The users of an enterprise banking application had been complaining of a poor user experience for years. The number of support calls, errors and development time needed to fix bugs meant something had to change. The system is used to capture client information and documents, apply for banking products and perform multiple tasks across various departments and teams. It was implemented to take the load off of internal staff while in reality it was doing the opposite. The challenge was to identify frustrations and pain points and redesign the system with a streamlined user experience that would increase user efficiency.
Due to the size and complexity of the application I have chosen key examples of improvements to the user experience and how we made complex interfaces simple. I will refer to the current application as “App1” and the new application as “App2”.
My role was UX Designer and User Researcher. I worked with a UX/UI Designer who produced the high-fidelity mockups
I worked collaboratively with product owners, developers, business analysts and testers in agile cross-functional teams. The UX methods used depended largely on the stage of the project, time pressures to launch and access to users. We generally worked one step ahead of the sprint and conducted as much user research, concept testing and usability testing as possible.
For the client onboarding process I conducted five face-to-face interviews with target users, as well as usability tests on App1. The interview questions were designed to elicit rich qualitative data. This allowed me to identify frustrations, delightful moments and goals when using the enterprise application, as well as get an understanding of their emotional state . The research also helped me to narrow my focus to the specific type of persona I would be targeting.
Firstly I built rapport with the users to get them comfortable and began with a pre-test interview to gather information about their role, experience using the software, goals and motivations. Next I explained how the testing would work and demonstrated how they should talk aloud while performing tasks. While performing the tasks I asked them probing questions. All the sessions were recorded to allow me to go back and analyse task completion rate and time to complete tasks. After the tasks were complete I conducted the System Usability Scale (SUS) questionnaire to obtain the SUS score. The session ended with a brief post-test questionnaire to gather more qualitative data such aspects they found most confusing or annoying.
The findings from user research allowed me to build a persona of the target user. This process helped me to create a cohesive, empathetic view of the user and to gain insights into their emotional state when using the application.
The general workflow we used:
From usability testing it emerged that users felt the number of tabs and validation made the process cumbersome and confusing. I facilitated a card sorting session to organise the information in a way that makes sense to users.
The information capture screens from App1 (below) are spread over 14 tabs and information was not organised in the same way that bankers received it on the application form.
The card sorting exercise helped to simplify the client capture experience in a way that mad sense to users
The KYC (Know Your Client), AML (Anti-money laundering) and tax screens were confusing to users and one of the key pain points identified during usability testing.
Users felt that it made more sense to contain all compliance related information on one page. I created a wireframe in Balsamiq that consolidated and simplified the information.
This was then turned into a high-fidelity mockup.
Another example of how complex screens were made simple is shown below. The screen shown is used to show relationships between clients, mitigant details and capabilities of clients such as access to online banking. Users found this interface frustrating and time consuming to use. Through user interviews I discovered that many of the columns and information could be removed as it was not required for users to perform their tasks and was only there for legacy reasons.
After testing concepts, sketches and wireframes with users a high-fidelity mockup was created.
These are just a few examples of how applying design thinking and UX methods can simplify interfaces and flow and thus improve the experience for users. Usability testing was particularly valuable in identifying frustrations that were previously unknown. Not even users raised these issues because they had become accustomed to using a broken application. They had created inefficient workarounds which resulted in other issues further down the line. We were often met with resistance to changes we wanted to implement. Proof from usability tests often swung the argument in our favour and got the buy-in we needed. Another learning was to apply the UX method that is best suited to the situation at the time. If you have tight deadlines then keep user research and testing short. Something is better than nothing.
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