Digital Banking: How to Make Mobile-First a Reality – Part One

Mobile UI Drawing

Editor's note: Financial institutions should have a mobile-first approach to optimize their digital engagement with customers.

If you are evaluating options for upgrading your online and mobile banking offering, seek first a digital banking platform that can demonstrate a quality, low friction (nothing is frictionless as long as you have to touch a device to do it) customer experience. As can be seen in 2018’s top retail banking trend report published by The Financial Brand, many banks and credit unions already recognize the importance of this mission. 

Still, recognizing the need and determining how to make it a reality are distinctly different. Often choices have to be made about where the digital transformation process will start. Because the mobile channel is the leading touchpoint for customers, a number of institutions are adopting a “mobile first” approach to these projects. 

Focus on the UI…

The user interface (look and feel of a financial institution’s mobile banking offering) is critical to customer and member satisfaction. Consumers today simply won’t tolerate a clunky design that complicates their attempts to achieve what they want, which is why FIs must ensure their mobile apps are modern and attractive as well as simple to use. There are some key areas to focus on to ensure an institution’s mobile interface meets these requirements.

To promote optimal usability, mobile banking menu options should be displayed in such a way that allows customers and members to access information and relevant actions in the most intuitive way possible. A well-organized, logical menu prevents visually unappealing clutter on the screen and boosts speed and convenience during customer engagement.

The UI design must take into account the different devices used by consumers. For example, there is more real estate on a tablet than a smartphone, so it makes sense to display a wider range of choices and options for customers and members from the onset on a tablet. The same number of options would clutter a smartphone screen, potentially confusing the customer or member.

A consistent customer or member experience does not mean the UI is the same on a smartphone, tablet, wearable, etc.  Consistency has to do with what types of actions an end user performs on each device type and what represents a low friction experience on a particular screen size, which brings us to the user experience (UX).

Check back next week for Part Two of this series to find out more about what role the user experience (UX) plays in a mobile-first strategy, and how banks and credit unions can leverage data to boost overall customer and member engagement.