TSB Bank is an independent 100% New Zealand owned bank with a reputation for innovation, industry firsts and customer service excellence. Established since 1850, the bank is responsible for handling more than $4 billion of depositors’ funds with an integrated internet and phone banking system supporting more than seventy thousand clients throughout New Zealand. We were approached by their Technical Services department and asked if we could help with the user experience and interface design of their first mobile phone banking application which in keeping with their reputation would offer a fresh look at the mobile banking experience.
The Bank was keen for the project to be design led which meant our responsibility was to further develop, refine and execute their original concepts and provide a creative vision that would engage the various core departments and assist with the massive task of realigning the underlying infrastructure to support a truly customer driven mobile service.
The overarching requirement was for a fresh approach and not to copy the usual banking app style that is so prevalent, they weren’t interested in a table based design and they wanted to include a rich set of new features such as bump payment, automatic transfers and payments, push notifications, the ability to open new accounts and term deposits on the fly, and many more. It’s most important feature was the to give the user the ability to heavily personalise the experience, essentially creating their own bank. Interestingly the [my]bank application boasts more than double the features of any other bank app available in New Zealand.
The banks Technical Services department would handle all coding while we provided the UX/UI designs which meant a very close collaborative relationship would need to be established. To complicate this our team was spread across the world during the project, in Singapore, Hungary and New Zealand, so contact was restricted to multipoint Skype video conferencing and other digital collaboration tools such as Cacoo, Dropbox and Google Docs. Near the end of the project Google+ video conferencing was also utilized. This proved to be no problem and in many ways was beneficial since the various time zones meant our team could provide coverage practically 24 hours of each working day.
Whilst the project was to be essentially produced for mobile devices the Bank was also keen to make sure those without phones or tablets could also access the experience via the web. Initially it was proposed that versions for iOS, including iPad, and Android devices be built in parallel, although it quickly became evident that approach would seriously increase the time it took for the product to reach market. A decision was made early on to build initially in iOS and Flex and then port to Android after launch. Metrics also showed that despite New Zealand having a higher penetration of Android powered devices, most of the mobile devices accessing the banks sites were from iPhones along with a surprising amount of iPads.
The [my]bank iOS application was launched in April and has quickly gone on to be another successful product for the TSB Bank with a 4.5 star user rating in the appstore proving the banks commitment to innovation and customer service is alive and well in the mobile age. An Android version is currently in development.