UX Case Study on HK Banking Apps: How to make tedious banking procedure simple?

01 Preparation

  1. Introduction

Banking is often considered as a tedious process by users. With the advancement in technology, more than 1 billion people has emerged themselves to the mobile banking system by the end of 2020 (Juniper Research). However, not everyone has made full use of the apps, or even feel satisfied of the apps. In order to make banking app simpler and more widely used by Hong Kongers, this UX case study is conducted to address the user’s pain points, as well as seeking innovative and feasible solutions based on our findings.

2. Team members

We are two Hong Kong UX students starting our research on this topic within 1 week from 22–25 February 2021.

3. Research Process

Our objective is to find out:

  • reasons for using the banking apps;
  • frequency for using the banking apps;
  • users’ comment on physical and virtual banking;
  • different problems faced by different users; and
  • improvement to be proposed for the problems

Assumptions

After setting up our objective, assumptions are made for what users do or know and what they don’t do or know.

Online and Offline Research

After doing some online and offline research (please find the links from the references), we learn about :

  1. The current user trend in banking app (such as the demographic information regarding the app usage in Hong Kong. )
  2. The research methodology (such as reference in the setting of survey and interview questions)
  3. Research results in other countries

Comparison among local banking apps

Comparison has been done among 5 Hong Kong Banking applications, namely BOCHK Mobile Banking, Heng Seng Personal Banking, Citi Mobile, HSBC Mobile Banking app and SC Mobile Hong Kong.

By comparing the applications, some pain points and different features have been observed as reference for the research and survey. It is interesting that the Citi Mobil, which has both high ranking and good feedback from the users, offer reply in Apple Store with sincere replies.

Development of Interview and survey questions

Based on the research, 20 and 7 questions have been included in the research and survey respectively. The interview focuses on more specific questions such as what are their rationals behind using banking app instead of the physical banking app and their expectation towards the app.

4. Targeted users

According to Finder Statistics (as shown below), there is a majority of Hong Kongers at around 18–44 years old using the banking app. Thus, they are targeted in our interview and survey.

02 INTERVIEW & SURVEY

5. Interview — Respondents’ information

There are 7 more interviewees as compared with our target number. The interviews are conducted either in person or online.

6. Interview — Findings

To conclude, all the interviewees adopt the banking app because of its convenience service offered without any limitation as compared to the traditional physical experience. Among the interviewees, almost half of them has encountered difficulties on the App without any efficient support from the CS. Even though there are many services offered on the apps, most of the users want a clean app that is easy and clean. What makes it worse it that the complicated interface makes users confused easily. Most users complained about missing functions which already exist in the app.

7. Survey — Overview

The survey has been launched for 2 weeks on our personal’s social media and shared among the communication channels in our school. 27 responses have been received.

8. Survey — Results

According to the information collected, even though 37% of the users have 2 banking apps, about 60% of them use the app less than 3–4 times per month. Although there are many functions equipped in the app, most of them only use the 3 major functions in the app, namely bank overview, money transaction and credit card payment. They also complain about the unclear explanation, interface and the login process.

03 ANALYSIS / IDEATION

9. Analysis Method — Affinity Map

In order to address the pain points and other important information from the interview and survey, affinity map has been adopted. After we

10. Ideation Method — Crazy 8

After that, Crazy 8 was done for idea generation.

11. Findings

The following information has been highlighted for the next step.

04 SOLUTIONS

12. HMW Questions

#1 How might we improve the navigation for users to utilise the banking app smoothly?

Problems

Complicated interface

  • confuses users
  • is hard to find the desired service
  • make it difficult for the users to utilize the app to the fullest

Solutions

  • Personalized homepage
  • Bookmark function for 6 favorite service
  • Simpler interface

#2 How might we improve the log in procedure?

Problems

  • Complicated log-in procedure
  • Difficult for the users to remember password
  • Users’ account being locked after a few wrong login

Solutions

  • Login with fingerprint or face ID
  • Advise messages before locking and the last time changing the password
  • Link to problem solving session

#3 How might we let users understand all the contents?

