US Bank has been sending out notices for the past month or so about the fantastic new design of their banking UI. As sad as it sounds, I’ve been rather excited about the upgrade, being that their current banking UI is miserable. Actually, most banking/financial consumer portals are miserable, and US Bank hasn’t been any worse than the rest, which is the best I can give them. I have been looking forward to improvements to the difficult navigation and overly-complex UI functions. I’ve been satisfied with their service as a bank, but underwhelmed by their banking portal—which I use on a near-daily basis. Any improvements to the UI would greatly improve my satisfaction with their service offering, and their value of me as a customer.
Earlier this week, they rolled-out the much anticipated upgrade and I was pleased with the promise of the landing page interstitial:
It’s promising so far. And clicking through to the landing page does indeed lead to a fresh new look, pig-riding grandma pic aside:
It’s clean, well organized and uses simple and clear navigation throughout. Okay, this is looking good. Still, this is only window dressing as I never spend time in the unsecure parts of their site. So I log in, and am greeted by this:
And my initial euphoria is diminished. Nothing has changed in the banking portal UI. It’s the same as before, with the busy side nav, overly-striped content, and start button styles. None of the difficult, confusing interaction have changed. I was so hoping for some dramatic improvements to the part of their site that I actually use and now realize that they spent a lot of time, money and hype on window dressing—it’s still the same crappy store on the inside.
As mentioned, US Bank is only fitting the norm of banking sites; it’s not any worse, not any better than any other. They’ve missed out on a major opportunity to upgrade the experience for their clients who actually use their services and have focused on a pretty storefront. Pretty is fine and certainly has design merit, but useful and effective is better. I got to my bank’s website to conduct business, not browse through lovely ads and marketing offerings.
They did the easy part with soft colors and pretty pictures, and let the more difficult, less sexy, and most important part sit untouched. If I were approached for this project, I’d look at the interior first, then work outward. Surprise the current customers with a secure UI that kicks ass above the rest, get them excited about the fact that they actually understand how to perform transactions and interact with their accounts and they’ll be sure to spread the word. It’s much more impressive to open an distressed, aging door and see something fresh and new behind, much less so the other way around.