Banks. Not many institutions can derive the same universal displeasure. But the irony is that we not only place all our savings in them but also monitor our investments, bank balances, and transaction history on their platforms. The reality is we rely on them more than we profess.
In 2010, I relocated to Singapore for work. A couple of months later, I opened my first account with DBS. The experience was seamless, easy, but not memorable . This sums up most of our experiences with our financial institutions. Since then, the financial industry has gone through exponential advancement. In early 2015, it exploded with fintech startups and VCs disrupting traditional services and questioning the role of banks in our daily lives.
DBS in the interim has come a long way too. Reports in 2009 showed that they had the lowest customer satisfaction score of any bank in Singapore. But eight years on, they’ve transformed into a regional financial powerhouse by winning Euromoney’s “World’s Best Digital Bank Award,” launching India’s first mobile-only bank, acquiring ANZ’s wealth management and retail banking business, and developing multiple banking apps.
I’ve been using DBS’s Digibank app for some time now, and though it offers the basic needs, it doesn’t do much else. That’s disappointing, as there is so much missed opportunities I’m aware that banks face a great wall of compliance and regulatory issues when handling data, but I’ve noticed a few gaps in DBS’s app user experience that could be improved while still working within these constraints.
Here are three UX/CX recommendations for DBS’s Digibank app.
1. Deconstructing the sign-in experience
(A) When a customer opens the app, they’re taken to a pre sign-in page where they are greeted with a barrage of information.
How can the DBS team simplify this experience to put their customer needs first? They need to start by stripping away the noise by re-organizing the information architecture to focus on greeting customers first and serving their fundamental needs (sign in, locate us, pay now, or slide and see total deposit amounts).
Additionally articles can only be read (and accessed) in the pre sign-in page, which is a very strange, broken experience. It should be available post sign-in too, as it’s a resource reference for customers.
(B) “News” articles should be integrated into the post sign-in landing page to offer a more holistic experience on financial visibility and literacy. Additionally, this component could become a library of information for customers to read, bookmark, and share articles with friends and family.
None of these capabilities (except reading) are available today.
(C) Upon signing in, the customer is redirected to another landing page that says “Welcome to Digibank” at the top.
This messaging is underwhelming and hasn’t changed for over a year. Why not redistribute this prime real estate to showcase total deposits and accounts at the top and make all other information secondary? Additionally, if the page were to attribute a tab-based navigation system at the top, it would help organize the discoverability experience for a customer and prioritize the type of sections that are available to them (accounts, quick links, and news).
2. Smarter search capability
D) You’ll be shocked to find that there is no general search capability within the app. This simple but monumental feature is essential to every business for customers to self-serve, search for what they can’t find, and learn how to navigate within the app laterally, beyond the main navigation.
3. Making transaction history proactive and purposeful
Another area with huge potential is the “transaction history” segment. Currently, the page provides:
- An overview of the total monthly deposits in the last six months
- Available balance, total balance, etc.
- A historical log of transactions in the last three months
On top of these three points, imagine if the app provided the capability to allow customers to tag and categorize transactions to specific groups so that they could analyze their own spend behaviors.
So, we can introduce three segments: overview, categories and spend summary
(E) Overview: This segment provides a granular overview of transaction history by day, month, and the last three months (as it currently does).
But additionally, it could allow customers to “tag to category,” so that their transaction history is more organized, and they can plan their finances better. Pre-filled categories could be created initially to build understanding.
(F) Categories: After customers tag transactions into groups, they can:
- Observe the group total spend amount by month/week.
- Create their own specified groups (e.g. charity, childcare, etc.).
- Access the full list of groups by browsing them at the top (carousel navigation).
Write notes and send a group’s diagnostics to themselves via email or WhatsApp.
(G) Spend summary: In this section, if the customer proactively starts tagging transactions to categories , they will be able to receive a visual breakdown of their spend summary (and the percentage) and the individual group spend by month.
This provides further visibility for customers and enables them to identify which “spend groups” are ballooning over time and determine what they could do to curb specific spending habits. I also recommend an “apply savings marker” feature at the bottom that acts as a notification/reminder mechanism. With this, a customer can apply a self-cap limit to one of the groups (e.g. Shopping – US$300). Once the customer exceeds the limit, they will receive a notification to remind them that they’ve passed the monthly allocation for the spend group and gently prompt them to stop spending beyond that. Further developments may follow.
If they don’t tag anything, all transactions will be tagged under the default category “general”. Therefore, customers should be encouraged over time to start attributing transactions to specified categories to receive valuable data on their spend behaviors.
The recommendations above resulted from my conversations with 21 users (friends, families, and colleagues) who use DBS’s Digibank app. The research gave me insights into the pains, pleasures, and context that gave shape to the hypothesis of a more enjoyable user experience. Similar to my previous Grab article, my usage of the app was on a weekly basis—to send money, check transactions, etc. I’m optimistic, and I hope DBS’s product road map for 2018 will include some of these already (and more) to surprise us in the new year.
A lecturer in psychology in UX, customer success and mental models at General Assembly Singapore. My curriculum and monthly workshops & bootcamp courses can be found here: https://generalassemb.ly/instructors/norman-teh/15177
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