Usability of internet banking applications matters – for some bank clients it is one of the decisive factors for choosing their bank.
Banks often try to minimize client visits at branches through prices set in favor of using online services. For active clients internet banking is one of the key channels for banking transactions. Its usability and the overall quality of user experience are therefore vital.
According to Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, 15% of the Slovak population used Internet banking in 2007 – a higher share than in the neighboring countries. These clients are lucrative for the banks, since Internet is accessed disproportionately not only by the young but also by people with higher socio-economic status.
In 2007 Pizza SEO began working on rating Internet banking applications of Slovak banks. Our methodology is based on the so-called user personas technique – we created three fictitious but representative users who attempted to complete specific tasks in the various Internet banking systems.
As a result we defined 60 indicators used to test applications of Slovak banks. The list of indicators along with our resulting rankings of usability of Slovak Internet banking applications will be published at the end of this exercise.
Our check-list focused on two aspects of usability: efficiency and errors since these were the easiest to measure objectively. We evaluated to what extent the functions we identified as necessary can be easily accessed by a regular user and whether the application can withstand user errors (ability to enter data in varying formats, etc.). For selected tasks we tracked the so-called click distance (number of mouse clicks required to complete task). We based our methodology on several international research reports on the importance of individual functions and features of Internet banking applications.
Pizza SEO is financing this test – we rejected the option of being supported by banks themselves, to avoid conflict of interest. This is one of the reasons why the ranking has been so long in the making.
However, while testing each application our consultants have come across a variety of interesting aspects, pleasant and unpleasant surprises. We are therefore publishing a brief videocast (in Slovak) on each of the banks. Some of our findings may be of interest to developers of online banking applications but many are relevant to other types of applications and will therefore be of interest to a broader audience.
We released the first videocast on Komercni Banka on 7th May 2008 on our Slovak blog, several others have followed and we will release several every month. The ranking table of all banks will come at the end and will be provided in Slovak and English. We look forward to your comments and experiences with Internet banking in Slovakia and in general.