Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Mobile Banking and Usability

We have all lived through an amazing journey to see how fast mobile phones have grown in popularity. Many reasons for this massive growth have been given, ranging from the communication needs to fashion-awareness. One of the reasons for this growth in my opinion is that phones are so easy to use. I know that some people will disagree with me, but fact is that the majority of people use phones without (ever) reverting to a manual, having to go on mobile phone usage training or requiring assistance from family or friend. (Very different to what we have got used to in the Personal Computer Space).

So why is it that phones are so easy to use?

Usability design and testing has around as a formal discipline for the best part of twenty years. Mobile phone manufacturers (all of them) take usability very serious. Every design and every model usually go through rigorous usability testing cycles. Results are fed back into the design and never will a phone be released without a green light from the usability guru's. Industry advances and standards have made big leaps in this space. Techniques like the Mobile Phone Usability Questionnaire (MPUQ), the Usability Checklist for Mobile phones and many others are utilised in the design of mobile phones

Just a thought: how frequently have your mobile banking application and solutions been tested (or designed) for usability? have you contracted a supplier with a track record and capability to build mobile banking solutions that are usable?

I believe that this is the single most important reason why mobile banking applications are not being used as extensively as they could/should be. Most mobile banking applications have not been designed with due insight in and proper application of mobile usability techniques.

2 comments:

Robert said...

You hit upon something I have been saying for a while. Sure all those bells and whistles in the mobile banking and payment apps are great, but all to often the usability leaves much to be desired.

I'm not entirely convinced that mobile payments will garner wide acceptance given the usability challenges with many of the apps and solutions. Let's face it, its easier to swipe a card in most instances. With cards and NFC it's even easier!

Chris Blow said...

Yes I absolutely think this is true. (I do user research). Beyond usability there is also a larger issue of interaction design (IxD), which takes a much broader approach to understanding users' needs and the context in which they will be using the application.

So there is how easy it is to use and then there is whether or not people will actually use it.

Typically (incredibly) this is also left out of the design process.