Tablet Banking

April 30th, 2014 by Julian Barker-Danby | DesignStrategyMobile WebUser Experience

It is hard to believe that the first iPad went on sale just 4 years ago, almost to the day. Since then the growth of tablet ownership has risen exponentially and they are now a central part of many of our day-to-day lives. So what are banks offering on this device?

There are over 300 million of the devices owned globally with adoption in the UK at 36% and rising at around 150% a year.  We have had to throw out the rule book on new technology adoption with the over 55s almost as likely to have a tablet as an 18-35 year old adult (I personally can vouch for this statistic as my parents have more up to date tablet models than I do!).

The tablet is not just another device that we can add to the 11 other types we have access to in the home (can you name them all?!) - it is changing the way we access the internet.  Almost half of new tablet owners use their laptops/desktops less to access the internet and it won’t be long before smartphone and tablet internet access has replaced traditional computers all together in the home.

So with this significant growth in a new kind of device, what are banks doing to help their customers access their products and services on it?  The answer from a consumer perspective is probably not a great deal.

Many organisations make the mistake of thinking that a tablet is just another way of going online (“customers can use the web banking solution”) or another mobile device (“customers can use the mobile app experience”).  The truth is that tablets have their own unique usage pattern amongst customers that needs to be understood.

Take the smartphone.  When you are banking out-and-about, all your interactions are very much task based.  You want to check your balance, make a payment, maybe review one or two transactions in the shortest time possible.  That’s it.  And therefore the experience on the mobile app should be tailored to allow you to do this with the minimum amount of effort as possible.

Now consider browsing online.  You are usually at work and on your own, probably paying bills or researching a new product.  The larger screen allows for more information and the interactions can be less efficient, as time is not such a key factor.

But what about tablets?  According to our research tablets are predominantly used at home, relaxing, while multi-tasking (e.g. watching TV), in the bedroom, living room or kitchen, either on your own or with family.  We use them to discuss and make key decisions, to understanding spending, to plan and budget, to conduct research on new products and services as well as closing a sale.  It’s so collaborative that often it is shared around amongst family members to view content.

So with such a different usage pattern compared to smartphones and computers, banks need to take advantage of this by designing a standalone tablet solution that maximises the customer’s experience over and above what a responsive design could achieve.  Utilising the native functions of the device but also the specific tablet user experience actions (e.g. left and right swipe as opposed to up and down) is also very important and so in my experience an app (usually native over hybrid) is the best way of doing this.

If you need any more convincing, find an organisation who provide a “tablet app” which is just the mobile app but with the screen zoomed in.  It looks and feels completely wrong!

Key takeway
Banks need to create a specific solution for tablet banking for their customers, so that they can to take advantage of the unique usage pattern on that device.

Sources: Deloitte Global Mobile Survey