UX Research Briefs


Aging and Design (.pdf,  961kb)
The clock is ticking for financial institutions to align their sites with the changing abilities of the 77 million Baby Boomers nearing retirement age. Effective online user experiences stand to be a key competitive advantage in attracting and retaining this affluent, Web-savvy demographic. This brief outlines age-related physical changes that should be considered in the design of a site, to ensure the highest degree of web site usability and customer satisfaction of mature users.

Security vs. Usability (.pdf, 663kb)
Enabling users to reset forgotten passwords online creates conveniences and savings for firms and users alike. At the same time it can open the door to customer account security risks. Prioritizing security measures can also compromise usability, however. This brief discusses the tradeoffs between these two important considerations.

Principle of Least Astonishment (Part 1 .pdf, 248kb ) (Part 2 .pdf, 152kb)
This two part brief is built around the Principle of Least Astonishment, or, the requirement that interfaces (in this case websites) present as few “surprises” to unsuspecting users as possible. Part One addresses the need for hyperlinks to be named and presented in ways that set accurate user expectations and, therefore, contribute to user experiences that neither frustrate nor confound. The second installment looks at orienting website users to their current location through supportive navigation schemes.

Best Practices in Product Selection Tools (.pdf, 1,142kb)
This brief centers around product selection tools. With the abundance of credit card and deposit accounts to choose from, deciding on the right one can be truly overwhelming. Many users require guidance to understand all their options and choose – rather than merely settle on – the product best suited to them. Today, most firms respond to this need for decision making support by offering one or both of these tools on their site. This brief examines the primary criteria used to evaluate these product selection tools, including related criteria and considerations that surround the account selection process.

Effective Error Messaging (.pdf, 1,357kb)
Poorly designed error messaging can decrease online application completions. This brief presents “Dos and Don’ts” of the content, appearance and placement of error messages. To illustrate these design guidelines, examples from current online applications have been included.

Print-Friendly Recommendations (.pdf, 162kb)
Although the Web provides quick and ubiquitous access to whatever information or services we need, experts agree that the majority of Web users still prefer to print out certain information to read, retain, mark up or share with others offline. In recognition of that fact, this brief provides recommendations to help reduce users’ printing frustration and better meet their expectations without any additional effort on their part. The bottom line is that the freedom to focus on task rather than technology is central to effective, satisfying and transparent user experiences.

Alert Messaging: Set Up and Delivery (.pdf, 2,150kb)
Short of abandoning alerts altogether, do Financial Institutions have to sacrifice convenience for security in their quest to thwart phishers and other fraudsters? Not at all. Against the backdrop of current trends in their implementation, this two-part brief series addresses security and usability considerations in the on-site selection and delivery of account alerts.