus generally placed on the functioning and characteristics of the items.
This is why it's common practice to employ standardized design templates (also known as "bootstrap" design) to speed up and simplify the product development process. Unfortunately, this also explains why many financial services appear to be so similar, plain, dull, and unfriendly to users.
The rise of Fintechs altered the notion of design a decade ago. They dared to be unique by harnessing the potential of design to attract customers.
Today, we can see a far bigger paradigm change. New entrants into the financial business intentionally focus on unique and inventive design that conveys and displays their brand identity.
The majority of clients are bored with the dull and convoluted financial designs that are characteristic of traditional financial institutions.
Tailor-made design is a novel concept that offers people something unique and exciting. This ushers in a new era of tailor-made design as a trend that boosts financial firms' market advantage.
A great example of innovative fintech product design is Kema.
This type of financial UX design transforms "nice to have" into "must have" and has the potential to dramatically change the behavior of the world's most powerful customer demographic.
This custom-made design was tested before its official release, and those who tasted it were ecstatic. The platform stands out from the crowd since it tries to tackle a wide range of problems that users face on a regular basis. It displays that it cares about its clients' money and does everything it can to help them manage it.
The benefit of tailor-made design is increasingly being employed in all types of financial services, since it strengthens the emotional connection between businesses and their clients.
Financial institutions (FIs) who dare to defy conventions and invest in bold, modern designs that stand out know that it will pay off in greater client loyalty and engagement.
2. Designing Multi Functional Digital Financial Products
The industry's shift to a mobile-first approach resulted in the birth of various Fintechs, the key benefit of which was their single-functional focus. They offered to tackle a specific user problem in a very straightforward and comprehensible manner. In comparison to the multipurpose yet complicated and user-unfriendly banking services, this was like a breath of fresh air for the clients. Fintech solutions immediately stood out due to their excellent user experience wrapped in a contemporary and uplifting UI design.
Currently, open banking is extending the spectrum of options for connecting other services, allowing for more functionality in any financial product.
Customers thought the Fintech mono-functionality design approach was straightforward, but as expectations rose, so did the need to display more services in the same way. How do you provide over 100 features in a way that is both intuitive and enjoyable to the user?
Digital financial solutions are growing more complicated, delivering better functionality to clients, but designing them in such a manner that they are delightful to use is not an easy feat. This is when tight collaboration between UX architects and professional UI designers comes into play.
The primary design challenge is to deliver a frictionless experience by developing an intuitive product architecture and logical, user-friendly interface layout.
Digital solutions are always changing. More and more well-thought-out multipurpose services that give exceptional usability and can overcome the UX of mono-functional mobile applications are developing.
This helps to explain why so many financial institutions are attempting to develop their own neobank or super app. Though it opens up a lot of options for consumers, it's critical to match it with the overall strategy of the financial firm as well as its capacity to create and execute it.
There must be a knowledge of how to strike a balance between user demands and the capacity to meet them in an easy and user-friendly manner. In our experience, financial companies have aimed to incorporate a slew of "contemporary" functionalities in their products because they feel it would set the solution apart from the competition, but this may really have the opposite impact, leading to customer dissatisfaction due to irritating design. In such circumstances, during the UX research phase, these FIs should discover that their clients do not want the majority of these current functions but are looking for additional characteristics that are vital to this brand's distinct demographic. As a consequence, immensely successful financial solutions that bring added value to clients are built based on the unique demands of the brand's audience.
A super app strategy based on a clear vision of the financial product and the role of UX in it paves the way for limitless options for growing the future potential of both the product and the financial brand.
3. Gamification-Driven Design
Many people who are not involved in the banking business would be surprised to see how most banks back-office systems look. Working with those is similar to coding in that staff must work with many software applications at the same time, reading instructions and manually inputting codes in order to access the desired feature.
It takes a few months to learn how to run such a device. Even after years of using it, staff are still perplexed and maintain a notebook with the correct number and letter combinations at their sides.
These solutions are, in reality, quite complicated and data-driven, since there are massive lists of various types of data on the clients.
Many banks are attempting to decrease back-office expenses, frequently without considering the impact on the client experience. This creates a paradox: banks are spending heavily in digital transformation in order to improve user experience, but decreasing expenses in the core banking system has a substantial negative impact on customer service. Negative bank staff experiences have an impact on service quality and end-customer satisfaction. Back-office technology improvements might result in a significant boost in service quality and speed, resulting in happier, more pleased clients.
Today, as the user-centered design approach becomes increasingly prevalent in the creation of financial goods, it may be used not only for external banking products but also for internal solutions.
To achieve customer-centricity at all levels of the financial institution, both staff and client demands must be considered. We provide them the incentive and resources to create a better experience for the bank's clients by building a better design.
Designing core banking systems with gamification is one method to drastically enhance staff engagement and productivity. This type of design approach allows for the modernization of the complete work process.
