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Down the rabbit hole: user experiences of HSBC, Starling and Revolut websites

Anna Kupriyanova
Some prefer a traditional bank with brick-and-mortar branches like HSBC to handle their finances, others opt for a digital, challenger bank like Starling or Revolut. Whatever the case, scrolling through a page or two of the chosen bank's website is inevitable.

So we ask, if these three banks have fundamentally different approaches to their operations, would the user experiences also differ?

To get quick consumer feedback we used Fastuna's research solution UX Check

Stimuli: Websites of three banks: HSBC, Starling, Revolut.
Target: United Kingdom, male, female, from 18 to 65 years, 100 respondents per website sample size, 300 respondents in total.
Research Solution: UX Check — a ready-to-use research solution by Fastuna (online survey).
Is navigation on your website user-friendly? How does your website's UX compare to that of your competitors? With the UX check research solution, you can test websites, prototypes or app web layouts. Getting actionable results only requires 15 minutes of your time.
There is no point making a mystery of this: in all three cases, the scores are excellent. All is well with the UX in the banking world, or so it seems.
UX comparative score - Fastuna's research results
We can look at the analysis chart below to see what went right (the ease of use, believability, and appearance), and not so right (desire to tell others). Word of mouth may not be the best marketing tactic for these banks to lean on but everything else looks good. Still, our investigation goes on.
We asked our respondents to perform a task:
"Find a section of the website where you can apply for a card, and reach the page with a start of the application process."

Here is how they did.
The completion rating looks even better than the UX comparative score. But there is more to the story. Let's take a look at the ease of task completion.
Now this is not so perfect. While the general UX scored high and the overwhelming majority of respondents managed to complete the task, it was difficult to do in all three cases.
What happened here?

The comment section is our treasure trove of insights. We asked the respondents:
What did you find inconvenient or didn't like?
Quite a few steps to actually apply for a card. If you've made your mind up beforehand you should just be able to apply straight away. - Male 47 (HSBC)
Too many pages within pages, I felt like I was going around in circles. - Female 63 (Starling)
There was too much going on making it difficult to know where to navigate. It just seemed to be full of adverts for their services without clear direction as to how to reach them. - Male, 42 (Revolut)
In all three cases, the most common issue reported by the respondents was clutter. Too much information on too many pages. Other issues included the confusing font sizes (Starling), barely noticeable "apply" buttons (HSBC), and the sleekness of design that led some users to feel like it was a scam website (Revolut).

So, let's not judge the whole website by it's main page. A pretty layout doesn't automatically translate into high usability. And getting real people to provide feedback can bring unexpected and not-so-obvious insights.
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