The coronavirus pandemic has forced many entrepreneurs to rethink their business strategies and move online. According to a Deloitte report on the influence of the pandemic, online banking use has grown by 35 percent since lockdowns began and bank branches have been forced to close. Since the digital channel has become fundamental for the banking sector, entrepreneurs considering creating a mobile banking app should think how to differentiate themselves in the eyes of users. In this article, we share best practices to create an excellent mobile banking app design and a step-by-step guide to make the design process painless.
Best practices for a mobile banking app design
Mobile banking applications are becoming increasingly popular. In a recent report, Deloitte noted that due to the pandemic, customers are abandoning physical currency and bank branches, preferring to conduct online banking operations with banking apps. But how can you provide customers with a user-friendly experience that meets all their needs? The following tips will help you do that.
#1 Let users customize the app interface
Customization allows users to adjust your app’s user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) to their needs. By letting users choose the font size and icon placement they prefer, you provide users with an opportunity to interact with your app in the most convenient way.
Chase Bank created an app that users can easily customize by choosing one of 18 home screen variations. More than that, users can change the arrangement of interface elements, adding their most used features to the main screen and hiding less useful features in menus.
#2 Create an intuitive design
The main thing in our design is that we have to make things intuitively obvious.
If users face difficulties or misunderstandings when using an application, they may never return to it. Create an intuitive banking app design to make sure users can easily achieve their goals and won’t say goodbye to your app right after the first launch.
An intuitive design helps you create an experience that doesn’t require instructions or clarifications. Such a design is predictable and feels familiar.
In the context of banking applications, intuitiveness helps users smoothly complete even complex financial tasks. To create an intuitive design for a banking app, you should follow the Human Interface Guidelines for iOS and Google Material Design for Android. By applying familiar design elements used across all native apps for a particular platform, you create an app that gives customers the feeling they’ve used it before.
BankMobile App is available on iOS and Android. Although the general feature set is the same for both platforms, there are some differences in the interfaces.
Following platform-specific guidelines, designers took into account the size of the icon and location of the navigation elements for each operating system. This helped designers make the app’s interface intuitive for users of both iOS and Android devices.
#3 Provide an adaptive design for different devices
In addition to smartphones with different screen sizes, tablets and smartwatches allow users to access banking information. Adaptive design means creating separate user flows and layouts for each device.
For instance, the interface of a smartwatch app may differ from the interface of the smartphone app. This is due not only to a difference in screen sizes but also to the context of use. Users interact with smartwatches for quick operations (checking balances) and use smartphones for more complex operations (transferring funds from one account to another). For this reason, the interfaces and navigation of these applications should be different.
One of the main things to remember when creating an adaptive design is to deliver a familiar experience for customers who are using a smartwatch, smartphone, or tablet. Create a consistent design and maintain the overall style of the app with brand colors, icons, and fonts. This will make your application look and feel like one product across different devices.
See how 1st Source Bank applied the principle of adaptive design to create an application for smartphones and smartwatches. The layout for each type of device provides different content.
Whereas the smartphone app allows users to view extended information about operations, the smartwatch app shows concise information. Also, to preserve the feeling of interacting with the same product, the designers retained the corporate orange and the same font in both apps.
#4 Make the interface simple and minimalist
Online banking applications include complex data and features. To organize design components accurately and not overload the application interface, you should create a simple and minimalist design.
The idea is to cut unnecessary elements that overload the application interface or create difficulties for users.
According to the Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2016 report published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, customers are most likely to use banking applications for simple interactions. The most popular are checking balances and viewing recent transactions. When creating your banking app design with this in mind, place frequently used features on the main screen and hide other features in a pop-up or a hamburger menu. This will help you leave the interface design minimalist even if the app is feature-rich.
To create the design concept presented below, UGEM designers followed the principle of simplicity and minimalism. They placed only important content on the screen and hid all non-essential content. This minimalist design helped them make the interface uncluttered and neat.
#5 Create a modern and aesthetic design
Users tend to form a first impression in 50 milliseconds. To ensure that impression is positive and that users get a smooth experience, you should create a modern and aesthetically pleasing interface design.
The main rule of modern and aesthetic design is to respect balance. When designing a banking application, try not to overload the interface with illustrations, icons, and text. Clutter confuses users and complicates navigation. Also, don’t mix too many design trends. Stick to one style and follow it throughout the design process.