In this situation, the FI considers staff to be internal users, providing them with the greatest possible experience so that they may provide the finest service to the bank's clients. This exhibits the development of the B2B and B2C design approaches.
It's a long-held misconception that gamification and banking have nothing in common. In fact, they have the potential to greatly boost staff productivity and motivation, resulting in superior overall performance.
4. Total Experience Design
Only five years ago, mobile applications were viewed as supplementary, alternative banking channels; today, they handle the vast majority of consumer demands. Given this, it's remarkable that mobile channels frequently have extremely limited functionality and provide a terrible user experience. Customers, for example, are obliged to utilize the desktop solution to choose transactions using filters. Why isn't it in every bank app, despite the fact that equivalent functionality is offered every day while purchasing online?
Even more shocking is that many financial services are still exclusively offered at branches. The epidemic brought to light a terrible reality: the banking industry is unprepared to accept the digital era.
People should not be required to risk their health in order to visit a banking branch. What makes this scenario even more regrettable is that all of the essential technology to avoid such situations are now accessible to banks; nevertheless, for some reason, they are not being used to ensure entirely remote service.
To dramatically enhance the financial brand's customer experience, FIs can do a complete design audit of the mobile app to ensure distant customers have access to the full range of services and features, and if not, devise a plan to secure it in the near future.
Successful Fintechs do not look for excuses, but rather utilize a design approach to provide clients with a best-in-class remote experience.
5. Digital Leadership Through Innovation
More and more conventional banks are daring to break free from their past and start on a comprehensive digital transformation path.
Inspired by Fintechs, traditional financial institutions use the power of UX design to develop solutions that delight their clients and encourage them to remain loyal in the long run.
To do this, they collaborate with external and internal UX and UI designers who assist in integrating the design approach at all levels of the corporation and the financial organization's culture. The design-focused teams ensure a successful, user-centered digital transition that results in consumer loyalty. As a result, these bold financial institutions have emerged as formidable competitors to the market's Fintech startups.
6. Eliminate Silos and Fragmentation
Depending on the digital medium, items offered by a same financial institution may differ graphically. This type of fragmented approach is frequently created by the fact that the products were built over time by separate teams of developers and designers using different vendor solutions. As a result, the consumer experience is highly fragmented, with differences in usability, information architecture, and the interface itself.
It may not affect the financial institution on the inside, but it is likely to raise client aggravation and digital friction, leading to a move to another financial institution. Customers expect the brand experience to be a linked, comprehensive flow rather than discrete bits. Fragmentation degrades the consumer experience by producing frustration and confusion.
The fundamental issue is from a lack of a unified vision that encompasses all of the financial institution's goods and services. This is frequently related to the fact that digital channels are viewed as an alternate or additional mode of service delivery. This was true many years ago, but it is no longer the case. According to statistics, digital has become the primary distribution medium in recent years, and its popularity is growing.
Customers want all channels to be as professionally designed, displaying the same visual brand language and following the same usability patterns. It should make no difference which platform clients utilize. To achieve uniformity across all channels, they must all be holistically integrated.
7. Establish Efficient Design Systems
To build a well-functioning digital ecosystem, it's critical to start with a solid design system. Due to the complexity of financial services, the design system is extremely critical in ensuring quick and consistent digitization.
In certain circumstances, design files can be equated to puzzle pieces. It may be quite untidy and stressful to construct the "larger image" if they are not sorted out and ordered.
When it comes to large financial digital services that include thousands of screens built by hundreds of specialists dispersed across many countries, a well-thought-out strategy is required.
How do you keep the design consistent and usable when working on a project with thousands of jigsaw pieces that need to fit in the correct place and at the right time?
Technology is expanding, financial market rivalry is increasing, and consumer expectations are changing so quickly that digital goods must be upgraded on a regular basis to satisfy customer wants and expectations. Because digital financial services are more sophisticated than many other goods, such a constant demand for revisions and upgrades might become a mission unachievable. As a result, design systems come to the rescue, assisting in the organization of all UX/UI standards, assets, and the overarching vision of product development, ensuring that all teams engaged are always on the same page.
A comprehensive UX/UI design framework maintains uniformity throughout the platform ecosystem, resulting in a timely and effective handover of UX and UI deliverables to developers, allowing them to begin working on it right away. It also guarantees that everyone involved in the project is on the same page and can simply expand the product in their area of responsibility.
8. Emotional UI/UX Design Systems
People are accustomed to viewing banking and finance as formal, sophisticated, and frequently drab and uninteresting. It's no surprise, given that financial items frequently convey such a mood. However, since we live in a fast-paced world filled with all types of emotional messages on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, the disparity between finance and the rest of the world is even more pronounced.
The media's role has shifted. Previously, the goal was to appease marketers, but now it's all about offering value to individuals. Technology, in the digital paradigm, brings businesses closer to their customers through open, honest, and individualized communication.
