I am a longtime customer of Sovereign Bank and use their online banking on a regular basis. Like most banking sites, Sovereign’s public website is confusing, hard to use, and too content heavy. While I didn’t have the time to redesign everything, I took it upon myself to at least improve their homepage (hey, this is what designers do for fun!).
I did a little research and found the top reasons people visit a bank’s website are to:
- log in to their online banking
- find an ATM or bank location
- find information or have questions answered
On a quick glance, can you find where you would go for those three activities on sovereign’s site?
Its not easy.
That’s the major UX problem. Yeah, it’s not that pretty to look at, but it’s also hard to use. The fonts are way too small, there are too many distracting ads/promotions (that no one clicks on), and there are too many—count them, three—navigations on the homepage. How is anyone supposed to find what they need?
Oh, and PS, it uses Flash that doesn’t load in all browers.
Here is my crack at solving those UX issues:
Can you find where to log in, ask a question, and find an ATM or location in the redesign? What happened to all the annoying ads and flash banners? Where did all the tiny text and three separate navigations go?
The redesign focuses on giving the user what they want and removing all the extra stuff. Using a full-scale image brings some life and personality to the homepage and helps the user know that real people use Sovereign. One main navigation is easy to read and a secondary navigation above that is clear, yet doesn’t distract or confuse the user.
A clear login/register button lets return users go right to their online banking, while bringing the customer support (questions/”how may we help you?) front and center allows the user with questions get to answers quickly.
Finally, “Find a location or ATM” is prominent at the bottom of the page. When a user clicks on it, the bar comes up, and they can find a location right there. So easy.
Though its far from perfect, the redesign of Sovereign’s homepage improved its user experience ten fold. Only a few hours were invested in this little experiment and it goes to show that a good user experience doesn’t always have to take a lot of time to create. No company, large or small, now has an excuse for a poor user experience.