Over the past six months Mapa researchers have noticed renovation works taking place on several public websites of some of the main financial providers in the UK.
In February 2012, First Direct launched their new public site focusing on customer communications, its communities and social networks. NatWest and HSBC also gave their websites a fresh lick of paint with drop down top level navigations. This, in order to make it easier for customers to steer their way around the site and to quickly find what they are looking for. It is clear that both the providers have focused on interaction design when looking at some of the other newly added tools such as NatWest's budgeting tool and the HSBC quiz, the ‘financial quotient’.
The biggest transformations however, were made by the AA and the Post Office. Both websites were redesigned introducing an entirely new look and feel. Each removed their left hand side navigations, replacing them with simple sub level menus. It has to be said that the website designs look fairly similar. This is partly due to the fact that neither created a separate site for their financial products, instead they kept them as part of their main offerings.
Outside of the more extensive website renovations, several UK financial providers made some less obvious alterations. Over the last couple of months Nationwide have made a series of gradual changes to their public, product and applications pages, for example adding a new ISAs section. Similarly, Barclays appear to be continuously redesigning their product pages, particularly the landing page of their savings section which has been updated at least three times over the past 9 months. It seems as though they are constantly testing new tools and different ways to present product features. Whilst on the topic, ING direct recently added a new ‘business’ section putting emphasis on business customer acquisition.
Another impressive transformation was made very recently by Sainsbury’s Bank. They launched a new responsive public site which is now compatible with all screen sizes from phone to desktop. As with the AA and Post Office, Sainsbury’s focused their attention on enhancing user experience and simplifying website navigation. However, they created a separate site for their financial products and replaced their global top level navigation with bank specific products tabs. They also added new comparison tools for savings and credit cards to help customers find the right product. Lastly they introduced an ‘I want to’ section which links to the most popular pages based on customer behaviour.
Last but not least, Lloyds TSB recently flagged up some proposed public site changes to improve the customer journey. Included is more prominent signposting of important content and a news ticker scrolling through the site with latest news and important information.
Whether they are radical renovations or less conspicuous changes, websites are being updated to create a better online experience, mostly with positive results.