'Omni-channel banking' - Lloyds Banking Group

'Omni-channel banking' or O.C.B. - an ambiguous label for a commercial banking platform that addresses the needs of large commercial banking customers who have complex and multi-tiered company structures. Imagine a parent company that makes vehicles ... and that parent company having subsidiary companies - one making trucks, the other cars ... and the cars subsidiary having its own subsidiaries - 'petrol cars' and 'electric cars' ... confused?

Client industry / sector: Financial Services
Client location: Southbank, London
Project delivery time: 12 months

Service/s provided: UX consulting


Discovery

As UX discovery phases go, this one consisted of meeting the Product Owner on the project, to gain a broad understanding of the wants, desires and business needs. It involved meeting the third-party product provider team via multiple conference calls - to witness product demonstrations, ask questions and understand limitations early on.

The a key remit of the engagement was to consider and design hypothetical user flows - by the POs understanding - for broad early-stage explorations of what the business felt they needed from the eventual solution. This was to help illustrate and articulate their thinking while guiding from a user perspective.


An image of UX wireframes displayed on a computer monitor
An image of UX wireframes displayed on a computer monitor
An image of UX wireframes displayed on a computer monitor
Image: An elegant responsive and modular solution for handling voluminous tabular information. This design approach considers the instances where there is more important information than can be reasonably handled by a given devices screen real estate. These illustrations show the complex to the straightforward. I designed a floating column on the right-hand side that allows for considerable information management and an easily comprehended 'slide-able' content table across both large and small screen-devices. The solution also allows users to customise table content to suit their workflow - a solution born of limitations on serving permissions-based content - the preferred recommendation.

Challenges

The bank's tendency to purchase off-the-shelf solutions, rather than purposely developing them internally, gives rise to considerable user experience (UX) and visual design challenges. Aligning the visual stylings is one thing but aligning to an acceptable level of user experience (e.g. interaction patterns, flows, navigation, and general ways and methods of the experience) is more challenging.

The team involved in this piece of work lacked an understanding of UX and of design more generally - the importance of it and the value it brings. This led to some areas of concern - being able to properly deliver a level of quality user experience for the product's eventual users, and for their eventual consistency of experience across the bank's products.

The third-party product team, whom were adapting their product's user experience and visual design at my direction (and that of the visual designer respectively), didn't have user experience or visual designers and no inherent understanding of design - they were a development-oriented platform provider. They did have a practitioner producing Axure-based wireframes which were used to develop from. This presented considerable problems as the builds did not reflect the visual style guide, nor the expected and advised UX principles (the aforementioned interaction patterns etc.).


Outcome

The delivered solution didn't align to other commercial banking platforms to a satisfactory level from a design perspective, though the business was content with their product.

From a user-centred design perspective, the solution suffered from being an off-the-shelf product that wasn't cohesive in the wider ecosystem of banking products that its very users moved between. This was due to lack of prioritising time and budget for design in general, itself born of a lack of understanding the value of design. Ultimately, as the project was not UX-lead, only advised, it didn't achieve what it should and could have.


My process

By nature of the project, it was more a case of advising and recommending than hands-on design, or design direction.

I evaluated the product by means of heuristic evaluation - advising areas to fix or change - then working with the third-party's consultant to produce improved interaction patterns, align to Lloyds Banking Group design patterns and improve the offering as best as possible.

I worked up occasional wireframes to advise the solution and establish patterns to be followed.


Case study considerations

The product is either under NDA or otherwise restricted for non-customer view (so very few images, sorry).