Problems

  • Unclear instructions
  • Too wordy with financing jargons that are hard to understand
  • Without proper explanations

Solutions

  • 3-steps simple flow
  • To keep things short
  • Instruction from user’s perspective

#4 How might we let users understand all the contents?

Problems

  • Process is too tedious
  • No CS support immediately after problem occurs
  • Require repetitive input of information

Solutions

Transfer

  • With searchable category of paying bills/credit cards/tax
  • Show top 5 frequent receivers
  • Schedulable transfer (auto pay)
  • Synchronise contact book
  • QR Code
  • Wireless transfer

#5 How might we improve the support to the users?

Problems

  • Hard to find out answers in app
  • Many issues ending up in call for hotline or a trip to the physical bank

Solutions

  • Interactive (and replayable) introduction tour for new users;
  • Ring the bell — 24/7 chatbot support>online chat inquiry,
  • If online can’t help with, provide phone call button to reach CS directly from the phone .
  • “Ring the bell’’ to be displayed at the right bottom of every page.
  • Simple 3-steps illustrated instructions & explanations on features and products

05 USABILITY TEST

13. User Flow

In order to check rather the solution works, a user flow has been done to clarify the additional features.

13. Users’ Feedback

Afterwards, the interviewees are interviewed again for their feedbacks on our revision. Here are some of their comments.

14. Features Users Favour and Dislike

As a conclusion, most of them like the overall design. However, some has doubt about functions such as auto transfer, 6 favourite functions to be bookmarked and the many options for money transfer.

15. Revision to Solutions

In order to fulfil the users’ requirement, modification has been done on these function with more features.

06 STORYBOARD & SUMMARY

Here is a scenario for the improvement which can be seen after the polished app, EZ banking is used.

Summary

With the limitation of the physical banks such as the short working hours and long waiting hour for banking service, more Hongkongers are seeking alternatives. Banking apps in this case solve the problem, offering easier access to normal banking service. However, due to the banking jargons and the traditional tedious banking procedure, it has created a challenges to the current banking apps to go viral.

After conducting researches such as interviews and survey, we have learnt the following:

  1. Stay simple, even if there are many functions. To keep the main page clean while offering more education to the users regarding how they can maximise their usage of the app.
  2. Keep the record, avoid repetitive input. Some record which needs to be entered repetitively shall be recorded in order to minimise the time and effort for input.
  3. Language matters, make it human. Banking jargons can be intimidating. To make instruction and category understandable is what make people widely use the app.
  4. Simplifier login, no one can give you any comment if they can’t even start their app. Security is undoubtedly very essential. So, strive a balance between the convenience and security. Try blockchain for safer login.
  5. Provide real “CS support” not only the buttons. Offering words but not action is not sufficient. Quick and effective service does not only benefit the user experience but also raise the reputation of the bank, as well as the drop in administrative fee for unnecessary misunderstanding.

It is hoped that more in-depth research can this interesting topic as update and follow-up, such as the preference for different gender, age-group or nationalities in order to benefit more future banking app users and banks.

Shall there be any problems, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ocean Fung — tenrai113@gmail.com

Ann Hui — hui.wai.shuen.n@gmail.com

References

Sharma, Deepak. (2014). Analysis of Problems Faced by Customers during Use of Internet Banking.

Wan, Wendy & Luk, Chung-Leung & Chow, Cheris. (2005). Customers’ adoption of banking channels in Hong Kong. International Journal of Bank Marketing. 23. 255–272. 10.1108/02652320510591711.

https://asianbankingandfinance.net/banking-technology/news/third-hong-kong-adults-have-digital-bank-accounts-in-2025-study

https://www.finder.com/hk/virtual-banking-statistics

90s Hong Kong girl interested in UX/ UI. Graduated from Master in Translation and Interpreting and another Master in Corporate Communication in Hong Kong.