What Color Is Your Money? Showcase of Bank Websites Worldwide
Having lived and worked in various countries during the past 15 years, I have accumulated quite a few different bank accounts. On any given day, some of us may actually need to log on to at least three bank websites. And while one wouldn't normally turn to a bank website for inspiration, it is actually surprising how the world of money is quite useful for considering the different ways large amounts of critical information can be packaged. Developers and designers of bank websites have the ultimate of job tasks to fulfill in planning a bank's website information architecture. Of utmost importance is security and functionality. Then comes the entire suite of corporate marketing communication must-haves such as strategy, usability, portability, accessibility and highly likely multilingual services are a major consideration among the deliverables. Banking is a highly competitive industry where the website needs to make existing clients feel safe with their financial transactions (client retention) as well as entice new customers (client acquisition). The client base is normally extremely diverse. At any given time a bank needs to please large international multi-million dollar stakeholders at the same time as individuals who live from month to month on minimum wages. Client demand on bank websites is therefore assuming a broad range of wealth and responsibility. Author's Note:
"These days, it is barely imaginable how one would manage finances without the convenience of online banking services. To put this appreciation of online banking in perspective, and to give away a little idea of my age, I can actually remember physically visiting my small country town bank in Australia, little passport-sized bank book in one hand and an envelope with cash in the other. I happily walked out with the money safely deposited, a new hand-written savings total in my bank book, all stamped, dated and hand-signed by the banker. In between visits I kept my savings in a plastic kangaroo!"
What Color Is Your Money?With the high-end security, seamless functionality specifications and corporate branding then being absolute priority, designers and developers around the world are producing some really pleasing-to-the-eye bank websites. For simplicity, we have collated the showcase by color:
- Red (includes hues of pink for this article)
- Blue (includes hues of purple for this article)
- Yellow (includes hues of orange for this article)
- Gray (includes hues of brown for this article)
Specific Design Elements to Notice:Besides the color breakdown, when perusing through the bank websites there are some interesting design elements worth noticing. Remember that bank websites are generally based on very complex sitemaps that must address thousands of customers (individuals and businesses), security and legal issues, service offerings, marketing and international relations. What we noticed in researching this article was:
- The multiple, often replicated, navigation systems. A lot of the bank websites here include both horizontal and left and right vertical navigation, as well as key 'call to action' navigation 'buttons' via larger modular units in the center of the home page.
- The navigation systems actually steer away from being drop-down lists activated on hover and are more likely to be completely displayed as a list.
- The column grid structure for most of the bank websites is based on at least 4 columns.
- The upper right hand corner is where most banks include the area for logging on to online accounts.
- Steadily, banks are integrating social media into their online presence (please take a note of how many actually have Twitter and Facebook links on their home pages).
- Search boxes are absolutely critical to bank websites.
- Banks showcased here generally try to integrate humor or the 'fun factor' into the user experience. That is to say, online banking is shaking off some of the associations of the financial world being stuffy, old and boring.