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Collaboration and the secrets to scaling design in finance

Collaboration and the secrets to scaling design in finance

User Experience (UX) should be right at the core of your product design, and any external or internal processes, interactions or workflows should - ideally - be based on a solid base of UX research, design and testing.

Why? Well, if you plough on without fully considering what users want, it can really hit your bottom line. Unhappy customers walk. So do unhappy employees.

In our latest Inside the Minds webinar, two UX experts from banking and fintech share why UX has become essential. And they offer their pro tips on embedding and scaling UX in the organisation.

Click here to watch the webinar

Miriam Leparoux is Cluster Lead UX/UI at online bank Comdirect, and Jolene Tan-Davidovic is User Research Lead at mobile bank N26. They work in banking and finance, but their experience is highly pertinent to other industries, so listen up!

Simplifying complexity

Like many industries, finance is complex, says Miriam, with a wide range of product offerings. These need to cater for a diverse groups of users with varying degrees of tech literacy. Self-directed and self-sufficient users. Tech novices. The very young. The very old. Also, your users might be in other countries with a different culture from yours.

UX needs to cater to all these demographics and simplify complexity so your products can be used by everyone. It does this by putting the human at the centre, Miriam and Jolene both argue.

“Finance is not very interesting, in and of itself,” says Miriam. But good UX can make apps and products easy, helpful and self-explanatory. It can also foster a sense of security, so the customer knows their environment is secure: a “comfort zone”.

UX will become increasingly important amidst the changes in the finance world, impacting how people view and interact with banking, says Jolene. “I really feel like we are at the tip of the iceberg: scratching the surface of what a UX transformation of finance could be,” she says.

Embedding UX research, design and testing

The key to good UX is having an improvement mindset, rooted in humility that enables you to talk to users, research what they need, and to respond to change, says Jolene.

“We don't and cannot know everything. So, we need to talk to the user, and we need to talk to other people. We need to understand better. We need to do research,” she insists.

In fact, says Miriam, there should be no product decisions without user research. “We all think we believe what the users want. But we need to ask the users: what do you want?” she says.

Other essential questions to ask are: who are we doing this for? What problem are we trying to solve? Will this make a helpful change? Or is this just a cool gadget that we like?

The role of the User Researcher is vital in setting and embedding guidelines that help the business get back in line with what the customer, client or user actually wants, says Miriam.

She adds there’s a right time to do user testing, for example, after prototyping. Having the User Researcher close to the product or UX development team means you can discover problems early and save a lot of time.

User research doesn’t have to take time and slow things down, but it should include a wide team, says Jolene. It can also act as an enabler, giving the team confidence. Or help the business prioritise where it can get the biggest bang for its buck, backed up with real life data, she says.

How to scale UX

Scaling UX across the business can be done in several ways. Growing your team’s headcount. Enhancing their skills. Expanding the usage of UX. Increasing its influence or impact. Here are some thoughts from our experts.

  • Guidelines. A big team can have a big impact - but so can a small team. Miriam says she works in a big bank with a small UX team. “It’s impossible to be involved in everything. But what we can do is implement some clear guidelines and help in making some directives that work and give security,” says Miriam.
  • Culture. Jolene says that, in scaling UX, the important thing is to onboard people into your culture and mindset, as well as your products. That way, team members will maintain that humility to ask what the user wants, and advocate for UX within the business.
  • Collaborate. Work closely with the business - marketing, legal, whoever – says Miriam. “It’s about collaboration and letting people in, to be part of the solution. Just as we look at co co-creation of processes with users and customers, it's also important to let the business side participate.”
  • FigJam. Use FigJam to conduct UX workshops to build bridges to stakeholders, says Jolene. “FigJam has been amazing in allowing us to conduct these workshops remotely, given that we are spread across so many countries.” The online collaboration platform creates the space where people can share what they know in a couple of hours or an afternoon, she explains.
  • KPIs. “We do a lot of qualitative and quantitative measurements,” says Miriam. Jolene too, and she advises UX teams to integrate and communicate KPIs alongside traditional business metrics to demonstrate UX investment impact on the bottom-line. This helps the business to see the value of UX research, design and testing.

3 Tips to improve design through UX

  1. Use UX to provide an objective perspective to the design team. But where designers are testing their own designs, and there’s no researcher role, try to help them be aware of their own bias, and have a mindset that they’re testing to learn - not testing to confirm. “If they have this mindset it is fine to run the test,” says Jolene.
  2. If UX maturity is very low in the organisation, the easiest way to start is to quantify how much pain UX is costing the business - for example from user loss - then go from there.
  3. You might need to take a broader look across the user journey and test the entire experience. Conversion rates may be excellent but late cancellations could also be high, for example. Miriam says, ”Just because something has really great usability doesn't mean it will be used. Nobody eats a delicious hot pie in the desert.”

In conclusion, good UX practices are worth embedding and scaling well. Why? You need to streamline dev costs and timelines, and UX can help here. You need happy customers, and to protect the bottom line, and UX can help here too. And finally, UX collaboration and advocacy within the business can increase UX impact, and FigJam can help here.

Watch the Inside the Minds webinar in full

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