Sunday, 1 January 2012

Getting customer feedback on design: First Direct's online lab

Telephone and internet bank First Direct is consulting its customers on new designs for the home page of its website.

The bank's proposing one design for existing customers, another for new customers. Different designs for different audiences.

As of today, around 800 people have commented on First Direct's new designs. And reading through a week's worth of feedback, the messages that strike you are ...

"Please leave it alone"
"Why change something that works?" says one user. "Don't redesign for the sake of it," says another. "Keep it simple," say many.

First Direct's proposed home page for new customers
Banish clutter
Existing customers say they want simple, uncluttered screens like Google's home page.

People don't want glossy lifestyle photos and they don't want irrelevant panels such as 'Search for family days out'. They just want to log in and manage their money.

Don't be a supermarket
Customers don't want to be marketed at. They see banner ads as sneaky - forcing you to scroll down the page to find stuff: "It's like a supermarket ploy to get you to view other products" says one user.

"I don't want live chat"
First Direct's proposed home page for existing customers
Another customer's not keen on new features such as live chat. But maybe the opportunity to ask questions online and get immediate answers is one of those things you will end up using all the time?

So what's the way forward?
If First Direct wants to offer new tools such as live chat and wants to make its site more aspirational and marketingy, surely it shouldn't matter to us existing users? 

After all, as long as we can find the Internet banking login button, we can ignore everything else - like we do already. 

I don't care about the home page
I don't care what First Direct's website home page looks like. And anyway, if you bookmark the login screen, you can bypass the home page and get down to business more quickly.

What I do care about is layout and features after I've logged in. I also care about enhancements to First Direct's iPhone app, which I now use far more than the website.

First Direct's current home page
But thanks for asking
But I do appreciate being asked for my opinion. If you enter First Direct's online lab, you can comment on all new developments - the redesign of the debit card, e-newsletter and the use of QR codes. 

You can also feed back about anything that's on your mind.

So what's really bugging customers?
People want an Android version of First Direct's iPhone app. Around 15 customers posted in the last few weeks. (Unless it's the same person posting many times.)

More filters
People want Excel-like features online. They want to see exactly what they are spending their money on: how much on gas and electricity over the last six months. And they want to see how much they have earnt over the last year.

More flexibility
People want to rename their savings accounts so they're meaningful eg 'holiday savings' or 'tuition fees'. And, for people they make regular online payments to, they want to be able to change the 'payment reference' each time. 

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