Here Is Our User Experience Data To Improve Your Banking App – Part I

Mobile Banking
The Usability of Mobile Banking

If you are looking to improve your banking app, you will find that everyone has opinions, but few people have data. Even the specific app design shops or user experience “experts” largely have design experience but have never applied any rigor to figuring out what banking customers want. Given this issue, we decided to take it upon ourselves to convene 415 customers and potential customers in order to get their opinion and usage data on what features and design they like the best. Even more interesting is that we found out that we were pretty poor at predicting what the user wanted. This article is the first of three parts, and steps through our findings with the objective of making all banking apps better.


Picture or No Picture?


One of the first questions we asked is what does your post-login header look like. This one was fairly predictable, that that we tested the variant on the right with the base case on the left. What we found is that the inclusion of a picture and last login increased both usage and satisfaction by approximately 21% (below).


Mobile Banking with or without user's picture


To put this idea into action, banks should consider skipping over the driver's license, they have on file as we found out that most customers did not want that picture, and allow them to upload their own, take a new picture via selfie/webcam/or at the branch, or connect with desired social media to import a picture. In the worst case, customers should be able to choose an avatar in place of their silhouetted, place-holding picture.

In testing, having a picture promoted trust and familiarity. Displaying their photo gave users a sense of ownership and made them more likely to log in to check their balances and use various features.


Picture On Your Login Screen?


We had a series of login screens developed, some with pictures, some without. We predicted that users would prefer an image and would be more apt to login. What we found is that it doesn’t matter. The 18-24 aged cohort had a slight preference for a picture resulting in a 15% lift, the 30-44-year-old group was neutral, the 45-60-year-old group slightly preferred no picture and the over 60 crowd liked not having a photo by 14%.


When survey participants were asked what did they not like about the photo, most responded that it didn’t reflect who they are and that they would prefer to choose a picture if possible. 


Mobile banking usability comparison for login screens


How To Login


We have all been frustrated by inputting in our ID and password only to be told that one is wrong, but the app doesn’t tell you which one. Many European, Asian and Latin American banks have evolved into asking for each one on a separate screen so you can make the customer focus on each one and let them know which one is incorrect. We decided to test both, and as predicted, all age groups preferred not having to click twice and have both the User ID and the Passcode on one screen provided you told the user which one didn’t work should their credentials fail.


Having both the ID and password on one screen produced 36% better usability and the older you were, the more you wanted it on one screen.


Mobile banking usability comparison for login screens


Login Screen Design Shape


This one surprised us the most out of all of our testing. We presented three different login screens, one with a photo, a simple version on white and a fancy, asymmetric version. We predicted that this asymmetric version would place last and be the least desirable, so we were surprised to find that this login screen was a favorite generating a 20% boost. Comparatively, the simple version only generated an 8% increase in usability versus the photo-enabled base case (which we thought would place first).


Oddly, the 30-44-year-old demographic cohort liked this version the best followed by the 18-29-year-old group. 


mobile banking login usability design



Where Do You Put “Remember Me” And “Forgot My Password”?


While we had several app designers tell us that it is preferred to you place the “Remember Me” checkbox and “Forgot My Password” link before the login screen we wanted to test this. The argument to do this goes to the fact that this is what a customer would look at sequentially. It turns out that a material number of customers preferred both boxes UNDER the login button as most of the time they would not use this functionality so did not want to worry about it.


Mobile banking usability comparison for login screens


In Part II, we will tackle the best way to display an alternative language in your mobile banking app, look at if an app with a white or dark background is more usable, and look at iconography. In Part III, of our final part, we will look at the best way to arrange and display navigation, the best way to present both positive and negative numbers and the best layout for a statements page.


As usual, if you have opinions or data on anything having to do with mobile app usability, we would love to hear from you as we are hip deep in a mobile app redesign of our own. This is the start of a two-year journey by us to attempt to have more than 70% of our customers engage with our bank via the mobile channel. Step one, the way we see it, is to make our app more inviting and usable before we start adding functionality.