Why should it be any different in the world of finance? This expertise is being used to the advantage of the next generation of financial services.
It appears that the banking business is frequently scared of emotions, as if doing so would diminish their importance. In reality, the reverse is true. Emotions are the language that individuals understand and use to make them feel heard, understood, and cared for. According to statistics, gaining empathy and care from companies is now more vital than ever.
Emotions enable consumers to make rapid and straightforward judgments. We employ intellect to analyze and evaluate our surroundings, but emotions drive decision making.
It's crucial to remember that these financial products are utilized by humans, not machines, thus the solutions should elicit good feelings in order to establish a link. This may be accomplished in a variety of ways, frequently through minor elements and subtleties that some designers disregard. Color palettes, iconography, and dynamic and eye-catching images and interfaces are some examples.
Visual effects and microinteractions elicit more emotional responses from users than static items and simple information.
Many financial institutions are concerned that utilizing casual, emotive designs may make them appear frivolous in the eyes of their consumers. There is a basis for this since some designers may lack comprehension of the whole functioning of the product and the brand's identity, resulting in a design that does not correlate with the financial brand. However, if the product design is founded on company objectives and customer expectations, it may become a powerful and distinctive asset of brand identification, creating a significant market advantage over financial solutions that lack soul.
9. Mobile-First Designs To AR/VR Capable Designs
There's no denying that smartphone applications rule the market. It's difficult to predict when this situation will change and what top technology will replace the mobile channel. However, it has become abundantly evident that the emphasis should be placed on VR/AR technology.
Given the advancement of this technology and the possibilities it opens up for consumers, it is certain that it will arrive on the scene, if not totally replacing mobile applications, then as a popular side channel.
Financial firms must closely monitor the development of future "must-have" items in order to be ready when they hit the general market and if not addressed in a timely manner, this development has the potential to become a severe industry problem.
VR/AR necessitates a distinct design approach. First, it highlights the need of keeping things simple. This is because, unlike the smartphone experience, VR/AR design is not constrained by screen size, and it may be tempting to present as much information as possible at once. However, the user may experience cognitive overload and irritation as a result of this.
The second criterion is consistency, which means that a correctly designed VR design should limit the uncomfortable effect of a mismatch induced by the discrepancy between the tracked movement of the eyes in virtual reality and the feeling we get from actual reality through our other senses.
Depth is the third principle. The transfer of user interfaces from two-dimensional (2D) to three-dimensional (3D) interactions is one of the most critical issues in VR/AR banking design. This necessitates a thorough adaption of UX/UI design ideas and approaches to accommodate the depth of space.
Through digital technology, a banking experience will be incorporated in the actual world. It will most likely take many years for the technology to be fully developed; nevertheless, if completed and widely available, we may anticipate the industry to be shaken in the same way as touchscreen devices were decades ago.
The idea that there are still years remaining is incorrect, since the transition to AR/VR must begin immediately. To prepare, FIs must begin evaluating their goods through the lens of the future, producing ideas and design concepts for how they will improve the consumer experience in the near future.
10. Experiential Branding
Previously, financial businesses' design teams were regarded as the makers of packaging and advertising materials. Their labor generally began after the product had been made and a demand to market it had arisen. Modern design is the polar opposite of that.
Design is a method that generates an experience based on user expectations and needs in the environment we live in. Design becomes a vital component of the business operations since this experience is directly reliant on products and customer service. We may use a design approach at all levels of a financial institution.
If we take a closer look, we can see how, as Apple did, the design may become the company's ideology, a cornerstone of the company's DNA. Their design philosophy embodies the ideals of their worldview and identifies genuine methods to communicate this ideology via their products, advertisements, and customer relationships. This explains why Apple's goods have had such a worldwide influence, earning it the distinction of becoming the world's first trillion-dollar corporation.
Challenger businesses have shown that they can scale design to the level of their corporate philosophy. The essence of the financial business is defined through design in this scenario.
Design is inextricably linked to the firm and it cannot survive without it. This is when the design has the most impact, defining the commercial advantage through a one-of-a-kind strategy and execution.
A product or service becomes essentially an expression of the company's world view under such a business philosophy. This dramatically improves the value that the client receives while also requiring the corporation to take on much more responsibility. Not every entrepreneur is willing to take such a risk since design is so closely linked to a company's brand in this scenario.
Impactful Design Is Critical To Building A Functional Digital Future
For a long time, design was thought to be about the surface, but it is actually about the depth. At the speed of light, the world is changing. New technology is continually being developed, opportunities are being expanded, and communication is becoming more open, daring, and emotional. When such opportunities arise, it comes with a tremendous deal of responsibility and pressure to take advantage of them.
We believe that this post will serve as a helpful resource for any CEO, product owner, UX architect, UI designer, or anyone else who is motivated to use the power of financial design to have a long-term good effect.
Design, rather than money, becomes the deciding element for success in the digital age.