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How UX/UI Can Give Your Financial Institution a Competitive Edge

Discover how your bank or credit union can use UX/UI design to transform your digital banking solution and, ultimately, your customers’ experiences.

From Google and Apple Pay to Venmo, PayPal, and Chime, the banking app space has never been so saturated with new technologies and competitors. Amidst the fierce competition between banks, credit unions, and tech giants, a new trend is emerging. Customers are choosing third-party apps over their bank’s mobile services for their financial needs. The question is: why? 

The simple answer might have a lot to do with your application’s UX/UI design. UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) make digital apps, including those from your bank or credit union, look and function well. And they’re often why consumers like—or, in many cases, dislike—an app.

But UX/UI doesn’t just dictate an app’s aesthetics and operations; it’s also a vital influencer on user preference. By responding to the user’s behavior, anticipating needs, and providing intuitive navigation, a well-designed UX/UI boosts engagement, fosters trust, and ultimately paves the way for traction in the crowded financial app space.

According to Mike West, Lumin’s director of user experience, a good app should start and end with the consumer. “Understanding your unique users’ needs is the most important step to accomplishing any institution’s strategic growth goals,” said Mike. “Stellar UX doesn’t force your goals or preferences on users—instead, it creates opportunities on their terms and without disruption.”

So, start here if your bank or credit union is ready to decode UX/UI design and gain a competitive edge in this ever-evolving digital battlefield.

UX vs. UI: What’s the difference?

While people often use these two phrases interchangeably, they play distinct roles in shaping digital experiences.

  • UX (User Experience) focuses on the user’s overall experience while interacting with a digital product. It encompasses usability, accessibility, user satisfaction, and the logical flow of tasks. A good UX design is seamless, user-centered, and adapts to the user’s needs.
  • UI (User Interface) refers to the visual elements and aesthetic design of the application surface, such as colors, fonts, buttons, and layouts. An effective UI design is visually appealing, intuitive, and consistent across platforms.

Good UX/UI design goes beyond just aesthetic appeal. It plays a strategic role in creating digital apps that are user-friendly, intuitive, and engaging, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. When apps are easy to navigate, offer personalized experiences, and ensure smooth transactions, it drastically improves the overall customer experience—making users more likely to return.

But, when it comes to UX/UI design, where should you start?

Start—and end—with the customer.

While you may think you know what your end users need, you might not have the whole picture. You may think your digital wallet users just need something that looks nice. But being visually appealing doesn’t have much value when the app doesn’t work as your users expect.

That’s why gaining insights into their preferences and behavior is mission-critical for creating an app that satisfies their requirements. Like any other product or service you design, for UX/UI especially, it’s critical to understand your customer’s needs.

  • Start by conducting user interviews and surveys to really understand their motivation, pain points, and expectations.
  • Perform usability testing to ascertain how users interact with your product, identifying areas for improvement.
  • Carry out customer journey mapping to visualize the user experience from start to finish, making it easier to detect any friction points.
  • Leverage user analytics to gather invaluable data that helps make informed design decisions.

Creating a successful UX/UI design must be rooted in “customer-centricity.” You gain pivotal insights to elevate your app’s design by understanding your customers’ journey, needs, and behavior. In the crowded app space, victory belongs to those who truly understand their customers and can shape their offerings accordingly.

Then, align your institution’s business goals with user experience.

Balancing business goals with user needs requires deliberate design choices that cater to user preferences while driving key business metrics. But to truly align your bank or credit union’s goals with user experience, you must rethink how you approach UX/UI design.

  • Break down your institution’s objectives into smaller chunks that are well-defined, actionable UX/UI design goals (that are actually achievable). Ultimately, you can’t do everything all at once.
  • Design features and functionality that address user needs while supporting business objectives, such as cost reduction or increased user engagement.
  • And, of course, use data-driven methodologies to continuously optimize and refine the design based on user feedback and behavior.

UX/UI design is a crucial bridge between the business side and the end-user experience. To create a successful design, it’s vital to balance achieving business goals and objectives while catering to user needs. This balance helps drive your brand, member satisfaction, and trust (the biggie). Simply put, having something in place that users want to use builds trust and retention.

And don’t forget to collaborate across teams.

Involving stakeholders from various departments in the UX/UI design process ensures a balanced product supporting business objectives and user needs. Keep in mind that UX/UI design requires not only a fresh visual appeal but also complying with regulations, maintaining security, and catering to diverse demographics. This adds layers of intricacy to the already-challenging task of creating a seamless, frictionless, and effortless experience. But that’s where insights across departments can help.

  • Be sure to foster open communication channels between design teams, product management, marketing, and development to ensure a shared understanding of objectives and user needs.
  • Create a feedback loop wherein relevant stakeholders review design proposals. Ensure that all parties have an opportunity to express their thoughts on how the product can effectively serve both the users and the organization.

Ultimately, mastering UX/UI design requires understanding the unique needs of your end users, striking a balance between practicality and innovation, and infusing culture-specific ingenuity. Only by untangling this web of complexity can banks and credit unions harness the power of UX/UI to captivate users, foster loyalty, and ultimately propel their apps toward success in the rapidly changing digital financial landscape.

When in doubt, work with a partner that can help.

If your bank or credit union is ready to take its digital banking solution to a new level, it’s time to call in the experts. At Lumin Digital, we work with financial institutions like yours to deliver digital experiences that your customers want to use.

As a digitally native technology company, Lumin’s ability to think differently about technology and user experience is fundamental to who we are. It’s ingrained in everything we do—from our advanced digital banking solution to our internal operations and our culture of curiosity. Contact us to learn more about how we can illuminate your success.