UX Research: An unconditional need for the banking sector!

Online banking User experience

Why do banks need to focus on user experience?

Covid 19 has changed the world a  lot and it has also changed the way people bank! 

After covid 19 more and more people have moved toward self service and online banking as this saves them a lot of time and effort. Banks also want to promote the self service habit as this saves them money on labor and they save $3 per transaction as an operation cost

If people are getting habitual to online banking then it means that banks will have to work on the user experience to retain the customers. The user experience can be improved by getting feedback and user research can help us in getting user feedback.  Here are some reasons why banks need to focus on user research now more than ever. 

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Switching cost: In physical banking the effort of switching the bank was very high as customers were needed to go to the bank and interact with a person, fill up a few forms etc. but now since everything is digital, customers can switch their bank in just a few swipes and clicks. Therefore banks need to make sure that they provide hassle free user experience to their customers so that they do not jump the ships. 

Acquisition Cost: With the rising customers and start up culture the cost of acquiring a customer and the cost of retaining the customer has gone up. Most benchmarks say that the average customer acquisition cost (CAC) for the banking sector is above $300, a figure which has been rising due to the negative effects of Covid-19 and saturation of digital channels.Customers have too many options to choose from and therefore banks have to spend more money to acquire and retain a customer.

Lack of emotion and personal touch: Customers while banking online are only focused on the banking experience as there is no emotion or personal touch involved, therefore it is mandatory for the banks to add some personal touch through customization based on their interactions with the product. For eg. If person X sends money to person Y on the 2nd of every month, then you can offer to set a reminder or offer him a one step transfer process for that transaction.  and make the customers feel a little more comfortable and important in order to retain them.

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Here’s how banks can create a user experience that can retain customers and create more business.

Create an easy to understand System: The banking app design should be interconnected and should be easy to navigate for customers. The app/website should have a flow and structure, so that it becomes easy for customers to understand where they should click to perform a certain task. There should be a step- by-step layout for every action a customer can do while using the product. This can be achieved with a well planned Information architecture and a design built around the architecture.

Listen to Feedback: First and foremost this for retaining more customers is to create a product that fulfills your customer’s needs and that can be done by gathering customer feedback through user research and converting them into actionable insights. Feedback can be collected through surveys, unmoderated remote research, live interviews etc. The research method can be aligned with the objectives and hence quality feedback can be gathered with the help of right audience. 

Add emotion to the product: Our unconscious mind drives most of our purchase decisions!

Although everyone believes that finance is all about rationality, but good product design is about how it makes the customer feel. Therefore adding emotions like excitement through gamification, Rewards and Recognition for emotional connect with customers becomes critical for customer retention as it will help customers in developing a relationship with the product. There can be a lot of ways in which a company can add emotions to the product eg: By giving it a name and character, by gamification of the product, by adding personalized rewards systems etc.

Make Simpler Products:  Over complicated designs is what customers hate. Use of too many design elements, shapes, menus can ruin a customer’s experience. The app should look simple and should be easy to navigate. Eg. TMRW app from UOB has a very simplified information architecture that is very easy to navigate. All the interface elements may be located according to their priority for the user. It’s necessary to consider their role in the user tasks execution. So, you can determine their priority on every screen.

Now we know the problems, the solution but how a ux designer, designing an online banking product can attain these solutions. Here’s how:

1. Create user personas: Before creating a design it is important to know for whom we are creating this product and understand their needs and habits. Creating user personas means understanding the demographics of the audience and segmenting them according to their needs so that the product can be designed in a customer centric way that attracts the target audience. 

2. Moderated Research: User interviews are a great way to gain behavioral and qualitative insights about the audience. By having live interviews, observing behavior and tone of the participants, you can ask open ended questions that would reveal the insights that Unmoderated testing can’t. This technique can be used in the early stages of the product development so as to foresee the customer's perception of the upcoming product and whether the product will be used in the way designer thought or not. 

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3. Card Sorting and Tree Testing: Card Sorting and Tree Testing are very important to set the right architecture. Card Sorting is a UX research method in which you write the names of the items on index cards, shuffle the deck and ask users to arrange them into piles. Tree testing is a research method for assessing findability within the website or app. In tree testing, testers work with an existing set of categories and highlight where they believe an item is most likely to be located. This is also known as reverse card sorting. In fact, tree testing is a good way to validate the results from your card sorting exercises.

4. Remote Usability Testing: This technique can be used to test an existing product or a design prototype. These are task based tests where the user completes certain tasks with or without success criteria (e.g. If you need a person to navigate to a certain page from the home page then the success criteria can be the link of the page you want them to land on) and researchers can observe them completing the task with the help of screen and audio recording and can also generate quantitative results with task completion time and task success rates. This will help them in analyzing whether the app is built as per customer’s needs and remove the hindrances that customers face and offer a cleaner and smoother experience. 


Banking industry is highly dependent on delivering a good user experience for their self service customers to retain them and UX Research can help the banks in creating an emotional, practical and simple product that is fun to use and addictive. There are multiple research techniques that can be used in different stages of the product development to create a customer centric product. There are certain tools that can make this research process simpler. Check out UXArmy, which is a cloud based user research platform that helps you run unmoderated tests, moderated research, card sorting, tree testing and also supports you in participant recruitment. 

About Author

Sannat Nagrani UXArmy

Sannat Nagrani

Marketing and Research Manager


Sannat is a Marketing enthusiast with keen interest in digital product marketing and research. He has worked with various organisations to build successful marketable products. He loves to travel and explore different cultures. 


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