What do a Chevy Camaro and Online Banking Have in Common?

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31 August 2010
Jacob Jegher
On a recent business trip to Atlanta, I arrived at the rental car lot and there were almost no cars to choose from. I use National's Emerald Aisle service and the manager kindly pointed me to a brand new Chevy Camaro parked off to the side. It's not my kind of car, but I figured it would be entertaining to try it out, and I was drawn to its bold exterior styling. I drove the thing around for a couple of days and I concluded that I really disliked it. The Camaro's engine was impressive and it zipped me along (as much as you can zip around in Atlanta traffic) with little effort. However, I couldn't relate to the car once I was sitting inside: - The front and rear windshields were raked in a way that reduced visibility - The pillar on the driver's side just behind the seat belt introduced a mighty large blind spot - The radio controls were awkward - e.g. the buttons to scan radio stations were in the middle of all the radio buttons, making them very hard to find while driving - The steering wheel had the same look, grip, and feel as a Chevy truck I could go on, but I think you get the point. The entire experience got me thinking about how online banking is in a similar state. Under the hood, banks have pretty powerful systems that can process loads of transactions and scale to thousands of users. Many bank web sites have been redesigned to be visually appealing. However, once users are logged into online banking they are faced with a customer experience mess. You can't put lipstick on a pig. Whether it's a car or online banking, firms need to pay more attention to how users interact with a system and emphasize the user experience. This is achieved by engaging usability experts, human factors engineers, and of course, hands-on research with customers. There are many ways to approach this, and I invite you to view a previous blog entry, Can banks increase online banking use by "making it fun to do?" in order to get you thinking about what this means. What do you all think? How can banks improve the online banking experience?

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