Mobile Growth Makes UX Design More Important Than Ever

Brad Powell, President/CEO, Axiawareby: Brad Powell, President/CEO, Axiaware

There are now over 300 million mobile phones in America – and 311 million Americans.  This phenomenal growth in mobile usage has powerful implications for credit unions, affecting the way they present themselves, and elevating the importance of user experience design from nicety to business essential.

But first, consider the facts. According to the Federal Reserve’s Consumers and Mobile Financial Services report published in March, 21% of mobile phone owners have used mobile banking in the past 12 months. Mobile banking has quickly grown to nearly one-third the size of online banking, and all signs point toward continued growth. Eleven percent of those not currently using mobile banking think that they will probably use it within the next 12 months and an additional 17% of those who report that they are unlikely to adopt mobile banking in the next year say they will “definitely” or “probably” adopt mobile banking at some point.

comScore’s recent report, The State of Online & Mobile Banking, similarly concludes that mobile banking keeps rising in both usage and importance.  Melissa Parrish, a Senior Analyst at Forrester, says her research identifies over one-third of adults as an “Always Addressable Customer,” customers who:

  • Own and use at least 3 data connect devices
  • Access the Internet multiple times per day
  • Go online from multiple physical locations

The explosion in mobile banking enables credit unions and other financial institutions to provide service and value to their customers whenever and wherever they need it. And higher levels of convenience and access positively impact how customers view the brand.. As Dave Mayette, president and CEO of L9, puts it:“when a user gets the feeling of ease and cohesiveness on the website, they are more likely to do business with the credit union, the interaction leaves a lasting impression, and the credit union wins.”

Not only are mobile customers growing in number, evidence shows they are also more loyal. As Ginger Schmeltzer of SunTrust Bank explained during the recent NACHA Payments 2012 conference, mobile and online customers “are 53% less likely to attrite…we see a direct relationship between mobile adoption and loyalty.”

That relationship runs both ways, though. Mobile customers are also more demanding and passionate about what they want from the mobile experience. “If they don’t like something—or if they want a feature we do not presently offer—they say, ‘fix it or I am out of here,’” Schmeltzer said.

And that is why user experience design is more important than ever.  “The crux of the community bank and credit union model is to focus on customer relationship.  But now that is all electronic,” Independent Community Bankers of America vice president Carey Whaley recently said at the same NACHA conference.  Credit unions and banks nationwide are taking note and are working to improve every aspect of their digital experience from designing completely new smart phone apps to overhauling and optimizing bank website log-in pages.

An institution’s online presence is now integral to its brand.  User experience is a vital component of the brand’s value proposition, and is central to attracting new customers and keeping current customers happy.  Clunky, unwieldy or otherwise undesirable design results in frustrated customers dissatisfied with the brand. As this reality plays out, there will be winners and losers, but all indicators tell us that the winners will have invested in keeping all those mobile phone users happy.

Brad Powell is President and CEO of Axiaware, a custom software and user experience design firm that helps credit unions and other financial institutions bridge the gap between a business goal and a software solution. Brad as over twenty years experience in technology, including sixteen years in software development for world-class clients including Navy Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in the country. His experience includes creation of superior online user interfaces that drive business objectives and build customer loyalty.

Brad Powell

Brad Powell

Brad Powell is President and CEO of Axiaware, a custom software and user experience design firm that helps credit unions bridge the gap between a business goal and a software ... Web: Details