The following UGEM design concept perfectly demonstrates a combination of modern and aesthetic design. On the one hand, it provides familiar design elements, while on the other hand, the interface is filled with unobtrusive patterns and pleasant colors. This combination grabs the user’s attention.
Guide to creating a great mobile banking app
If you want to know where to start when creating a mobile banking app design, follow our step-by-step guide. By following these steps, you can avoid problems like rework and going over your budget while designing a product that meets users’ expectations.
Step 1. Determine customers’ needs with a jobs-to-be-done approach
To develop a user-centered design for a banking product, the first thing you need to do is identify your target audience and its pain points. To do this, designers usually create user personas. But this practice isn’t entirely suitable for creating a high-quality design for a banking application.
A study by Juniper Research shows that in 2020, 2.4 billion people used banking applications globally. In 2024, that figure is expected to be 3.6 billion. The number of users of banking apps makes it challenging to create just one or several personas with common characteristics and pain points. In this case, it’s better to apply another approach — jobs-to-be-done.
The idea of the jobs-to-be-done technique is to answer the following question: What main task will customers use your app to accomplish? Designers can answer this question by conducting field studies or interviews. This research will help them understand the following things:
- What main task does your app accomplish?
- What is the easiest way users can achieve their goals via your app?
- Is there a way to simplify users’ interactions with your app?
The jobs-to-be-done approach makes it possible to focus on the user experience in cases where personal characteristics are irrelevant and allows you to create a UI/UX design that solves users’ actual problems.
Step 2. Create a user flow
After you define who your target users are and what problems your app has to solve, the next step is to build scenarios of possible interactions with your app and create user flows for them.
A user flow diagram (or map) allows you to establish the correct order and logic of user actions as well as determine basic design requirements so users can reach their goals.
User flows are created for all possible scenarios and end results. To meet user expectations and build an intuitive banking application design, you can create more than one user flow for each scenario. By creating user flows, designers build the foundation for an app’s UI/UX design.
Step 3. Create sitemaps
Once you’ve identified the key scenarios in which users will interact with your banking app, it’s time to group all the design components and create a sitemap. While the user flow shows the path of each scenario separately, the sitemap allows you to look at the overall hierarchy of your banking application.
A sitemap helps you structure your app’s navigation as well as establish the right relationships between pages to ensure a smooth user experience.
Step 4. Build wireframes and a prototype
After defining the page hierarchy and page content, designers create wireframes for each screen separately.
Wireframes are high- or low-fidelity black and white layouts that schematically demonstrate the location of important elements in the final product.
Designers create wireframes in a short period of time by drawing them on paper or with the help of special programs like Balsamiq or Figma. In this way, they determine which design elements will be on each screen and what the final product will look like.
When wireframes are ready, designers move to the next stage and create prototypes. Prototypes are an interactive version of your banking application. They’re usually more detailed than wireframes and have colors, fonts, and other graphical elements that represent the product’s final look.
Creating prototypes is a time-consuming process, as prototypes demonstrate not just the app’s design but functionality. Since prototypes are similar to the finished product, designers can analyze each step performed by the user of a prototype to predict possible problems before launching the product.
Here’s what a prototype might look like. This is a design concept by UGEM studio that showcases the process of how users check and control their monthly spending.
Step 5. Test your app
The final stage on the way to creating a design for your banking application is testing. There are many testing methods and practices that will provide you with quality data so you can polish your banking app’s design according to users’ expectations. One of these methods is A/B testing.
The idea of A/B testing is to verify different concepts or experiences with users and choose the option that best fits users’ needs. For A/B testing, the design team randomly forms user groups, each of which gets a different app design. The differences can be superficial, such as differences in button colors or fonts. But they can also be more fundamental.
For example, you can test several ways to visualize data and choose what’s more convenient for your users. Create one concept that visualizes data using bar charts and another concept where data is shown in pie charts. A/B testing will help you find out which approach is more convenient for your target users so you can include it in the final product.
A/B testing is useful not only at the initial stages of creating a banking application design but also when you want to make changes after the application is launched to test new trends or features. A/B testing helps you avoid guesswork and rely on accurate data to ensure users’ satisfaction with your product.
Banking has long been one of the fastest-growing sectors, but the pandemic has forced entrepreneurs to look at doing business differently. A well-thought-out UI/UX design will help you attract new customers, improve user satisfaction, and establish your company as a front runner in the banking industry.