The Intelligent Finance (IF) website, located at www.if.com , was developed by the Halifax bank, The Union advertising agency and VISION Consulting. Throughout the project User Vision provided valuable usability consulting and testing input.
“The bank’s website is intuitively designed, tightly integrated and supports an excellent timesaving and error-checking applications interface,” said the reviewer at uk.gomez.com.
Gómez, a leading provider of e-commerce customer experience measurement, went on to say that in the ‘Ease Of Use’ category, where if.com excelled, “account application and enrolment is easy, the site provides a useful demo and customers can perform routine tasks efficiently.”
As with all User Vision projects, the web site development for Intelligent Finance was customer-centred. We worked closely with the front-end design and development team, advising them and the client on areas of potential usability problems. Over eighty usability testing sessions were run with internal and external subjects. Most of the testing sessions were videotaped for post-test review, providing valuable insights for the client and development team. Problems identified were prioritised, and solutions were developed in later versions of the web site.
Intelligent Finance Chief Executive, Jim Spowart said: “This investment in testing the usability of our site has been extremely worthwhile. We are currently experiencing around 54% of our business through the internet which is a far greater usage rate that we had originally anticipated. Our pre-launch predictions were that two thirds of the bank’s business would come via the telephone channel.”
In the aim of continuous improvement, these tests are continuing today, many months after the launch. Anyone interested in participating in the Intelligent Finance usability testing programme should contact User Vision.
Intelligent Finance is now the UK’s largest internet and call centre bank, employing over 1400 staff members. The bank offers customers a range of banking services by phone, over the internet and by WAP-enabled device.
One of the unique selling points of the new bank is that it enables customers to aggregate balances between accounts in one plan, thereby minimising interest charges and maximising savings.
Since launching its internet service on November 30th 2000, the banking applications through the IF website have exceeded expectations, a result due largely to the efforts of User Vision and the entire development team working to improve the user experience. User Vision is proud that this comparative study has recognised and valued the customer-centred design of Intelligent Finance.
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This article was written by Chris Rourke. Chris is the Managing Director of User Vision, a usability and accessibility consultancy that helps clients gain a competitive advantage through improved ease of use.