FinTech is growing and evolving rapidly in all corners of the world. With more and more financial organisations investing heavily in technology and new products and applications, the market for FinTech has never been more busy, or lucrative. FinTech products can range from banking apps, to company-wide installations, or trading platforms etc. While the range of products is vast, a common feature of many of these products is that they can be difficult to design and build, having to comply and work with a set of rules and regulations, governed by different bodies depending on countries and regions, and being a part of an industry that's historically been well guarded from outside influences.
Bringing UX to FinTech
User Experience Design is the art of building user-centric products, where the product not only accomplishes the required goal, but does it in a way that's intuitive, efficient, and even enjoyable to the user. It is not limited to the user interface creatio phase, but spans the entire software creation process, at each step ensuring that the product being designed provides the best experience for the user. Bringing these concepts to FinTech can be somewhat challenging, especially due to the specialised nature of FinTech.
While FinTech products can range widely, enterprise FinTech focuses on products to be used by financial enterprises to manage their day to day transactions. Many enterprises still operate on legacy software, or multiple products that while being customised don't really cater to their specific needs. This leads to many issues including poor integration, an inconsistent user experience across different platforms, multiple authentication requirements, inaccurate and outdated data, and an overall miserable user experience.
What are the challenges to Enterprise Fintech UX?
To build a product that serves and delights a user, we need to first study and understand the user. When we can truly empathise with the user and their requirements we can build a product that caters to their specific needs. To achieve this level of understanding, we need to also study and understand the domain the product is being built for. Essentially, making the UX specialist a financial specialist as well. Given the many, many nuances of the financial world, garnering this knowledge is more than just a few days' work.
Product owners not users
Another massive issue faced by UX engineers is that they are not given access to the proper people. Rather than have us work with the people who will be actually using the product on a day to day basis, many financial enterprises tend to build steering committees to manage the building of these products. While these committees will have some insight into the requirements, and a good authority on budgets and timelines etc, when it comes to the day to day functionality of these products, they are not your best resource... that would be the people who's bread and butter is the running and using of these products. The ones who's lives will be made easier if we can actually talk to them and build a product that matches their needs.
Misjudging users grasp of technology
As discussed previously, some financial enterprises are still using legacy software, or multiple applications held together by hope and duct tape. Given this scenario, many users have not been keeping up with emerging technology trends, and are sadly outdated on the latest web and application concepts. While you may design your application with the latest and greatest findings, these can be quite alien to your audience and increase the amount of complexity in their life.
Extremely high dependency on accuracy
Nothing gets people as riled up as when something happens to their hard earned money. Every single element of an enterprise FinTech app needs to be built with that in mind. It's not like placing an order and then finding that the app hadn't updated that the restaurant was out of spring rolls. Data and information needs to be clearly labeled and refreshed within milliseconds.
How can we address these issues (and why should we?)
We need to face the reality of the situation. Whether it's with good or bad UX, FinTech products will be developed, and users will be forced to adapt to them. But what can good UX bring to the table here? Simply put, good UX is the difference between users groaning loudly when they get up on a work day, or... well groaning a little less loudly because at least their software won't give them a hard time. Having software built with users in mind and integrating domain experience where required gives your enterprise an unprecedented edge. Helping to stand out from the competition. Some of your new products may have customer facing modules, which can induce organic growth by giving your customers a great experience.
This is not an easy gap to bridge. A UX team will need to work hard to overcome the issues discussed above, in order to build a product that can truly delight the users. The return on investment however in terms of, increased profitability, employee retention, and customer satisfaction, make the journey and cost very worthwhile.