We have all used a money management app – maybe through our banking institution or a credit score monitor and some may even have been convinced to make room for their insurance provider’s app to take up valuable real-estate on our device. And if you have noticed they all manage to be functional clones – the same old features in the same old layout.

Most (older and more traditional) organizations like to believe they know what the user expects from their app and believe there can be no growth in this scope except features that the institute declares necessary for users – not to blame them for having provided a well-regarded and standardized service over several decades; so much so they have also convinced their users through consistent delivery of their design that every user would believe an ideal banking app for example is supposed to provide – bank balance, present state of credit standing, availability of other financing options, maybe the current interest, loan and forex rates and an ability to view and download statements. That sounds almost exhaustive, right? But how about encouraging user discoverability of other functions that may be available?

Did you know that on average fin-serv apps can provide further information and utility on ways to monitor your credit ranking, report trends in spending and the best available investment options for you based on your spending habits, ability to request a personalized cheque book or even review the privacy agreement regarding types of information that your bank shares with regulatory authorities about you. How come they never encourage users to discover these features?

There are absolutely no notifications when a new feature is added or changed. My banking app recently changed its process for cross-border money transfer and it was only when I received a transaction failure email two business days later and upon my having to call my bank for clarification did I find out that I am required to go undersign an agreement on their website due to a regulatory change. Why couldn’t I be notified of this on the app itself? Some would cite a conflict between ease of use and stickiness as one plausible reason.

Banking apps are fundamentally designed to provide a simplistic alternative to phone or branch banking and having a bevy of buttons each under their own dynamic category would definitely be cumbersome and confusing for users, but, if a regularly used or severely useful feature is added, modified or removed how about the app upon opening would allow you to take 10-15 seconds to walk you through the changes? Likened to the Gmail walkthrough using layered highlights and screen transitions except additionally with a bespoke “Replay” button to go over it once again and maybe include this in the training category usually forced to the very unimportant real-estate at the end of the user’s screen.

How do you get users to navigate to these added features and improve their experience and have them increase the frequency and duration of each interaction?

I’ve generated a walkthrough of the kind of solution I believe would work best to mitigate these irritants (please excuse the low-res GIF of the self-designed walkthrough) – it is a simple notification layer, that when clicked takes you through the screens with a modification on it, highlighting the new features added to the app in a very easy-to-follow method.


prst gif

I truly believe User Discoverability should be just as important as ease of use when designing products – not only does this have a great user experience impact but will also show a significant increase in metrics like user engagement, NPS and dwell time. Certainly, feature releases will have to be maintained under a tighter time line so as to not bombard the user with frequent updates that which become an irritant. And a walkthrough using notifications about new feature releases or at installation of the app would be the most effective method to address the present lack of discoverability on fin-serv apps.

I am yet to see any large financial services provider implement such methodology and it would be interesting to observe how the client base of such organizations react to a product enhancement like this.



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