With research in the UK revealing consumers believe banks have spent too much time on the back-end of their websites and not enough time on the parts people actually use. In view of the fact that Australian bank websites, unlike their UK counterparts, have performed well in customer satisfaction surveys, we decided to take a look at the current state of Australian bank websites and see how they stack up.
Setting the Standard
ANZ in our opinion has been leading the field in the online arena for some time. ANZ recently launching their new global brand which set the tone for their website. Their media release clearly spells out their mission:
“ANZ today launched its new brand identity and positioning to support its super regional strategy and set an aspiration to develop ANZ as a people-focused, uncomplicated bank.“
We believe the redesigned website does a pretty good job of communicating those values.
The placement of the main call to action buttons – Log on / Register – in the prominent top right of the screen and using colours to draw the eye, are in line with “best practice”.
Once you click the “Log on” button you are presented with a very clean, functional pop-up. All links and options you may need at this stage of the process are right there where you would expect them to be, including information about current security warnings.
Leading the Field
The ANZ has been setting the standard for Australian banks, often being the first to adopt new technology. In July, ANZ was the first bank to release a specially designed webpage to coincide with launch of the Apple iPhone mobile device. iPhone customers could view their account balance and recent transaction history using a purpose built version of Internet Banking.
For all the reasons above the ANZ website is our choice as the No.1 Australian online bank.
Coming in at No.2 is the Westpac website. It features a very clean corporate layout with simple tabbed navigation. The content has been divided between five tabs which keeps the navigation from becoming cluttered. The “sign in” (logon) button is placed in a similar position to the ANZ site (top right). The main difference is the functionality. Clicking the “sign in” button displays a dropdown with links to seven different areas of the site.
Clicking through to the ‘Westpac Online Banking’ link brings you to the main sign-in screen. The layout is clean and simple and uses a keyboard style layout to present the log in buttons. Like the ANZ site, the Westpac site has endeavored make the whole process of online banking simple and easy to use.
Our No.3 may have been the Commonwealth bank, however they are about to launch a new site so we will reserve our thoughts on that site until it is launched. Our choice for No.3 is ING Direct. Even though it is still a serious corporate site it endeavors to inject the cheeky personality associated with their brand largely due to their choice of Billy Connolly as the face of ING globally.
The “login” button follows the convention of all the other sites positioning it on the top right of the screen. The secure login screen that follows uses a keypad that employs changing the position of the buttons on each refresh of the page as a security measure.
The freshness of the site is largely achieved through the use of colour. Orange evokes warmth, it’s comforting, spontaneous and welcoming. Additional elements – vector style icons and hand drawn icons – add to the fresh, vibrant, fun feel that is so much a part of the brand. The overall effect works very well. “Well done”, to the design team. They have created a site that manages to combine the security and trust necessary for a banking site, with a warmth, casual appeal, and personality rarely seen in this space.
Michael is a freelance designer and Creative Director of Red Bilby – a boutique design studio in Melbourne, Australia.