PHILADELPHIA-With a ongoing uptick in banking transactions via mobile devices, Sb1 Federal Credit Union realized that its member experience could suffer without an overarching user interface update.
"We knew that the website needed some updating and given that we now reach most of Philadelphia with our charter expansion, as well as opening two new branches, we wanted to make our first impression and user experience one that kept members and potential members coming back to interact with us," said Sb1's Vice President of Marketing, Diane Childs Heath.
Before updating its website and mobile device interfaces, the 31,000-member, nine-branch credit union conducted an "online experience survey" to better understand challenges and determine improvements.
"Those responses and feedback were used as the basis for discussions internally on what the site design could and should look like," said Childs Heath. "Ease of navigation was our first priority, so streamlining the content became key."
To ensure symmetry and ease of use, the enhanced website needed to be compatible with all smart phone and tablet devices. Sb1 turned to the Barre, Vt.-based web development company L9 for guidance.
"The website is powered by L9's Content Management Software and uses L9's responsive framework, which means pages we create and publish using the CMS are responsive," said Childs Heath. "That allows us to focus on our content and messaging without having to worry about each page is rendered."
Aside from the survey, Sb1 gathered statistics on its mobile users over the last three years and found it hard to overlook an obvious trendline--the increase in members using mobile rom 1.64% to 13.81%. Mobile users now account for 15% of new visits to Sb1's website.
From discovery to rollout, the revamping process took four months. Sb1 was so certain of the vitality of the software that it opted against beta testing.
"We felt confident that our design would be well-received and provide a unique and much improved experience," said Child Heath.
As for scalability in the ever-changing mobile market, Child Heath added, "The beauty of Responsive Design is that it doesn't need to be altered to support new devices and screen sizes. Responsive websites inherently adapts to the screen size of any web browser-enabled device, resulting in customized viewing experiences for all users."
Moving forward, this approached is necessary to remain competitive. According to a February 2012 Pew Research Survey, 45% of all American Adults own a smart phone with 25% owning a tablet. "A positive response in member feedback regarding the ease of navigation and use of our online banking means we've succeeded in our task and received our desired return on our investment (ROI)," said Childs Heath.
Some Training Still Required
While the software was designed to be intuitive, Childs Heath explained that some training has been required. "We did have internal sessions with staff prior to launch to take them through what was changed and how it works on all devices. We continue to receive positive feedback from staff and we ask that they provide continual feedback on what they hear from members so if adjustments need to be made we can respond quickly."
As is the case with most technology upgrades, ROI is first gauged by member feedback, which has been positive for Sb1. "Over the next few months we will closely monitor the number of people coming to the site with particular attention to the new visits and number of online applications to quantify our ROI," said Childs Heath. "Because of our improved site, we've hired an outside company to assist us in increasing our SEO and online marketing efforts. We will also be actively enhancing and measuring our SEO and online marketing efforts."
Utilizing Motion Graphics
Building on the success of platform, Sb1's Vice President and Chief Information Officer Mark Horton explained that the credit union continues to seek ways to improve technologies that can better serve members. This includes a new remote capture program that will launch mid-December.
"We're also working directly with our marketing department to utilize motion graphics on two large LED screens that will face the street at our new branch set to open February 2013, to better improve our marketing efforts. We know that tech-based initiatives are key to growing and maintaining our membership."
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