Terror at “Pennywise Credit Union” – A UX design horror story

It’s October, which means spooky season has arrived! So, grab your flashlights, gather ‘round, and I will spin the spine-chilling tale of a user-experience (UX) design horror story gone terribly wrong, and the fatal mistakes that led one unsuspecting user to abandon his journey to make a loan payment.

Setting the Stage: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…

Menacing storm clouds are gathering on the horizon for many credit unions and other financial institutions. According to UXDA, “Banks are losing customers because of outdated design and poor user experience[s]. And the size of these losses is staggering. Even by rough, but conservative, estimates, medium-sized banks lose millions in potential revenue each year. For the larger banks, the total losses from bad UX design in the next 10 years could reach billions of dollars.”

Against this gloomy background, our tale unfolds…

The Unsuspecting Victim

Meet Dave. Dave is a nice guy. He shows up to dental appointments on time, remembers his assistant’s birthday, and spoils his dog, Lucy, completely rotten. Dave doesn’t know there are storm clouds gathering off in the distance. He’s just excited to take Lucy to the pet store to buy her a pumpkin Halloween costume—but first, he needs to go online and make a quick loan payment. 

The perfect protagonist, Dave just got a new Prius a few weeks ago to step up his carbon footprint game. To finance his auto loan, Dave went with the credit union with the best financing available—Pennywise Credit Union. As an indirect borrower, Dave has never been exposed to this credit union’s online ecosystem for digital payments. 

Indirect lending is a large part of many financial institutions’ auto lending strategies. In fact, in 2020, credit unions held $378.2 billion in auto loan balances, or roughly 31.5% of all auto loans in America. Of that, 84.4%, or $319.4 billion, was funded through indirect channels. 

In other words, there are a lot of “Daves” out there.

Something Doesn’t Feel Right…

As Lucy paces at the door, our unsuspecting victim pulls out his smartphone to knock out that loan payment. His journey starts out optimistically enough, but as Dave pulls up Pennywise CU’s homepage, we hear ominous music swell in the background. 

On the homepage, Dave spends a full five seconds trying to find the credit union’s payment portal. He gets bombarded with impossible-to-close popups and an overly-eager chatbot who seems threateningly friendly. At the door, Lucy begins to whine. The uncomfortable feeling of bad web design begins to seep into reality. Dave is getting stressed out. 

Did you know that a single bad experience on a website makes users 88% less likely to visit the website again, and 70% of customers abandon purchases because of a bad user experience? An overcrowded website that is cumbersome to navigate can overwhelm your users, which results in frustration. This negative user experience often translates to feelings of frustration with your entire brand. Don’t pack your website or payments portal with too many graphic or text elements. The barrage of colors and conflicting shapes will create the feelings of chaos and anxiety that Dave is currently experiencing.

Terror at Pennywise Credit Union

After another five minutes of unsuccessful navigation attempts, no helpful FAQ section, and completely irrelevant messaging, Dave abandons his attempt to make a simple loan payment in abject frustration.  

Lightning strikes from the storm clouds above Pennywise CU as they lose Dave’s good opinion for life. Their bad UX design choices led an innocent indirect borrower—who might have otherwise turned into a multi-product customer—into a user experience that was so bad, he didn’t even feel like taking Lucy to the pet store to get her Halloween costume. Heartbroken, she knows she’ll never get to be the star of Instagram as the cutest pumpkin ever.  

We hope you enjoyed our fictitious tale of Dave and the Terror at Pennywise CU. If your credit union wants to avoid a similar horror story, you’ll need an intuitively designed and easily navigable digital payments system that will delight all of your borrowers. 

For more on how to accomplish this, check out our webinar, Wading in the Digital Payments Deep End: Lessons in Risk Management and UX Design. Click here to watch on-demand!

Amanda Harr

Amanda Harr

A graduate of the Plan II Honors program at UT Austin, Amanda Harr has been the Marketing Content Writer at SWBC since 2019. A clever wordsmith who appreciates artful persuasion ... Web: www.swbc.com Details

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