The freshest start to my blog would have to be this one. My team in the office sparked up on the late friday afternoon with discussion about the new upgrade to the Bank West website. http://www.bankwest.com.au/
This sparked my interest in a professional sense as I was interested to know not only what my colleagues thought of the site but what a wider audience thought of the site.
As one who works in the web realm this site really hit me in terms of where the web is heading, and what are people really after when it comes to using services online. When i first opened up this site i was wowed by the large imagery but i guess i was then hit with “oh right, what am i hear to do?”. As someone who generally doesnt need to use this site I suppose i had to take a step back and think what are user goals when accessing the site.
Here are some I came up with.
I want to start a bank account
There are two ways i attempted to do this. First search through the ‘how can we help you’ search panel. i type in “start a new account” and am taken to a list of search results that whilst include the words start an account – there was not one that flat out said “start a new bank account with Bank West”. For me if i wanted to start an account I want to straight away be taken to the very page that displays my options for this. For me this search panel has clouded the clear functions of the site.
Another option to look into accounts is to use the interestingly simplified left navigation. i click on personal banking or business banking and instead of seeing the next steps i am just clouded by this large bright fun image. Now don’t get me wrong I think the imagery is great however i do think that this might distract the user from achieving the goals that they may wish to on the site.
I want to do personal banking
Personal banking is quite well done on the site. Obviously aimed at return users this is always located in the top right hand corner of the site. This is useful and done in some other sites as well such as Westpac, St George and even other companies like nib for health insurance.
What I will say about this is that once the distraction of the large bright images is over the user has to scan the site and look for where to go but due to the consistency of the top right log in keeping in line with what a user would expect works well in this area.
Top 5 great components
- Great Images although at times can be distracting
- Personality of ‘how can we help’. Works well for the providing of a service allows the user to feel like the answers are at their fingertips and they will be helped.
- Stepping outside of the square with the left navigation – ‘old school’ i have heard it described.
- Consistency in the login placement.
Top 5 opportunities for this site
- Inconsistent in the levels of interaction across the site. Perhaps as this is just new the site has not been updated across all levels. When I hit rates & fees i am taken to a page that looks bare – too much white space – and in my opinion looks like it is actually missing pictures. The fact that this is containing so much white space is not really my issue it is more that only one level down from a landing page there is another style in motion.
- Over simplified. In the quest for supplying a simple user experience Bank West have created a site where the user has to actually process their next actions and make more decisions and clicks to reach their goal – of course this is unless they are doing their own personal banking as this option is always readily available for the user. An opportunity to improve this would be for bank west to review their main user goals and have these as direct links on the homepage so a user may access what they need fast.
- Search Engine – an idea to improve this search engine would be for a user to enter in what they want i.e. start a new bank account and for it to work like google “im feeling lucky” and just open the required page straight away. Limiting the amount of clicks and decisions a user has to make before getting to their goal.
- Loading times – waiting for the images to load takes a little too long, a user has to wait for the images to load for that little bit too long. Fancy pictures have been selected over functionality and user experience for this site.
- Acquisition vs retention. As i said previously getting the existing customers to use the website is easy however at times the path can be unclear for new members and how they may reach their goal.
Overall the Bank West site is pretty cool but perhaps a little fangdangle and overbearing for what i would guess would be the average banking user. Whilst a colleague suggested that this site is a little blah considering the innovative expectation of Bank west I think their endeavour to have something new and creative may have taken away from the key functionality and aim of the site. Would be interesting to keep tracks on how this site progresses from here.
What are your top 5 comments on this website? I would be interested to see how they differ from my own.