Today’s consumers are digitally-savvy and strapped for time. As a result, when online, they want to find what they’re looking for quickly, easily and with minimal effort – and if you can’t offer it, they’ll move on elsewhere fast. That, in a nutshell, is why user experience (or UX) is so important for your digital channels.
The Agency, Central 1’s Forge Public Website experts, share some of the key elements you should consider to deliver an optimal user experience for your audience on your financial institution’s public website.
01. Space it out
White space is your friend. Even just a subtle amount of well-placed spacing between sections, lines and even letters can allow your pages to breathe and appear more polished. It also adds to the browsing experience, ensuring users aren’t overwhelmed trying to read densely packed content.
02. Font matters
Who wants to read tiny, illegible text? That’s why choosing the right typeface and font size is so important. We recommend at least a 16 to 18-pixel font size for body copy. You can even try 20-pixel or more for longer-form content.
Using just one, clean typeface is also good for legibility – and you won’t lose any creative impact. With a combination of font weights, sizes, and colours in your headings and body text you can still create great visual interest for your site.
03. Scroll away
Thanks to smartphones and tablets, users are no longer put off by scrolling up and down, left or right. As a result, longer, visual-heavy web pages have become more common. So don’t be afraid of scroll. Although not a one-size-fits-all design solution, longer web pages can help break up content and make it easier to digest. Just consider including a helpful “back to top” link near the bottom of your pages to simplify navigation and improve the browsing experience.
04. Hierarchy helps
Visual hierarchy guides the eye, so it’s important to be mindful of how you lay out your content. For example, proper positioning ensures the most important content is near the top of the page making it easier to find crucial information and the web page a breeze to scan.
05. Be intentional with visuals
It’s important to avoid “filler” images. They simply add visual clutter that can make your content difficult to navigate. Instead, try to be purposeful with the visual elements and design solutions you use. You can do things like:
- Break your content into chunks and add visuals that echo the content
- Make elements visually distinct and defined (e.g. edge-to-edge designs versus indented designs, featuring a background colour to break up or bring attention to content)
06. Keep colour contrast in mind
When placing text on top of images, improve contrast between the copy and visual with a subtle, but simple colour overlay to ensure the text is legible. Depending on where the text may be positioned over the image, you can either use a full colour overlay, or a more subtle gradient overlay to achieve this.
07. Create good viewing experiences
Don’t interrupt a viewer without a reason. Doing so can be detrimental to the user’s problem-solving journey – for example, opening up a dialogue box without the user having done anything. A dialogue should only open as a result of an interaction, and it should never be intrusive. It’s also important to remove obstacles, such as unnecessary clicks, as this added effort can lead to frustration and ruin the user’s experience.
08. Think mobile-first
When putting a web page together, think mobile-first, then work on mobile and desktop simultaneously. Ask yourself, how does this content show up at smaller sizes? In most instances, it’s easier to expand a page layout from mobile to desktop, than it is to compress down designs for mobile sizes. Remember to keep it simple and always practice good responsive design.
09. Round and round we go
When it comes to carousels, a good rule of thumb is sticking to 3-4 slides or less. Too many slides will overwhelm the viewer and content will be missed. Also, consider carousels in instances other than at the top of a homepage. For example, your financial institution’s story, client testimonials, for step-by-step instructions, etc.
10. Drop the shadows
Drop-shadows, like all extra effects, can be hit or miss. In the right application, they can make page designs look quite dynamic and visually stimulating. But they can also quickly look dated and unrefined. If you must use drop-shadows, keep them light and make sure they always come from just one light source. It’s a simple, and sometimes overlooked mistake that can be distracting to the viewer.
With user expectations skyrocketing, UX design is not an optional luxury for financial institutions. To attract, convert and retain your audience, it should now be at the core of your digital design. The tricky part is finding the time, resources, and capabilities to get it right. That’s where The Agency at Central 1 comes in. Our team of experts is ready and waiting to help you with everything from designing a brand new Forge Public Website, to auditing and enhancing your existing one. Drop us a line and see how we can help you meet your UX goals.
About The Agency at Central 1
The Agency is the only full-service marketing agency of its kind embedded in the credit union system and solely dedicated to helping clients unlock greater member growth and engagement.
As the leading Forge design & build partner in Canada, The Agency has supported more than 40 Forge Public Website launches. Their deep expertise in the platform, close integration with the Forge Implementation team, and client-focused platform training has saved our clients time, money and effort in getting their site to market quickly and efficiently.