What does it take for a small to mid-sized business to adopt a new banking app?

Challenge: Based on feedback in the app store and client support channels, a regional bank identified the need to improve the user experience of a new business banking app (web and mobile) under development.

Primary questions were:

  • Does the current solution address needs of small to mid-size businesses? Will the development plan address outstanding end-user needs?
  • Can some features remain only on web or is feature parity required between web and 2 mobile apps (iOS and Android)?
  • Will it be acceptable to initiate a task on mobile and complete it on web or vice-versa?

 High-level Insights: Small to mid-sized regional businesses (many rural) pay suppliers with complex payment types (e.g., EFTs or wires to international suppliers that do not accept e-transfers)

  • Depending on the type of business, most small-mid size business owners process payments while on the move or in the evenings.
  • Single or joint business owners (“mom & pop shops”) often share a single set of user credentials.
  • Device preference leaned toward mobile first where business owners can bank in between core business activities.
  • The primary pain point occurred after processing bank payments when owners found themselves copying and pasting transactions within external accounting applications.

Impact: The client used research findings to uncover/identify:

  • sentiments around the bank’s product offerings and insights to enable product adoption
  • users’ needs for features on web vs. mobile. Note: features requiring significant data entry were reserved for the web while features with mid-level data processing requirements were added to the mobile MVP (Minimum Viable Product).
  • details of opportunity areas for user flows, page-level interactions, and content enhancements, using the language of user interface developers.

Method: Our team leveraged in-depth interviews and usability testing to uncover and understand motivations of small to mid-sized business owners.

12 interviews were conducted via web conferencing to:

  • Assess needs for various payment types (wires, EFTs etc.) and understand the rationale behind stated and unstated needs
  • Identify which features are best suited for the web vs. mobile by eliciting feedback on device usage based on business contexts, i.e., different questions posed to owners of a bricks and mortar business vs. a digital business or one where travel is required
  • Identify device preferences
  • Identify any barriers to adoption.

Interview participants were also asked to “walk through” semi-interactive prototypes under normal conditions. The goal was to identify if specific tasks or page-level interactions posed any challenges.

  • 1:1 scenario-based usability tests with existing business clients to assess how well app designs enable users to execute primary bank tasks (e.g., process payments) were conducted
  • Was the complete flow intuitive from start to finish? E.g., finding a feature’s entry point through to all potential exit points? Or did some steps contradict users’ mental models?
  • Were all user interface (UI) elements (e.g., dropdowns, accordions, etc.) well understood and used
  • Scenarios (tasks) were tested on the web or on mobile based on participants’ stated preferences.


About methodology used:

Design Research