2002 Credit Union Website Usability Issue Ten - Failure to Develop and Adhere to a Web site Growth Plan

It’s normal for a credit union to design a web site with its current situation in mind, but the web site architecture should allow for some reasonable level of expansion. In many cases, after the web site is launched, departments within the credit union emerge that insist upon being included in the main navigation. These items, not identified within the initial architecture, appear as a visual and functional afterthought, frequently crippling usability and cohesiveness that the initial web site had. Make sure updates to your site don't make it look slapped together. The Fix: During planning, identify areas that may be subject to expansion, and prepare a plan to address these needs as they emerge. Build in controls so any growth occurs at an incremental rate. Develop business rules, so that each request for expansion is carefully evaluated and qualified. Lastly, plan regular web-c... [More]

2002 Credit Union Website Usability Issue Nine - Insufficient Web site Maintenance

Something as simple as a link to a missing page can tarnish the credibility of a credit union web site. When links are broken or pages are no longer available, a reputation is at stake and business may go elsewhere. From intermittent outages by third party service providers like home banking, to loan application forms that don’t submit properly, credit unions are quick to point a finger at their service provider. In the end, it’s the member that loses faith in the on-line system. Credit unions need to be as mindful of their web site appearance as they are a clean, bright lobby. Housekeeping applies to all representations of the credit union. Never leave your members hanging looking for information on your site. The Fix: Very few web sites can earn any type of return without proper maintenance. Many credit union web sites have ventured far beyond the “no maintenance&rd... [More]

2002 Credit Union Website Usability Issue Eight - Insufficient Communications Post-Transaction

After a member spends the better portion of his evening rounding up financial records, placing very sensitive information into an on-line loan application and submitting all of it in good faith he receives this confirmation: Thank you for your information, expect a reply sometime soon. This leaves the member staring at his screen, rubbing his temples, wondering exactly when he will have an answer. Unfortunately, this is a very common scenario on credit union web sites and is a poor representation of the personal service that many credit unions pride themselves on. Offer a better thank you and what to expect message after a member submits a form than this one. The Fix: Technology makes it easier than ever to personalize e-mail response forms, so there is no reason not to address your member by name. Next, set the expectation. At your physical branch, does your loan officer take the app... [More]

2002 Credit Union Website Usability Issue Seven - Leaving Dead End Pathways During Crucial Transactions

It’s much easier and less stressful for a member to walk away from an on-line transaction than from an in-branch transaction. Therefore if someone is frustrated with an on-line loan application, she’ll just close her browser and take her business elsewhere. Frustration is most often derived from unclear pathways and unclear progression in crucial forms and applications. Lengthy forms should be divided between two or more pages and present clearly to the member where in the process he is. Aside from a simplistic “next” button, there is often little in the way of feedback for members with regard to where they are in the process, how much work remains, or what to do at any point if there are questions. Keep your members informed of what's going on and what to expect. The Fix: The key to a successful on-line transaction is testing, testing and more testing. What app... [More]

2002 Credit Union Website Usability Issue Six - Positioning the Credit Union Web site as a Narrow Gateway to Services

Clearly there is demand by credit union members to have on-line access to their account information, the ability to pay bills on-line and review canceled checks. However, this is not the only reason to maintain a web site for a credit union. Maintaining this small-picture thinking will only position the web site as a welcome mat for third-party services. Web sites need to spark interest and invite members to return on a regular basis. They need to function as a resource that members refer to and rely on to provide instructive, practical information. Members rely on their credit unions for financial advice, but too few credit union web sites deliver on this member expectation. Offer more than just 3rd party links on your site. The Fix: Change or freshen content at least once every two weeks. Draw parallels between the content on the home page with products or services within, but foremo... [More]

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