In today’s digital age, a user-friendly and engaging website is essential for banks and credit unions to connect with their customers effectively. As marketing leaders in the financial sector, it’s crucial to understand the best practices that can significantly enhance user experience (UX) and engagement on your website.
Whether you’re designing a new website for your financial institution or refreshing your existing site, incorporating these nine web design best practices can help you bolster your brand, strengthen your digital presence, and foster customer loyalty via a seamless and accessible user experience.
1. SEAMLESS UI/UX ACROSS ALL PLATFORMS
Users expect a consistent user interface (UI) whether they’re on a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. Using a mobile-first approach with responsive design ensures that your website functions seamlessly on various screen sizes and keeps users engaged, regardless of which device they’re using.
Prioritizing intuitive navigation can help enhance the user experience by guiding visitors to your website seamlessly through the information or tasks they need to complete. Intuitive navigation ensures that users can easily find what they’re looking for, with clear menu structures, logical organization of content, and well-labeled links and buttons. They should be able to access the information they’re looking for in three clicks – or less. This reduces the risk of your customer or prospect becoming impatient or frustrated and leaving your website before they find what they want.
2. CUSTOMIZED INTERFACE DESIGN
Customization helps establish trust and recognition with your audience, which can help give your bank or credit union a competitive advantage. A well-crafted interface not only reinforces your financial institution’s brand identity, but it also ensures that complex financial information is presented in an easy-to-understand format.
A customized interface design tailors the user experience to meet the specific needs and expectations of customers in the financial sector. By considering user preferences and streamlining navigation, customized design enhances usability and leads to higher customer satisfaction.
3. ENGAGING/HUMAN LANGUAGE
Using conversational and relatable language can help you connect with your customers and prospects. Craft your content to resonate with your target audience, avoiding jargon and complex terminology that can be confusing or hard to understand. This can help users feel more at ease, understand your offerings better, and foster a sense of trust in your services.
Although AI tools can be a great resource, they’re no replacement for real human language. Content created by a real person who understands your financial institution’s value proposition will resonate with your customers more than generic, vague information churned out by chatbot. Take advantage of the opportunity to inject your bank or credit union’s unique brand voice and tone to personalize your content and help it stand out in a crowded market.
4. INTUITIVE DESIGN AND CONSISTENT ELEMENTS
Intuitive design refers to the overall layout, appearance, and functionality of a website. An intuitively designed website is one where users can quickly and easily understand how it works and how to interact with it. It involves a user interface that feels natural and requires minimal effort to use effectively. Intuitive design considers factors like visual hierarchy, color schemes, typography, and the placement of elements to create a cohesive and user-friendly experience.
It’s also important to ensure a consistent layout with standardized navigation menus and familiar design elements across all pages of your website. Consistency simplifies user journeys, reduces confusion and friction, and reinforces your brand’s professionalism and reliability. Financial marketing leaders should work closely with the design team to create a visually appealing, cohesive look that reflects the financial institution’s unique brand identity, colors, and visual elements.
5. ACCESSIBILITY/WCAG COMPLIANCE
Accessibility is a legal requirement for bank and credit union websites. It ensures that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can access the information on your website. Financial institutions should comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) – globally recognized best practices recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium – to make their website accessible and user-friendly for all visitors.
By providing an accessible digital platform, banks and credit unions can reach a more diverse customer base, including individuals with disabilities, ensuring they can access vital financial services independently. Demonstrating a commitment to inclusivity can also help foster trust and goodwill for financial institutions.
Examples of accessibility features include:
- Alt text for images
- Keyboard navigation
- High contrast and readable fonts
- Video captions
- Text-to-speech functionality
- Compatibility with assistive technologies
6. BUILT FOR SPEED
Increasing your website’s loading speed is essential for providing a positive user experience. Slow-loading pages can frustrate customers and prospects and lead to high bounce rates. In fact, studies show that over half of users leave a website if the page takes more than three seconds to load. A fast-loading website keeps visitors engaged, allows quick access to financial information and services, and ensures that users can achieve their goals efficiently and with minimal frustration.
Increasing website speed enhances convenience and instills confidence in your financial institution’s reliability. Strategies to reduce load times include compressing images, optimizing code, and minimizing third-party scripts and widgets. Leveraging content delivery networks (CDNs) can reduce server response times and ensure faster loading times for users in different regions. Remember to continuously monitor your website’s speed and test your site on various devices and browsers to ensure consistent performance.
7. OPTIMIZED FOR SEARCH
Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a pivotal role in enhancing online visibility and driving organic traffic. A well-optimized website ensures that potential customers can easily find your financial institution’s services and information through search engines, fostering trust and credibility.
Implementing effective SEO strategies can improve search engine rankings and attract more visitors to your website, which can help contribute to customer acquisition and long-term growth. Using relevant keywords, creating high-quality content, optimizing meta tags, including relevant backlinks and internal links, and ensuring your website has a current SSL certificate are all ways to improve your site’s online presence. Keep in mind that SEO is an ongoing process, and regular updates and adjustments are necessary to maintain and improve your rankings over time.
8. ENHANCED FOR VOICE SEARCH
Optimizing your financial institution’s website for voice search is increasingly important in the digital age. With the rising use of voice-activated devices and virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa, users are adopting a more conversational approach to online queries.
Ensure that your website is compatible with voice search queries made through devices like smartphones and smart speakers. Consider how users might phrase voice search queries and create content that answers common questions using natural language. This will help your customers and prospects easily find information and services about your bank or credit union via voice search. Including voice search functionality also enhances accessibility and helps your financial institution stay competitive.
9. INCORPORATES EMBEDDED VIDEO
Videos are highly engaging and can convey information more effectively than text alone, making them a valuable addition to your website. Embedding videos in your website provides an opportunity to deliver complex financial information in a visually appealing and easily digestible format, enhancing customer understanding and trust.
Videos can serve as a powerful tool to engage and educate your audience by creating a more interactive online experience. Including informative videos about your products, services, and financial advice on your website can also help to establish credibility, humanize your financial institution’s brand, and strengthen customer relationships.
KEEP IT FRESH
Keep your website content up to date and relevant. Remove or update outdated information, and regularly refresh blog posts, promotions, and featured products to keep your website interesting, not stale. Creating an editorial calendar to schedule regular updates can help keep you on track. A dynamic website shows that your bank or credit union is active and responsive to customers’ needs, encouraging repeat visits and continued engagement. Consistently adding timely, relevant content will keep your institution ranking high when it comes to web searches – and it will also keep your customers coming back to see what’s new.
At LIGHTSTREAM, we know what works for banks and credit unions. We offer a full array of branding, creative, and web design services to help your financial institution succeed – like Strategy Academy , our comprehensive digital resource library for financial content. When you subscribe to Strategy Academy, you’ll get access to hundreds of timely and informative financial wellness articles, videos, social posts, and more. Connect with us today to learn more.