The transformation of financial services: website design is evolving
First impressions count more than ever in today’s financial services industry.
And within the ever-increasing remit of digitally-enabled services and practices, creating that first impression is much more complex than a firm handshake.
As fintechs continue to grow, more traditional finance businesses are thinking strategically about how to adapt and enhance their digital presence to stay competitive.
As a result, in the world of financial services, website design is becoming a more frequent topic of conversation.
Read on to see 5 of the key trends in financial services website design.
1. Minimalist, mobile-first design
Google algorithms are evolving to favour more mobile-oriented websites.
And across the finance space, more websites are playing to this by adopting clean, clear and clutter-free designs.
The UX is driven by short, benefit-led copy in big bold text, with large buttons for navigation and plenty of white space.
This renders them more touch friendly to fingertips and thumbs, over the pinpoint precision of a desktop mouse.
SumUp’s website is a strong example of this.
2. Streamlined and singular user journeys
Working hand in hand with cleaner, minimalist UI practices is a more narrow, focused user journey.
Many websites of financial services organisations, particularly digital-only banks and fintechs, are positioning their website to take the user in one clear, predetermined direction, rather than distracting them with a breadth of content and calls to action.
The key performance indicator, above all else, is conversion. Not average visit duration.
Many websites like these even have several CTAs leading to the same page.
This website model that favours purpose over choice: understand why a user has landed on your page, then steer them there as efficiently as possible.
3. Editorial-style content and layout
But the new world of financial services website design isn’t all about minimalist, conversion-focused websites.
There are trends occurring on the opposite end of this spectrum too.
A huge variety of different businesses co-existing in the finance sector. The dynamics of a financial services organisation’s website should therefore be determined by one thing: the wants and needs of its customers.
Some financial services industries still have a longer customer lifecycle, which means providing their prospects with educational, and informative content that provides value.
To that end, editorial-style websites—like the Allianz website—are becoming increasingly popular.
This means while you may have fixed elements and motifs that bear recognisable aspects of your brand identity, there is no fixed homepage look and feel or banner image to speak of.
Instead, imagery and content is updated with incredibly high frequency, changing on a rolling basis like a news site or trade publication would.
4. Parallax scrolling/Separation of foreground and background elements
Until recently, this sort of web experience was limited to leaders in the creative industries and masters in digital marketing.
But now, with consumers across all industries demanding more engaging digital experiences, it has begun to drip feed into financial services website design practices.
You might not have heard of the term parallax scrolling, but you’ve probably been on a website that uses it.
3D visuals give separation of background and foreground elements, and the former moving more quickly than the latter provides lift off the page and creates a sense of added depth and movement.
Revolut use parallax scrolling in a very subtle way.
Parallax scrolling does not lend itself to web pages with lots of copy, so it goes in hand with the first and second trends highlighted.
5. Ultra-fast site speed
Slow page load times will directly hit your profit margins.
Studies show that 1 in 4 visitors will abandon a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load, while 46% of them won’t revisit a poorly performing website at all.
Plus, faster site speeds will lead to an improved user experience, and greater recognition and reward from Google search algorithms.
All financial services businesses looking to compete and grow across digital channels would do well to regularly test their site speed.
From there, like most other digital activities, it is a process of trial, error, and refinement.
As well as striving for a cleaner overall site architecture, other ways to prime your website design to be consistently faster include compressing all the images on your website, using smart content loading, and regularly checking your web hosting.
Key things to remember with financial services website design
While it might not seem like an obvious asset in the financial services industry, the look, feel and overall experience provided by your website design will significantly affect how well you can secure business and delight customers.
In financial services, an exceptional website design allows you to showcase your organisation’s commitment to quality, helping your prospects and putting them at ease, while also reaffirming your professionalism and credibility.
If you put the time into getting it just right, your website can be your hardest working business development executive.
Just remember, you should only choose to incorporate the above trends into your own website design if it aligns with the wants and needs of your target customer.
First appearances are everything.