I really love the entire product development process, making enterprise applications that truly enable our clients to be successful in their businesses. But one of the things I am most passionate about within that process is delivering beautiful, intuitive and efficient experiences for the users of Fiserv applications – the employees of our client banks and credit unions.
In the old days of IT for financial services, we had green screens and 3270 terminals, and applications weren’t really user friendly. When the graphical user interface was introduced with the Macintosh, it was revolutionary. We thought things were getting easier, but it turned out that the interfaces were often still complicated and not very attractive.
Then came the mobile revolution. All of a sudden, consumers were interacting with the attractive and engaging apps launched for every social media platform and retailer, from Instagram to Uber and Chick-Fil-A. In a world with billions of devices and almost as many apps, customer expectations for the user experience have changed – even in the B2B world.
Fiserv understands this change acutely as we design the next generation of solutions for our client financial institutions. We want all of our business applications to be beautiful, intuitive, engaging and easy to use. And we want to continually raise the bar for the user experience in the products we offer our clients.
We want all of our business applications to be beautiful, intuitive, engaging and easy to use.
As things stand now
Fiserv business solutions save time and resources, and they are continually being refined as business needs change. But new functionality sometimes creates new complexity. For example, in one case, the simple need to change a mobile phone number in a loan customer’s record required a total of 17 steps, including many mouse clicks and the resizing of some windows. Certainly, there was a better way!
Across Fiserv, we are finding those better ways to boost productivity and enhance the user experience. Just within Account Processing, we are designing new user environments for a variety of solutions:
How do we redesign next-gen products to make the user experience better? It comes down to five rules that work together to make products feel modern and become easy, engaging and intuitive. These five principles help us to determine what works, and what doesn’t.
1. Surface what matters sooner.
When displaying an accountholder’s record onscreen, there’s a lot of good information available, but the value can sometimes be hidden. For instance, what if the accountholder is deceased? That’s really important to know if someone calls into a bank or walks in the door claiming to be that accountholder. So, we wanted to find a better way to provide more information showing the user what matters most, in a way that’s hard to miss.
In the redesign, alerts appear as warning pop-ups after the page is loaded, showing information about possible identity theft and other critical matters. We’re trying to show financial institution staff what the problems are and what they need to know about the customer right away, without even clicking, as soon as the page displays.
2. Visuals are better than text.
Bar charts that show trends are better than a screen full of words and numbers. I can look at a graphic, see the trend lines and understand the nature or severity of important changes that are occurring.
In addition to providing such easy-to-digest data, we’re looking for ways to incorporate pictures and emotion into our products as well. For example, in our next-gen auto loan product, a father who takes out a loan to buy a truck for his daughter can upload a picture of her with the new vehicle. He sees her every time he looks at this loan, and he thinks of the gift that he’s giving her. That’s an emotional connection that matters. It’s not just a loan; it’s someone’s life.
We often say that the financial services business is about people, not transactions. Our products need to reflect that.
3. Use progressive disclosure.
The idea here is that we shouldn’t dump all the data on people all at once. We should summarize it, and then let people “dig” for the data they want.
In our redesign, we can click on the first checking account in a customer’s record and get a lot more data about warnings on that account, who else is a co-owner and the most recent transactions on the account. If we really want to dig, we can click on any of those transactions and navigate further.
4. Enable action near attention.
This principle means that we design to allow the user to take action where their attention is already focused. Remember that 17-step process for updating a customer’s phone number? We’re making it simple using the principle of “action near attention.” In our next-gen redesign, you can see the customer’s phone number right there onscreen. To make an update, you simply select the number field you want to change, type in the new number and save the edits. That’s it. You’re done. And you can see right away that the change has been made. It’s much simpler – fewer clicks, fewer windows and more productivity.
5. Content becomes navigation.
Many of the screen pages in our applications have a lot of content, but also a lot of menus you have to navigate through to get to where you need to go.
In our digital next-gen product, things look very different. You have a big page with all of the customer’s accounts and transactions in one place. And virtually every item on that page is clickable and can take you somewhere else. You can click on one of several graphic tiles to jump to a particular account. This is something you often see in mobile apps. Now we’re doing it with web apps. It really makes everything come alive, and it simplifies the work.
The financial services business is about people, not transactions. Our products need to reflect that.
The ultimate goal
Remember: complexity does not equal power. A cash register from a hundred years ago was an incredibly complex machine, but in the end, it really only did one thing. Compare that to a Clover tablet point-of-sale device – not a lot of buttons, and yet it will email you a receipt and run apps for a restaurant owner. Though it’s simple and clean, it actually is much more powerful.
That’s what Fiserv is after as we redesign the user experience: powerful simplicity. The result will be more useful and satisfying business solutions.