March 09, 2015

Web Design Best Practices for Financial Service Companies

Web Design Best Practices for Financial Service Companies


Financial service companies cannot overlook the benefits associated with an engaging, customer-driven, and thoughtfully designed website.


A compelling online presence can differentiate your company from the competition by communicating your credibility, trustworthiness, and authority in the industry. It can attract new prospects, increase conversions, and lead to higher rates of client retention and satisfaction.

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In short, it’s an absolute necessity in today’s marketplace, and one that we advise our financial service clients to embrace.


48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business -- read more: 10 web design statistics


To that end, here are the five best practices in web design for financial service companies:


  1. Understand your customers and speak their language. Your customers’ needs, interests, and goals will inform the design decisions you ultimately make, so aim to understand them. Who are your customers and what do they want? What obstacles are they facing? How does your company enable them to achieve their goals?


For example, let’s say your clients are corporate executives interested in retirement planning, tax incentives, and investment management solutions. In that case, your design should be simple, professional, and easy to navigate, and the content you publish should focus on those interests. Align your site navigation and calls-to-action with the problems and opportunities faced by your core user persona. Finding this alignment means creating an information architecture and thinking through website wireframe with a focus on content and messaging that will motivate your core constituency.


  1. Publish authoritative content. Successful financial service websites are engaging, informative, and content-driven. We recommend publishing content frequently, and offering a mixture of feature stories; informative visuals; curated third-party content; videos with tips and tools; and analysis on the issues and ideas driving the market.


Again, you’ll want to cater your content to your customers. If you’re targeting large corporations, consider publishing in-depth analysis on complex issues; high-level advice; and reporting on the latest industry research.

For lead generation, ensure you have gated content that is inspiring, useful and helpful to your core users. Identify what keywords they use in searches to find your website as a means to better understand how to improve your messaging, page titles, topics and descriptions of the gated content.

Ensure your content has calls-to-action that are clearly visible on the page. Calls-to-action include buttons that lead to gated pages, lead generation forms, social sharing icons, email subscriber forms, download buttons, progressive profiling forms, click-to-call phone numbers, video demos and email-to-a-colleague forms.


  1. Embrace visually engaging images. Rich imagery fosters an interactive and personalized user experience. In the finance industry, we’re seeing a distinct shift away from generic stock photos, and towards images that speak to the lives people aim to create.


For example, our financial service clients are finding success with images of people thriving at work, spending time with their families, and creating new experiences. Forget overly used stock photos--you know the ones. Find imagery that helps differentiate you--not makes you look like a copy. Also, consider unlocking your data and building well-designed charts/graphics and information graphics. If your company is data-rich, perhaps your website should be as well. Attractive and well-positioned imagery can go a long way to make a strong impression--as well as tip the scales from good to great with web design.


  1. Responsive design. Responsive design ensures an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices. Our increasingly mobile world means that customers are interacting with their banks and financial service providers from their desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. We encourage financial service companies to adapt to this new reality, and incorporate responsive design into their strategy.


40% of people will choose a different search result if the first is not mobile friendly. --Skillcrush


  1. Consider – but don’t necessarily follow – the trends. The biggest trends in web design right now are flat design; full-bleed images; card-based design; minimalist and simplistic design; creative navigation menus; and bold typography.


Although these design choices will result in an updated website, not all of them will be right for your company. We recommend working closely with your developer, evaluating the pros and cons of each trend, and choosing the ones that make the most sense for your brand and customers. As the web advances, more tools will be available to help your organization stand out from the competition. Your design team should consider what technology and interactivity will help and which won't.

Learn more:


  • 10 web design statistics - "48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business" -- credit: SME Website Statistics. February 27 2014. Rareform New Media.
  • Skillcrush, 9 Mobile Statistics That Will Make You Learn Responsive Web Design, https://skillcrush.com/2014/11/11/9-mobile-statistics/