HDFC Bank was in the process of revamping the NRI (Non-Resident Indian) Banking section of their website. The proposed redesign was radically different from what users typically encountered on most banking websites.
The Research Objectives:
The UX Labs team was asked to test the design with actual users to obtain answers to key questions, including:
- Was the unconventional interaction model difficult to learn?
- Could customers easily find the required information and products?
- Were existing customers able to adjust to the new design?
- How did the new design compare with the existing design – did it solve existing problems? Was it significantly better?
- How could the preferred design be further improved?
The total sample size was set at 16 users. Users were recruited from various regions in USA and the Middle East, which is home to the largest population of NRIs. Typically, “domain expertise” is an important recruitment criteria since the types and criticality of usability problems revealed, differs across expert and novice users. In this case, “NRI experience” or number of years spent was specified as an additional recruitment criterion, to account for domain expertise.
Customizing Research Techniques:
Challenge: Large geographic area, strict time constraints.
A remote testing setup was utilized for this study, allowing the tests to be conducted in 1/3rd of the time and at a fraction of the cost of live tests, in each location. 16 test sessions with users from 4 different time zones were completed within 4 days.
Challenge: Obtain comparative data to check if the new design worked better than the current one.
The test protocol focused on obtaining metrics based on task performance and ease-of-use ratings on both designs, followed by qualitative interrogation about the new design. The order of presentation of designs was counterbalanced - to control a potential ‘Recency Effect’, where the design tested last is perceived more favorably simply because it is recollected better.
Challenge: Need for a backup strategy in case of complete rejection of new design.
The approach adopted for this study aimed at generating solutions real-time and minimizing turnaround time. Potential contingency scenarios were planned for, so that if after testing 8 users the data revealed major flaws in the new design, quick fixes based on UT observations could be implemented, and the iterated design could be tested with the remaining users. The test protocol was also designed to be flexible – if the existing design showed better results, the focus of probing would shift to reveal ways in which this design could be improved.
New Design Validated
During testing, data clearly revealed that users preferred the new design. The average rate of successful task completion increased from 39% on the existing design to 86.4% on the new design.
Participantsí initial impression ratings increased from 5.43 / 10 for the old design to 7.76 / 10 for the new design. Post interacting with each of the designs, usersí overall experience ratings also showed a significant increase, from 5.2 / 10 for the old design to 8.13 / 10 for the new one.
The overwhelming data in favor of the new design helped HDFC Bank to confidently choose between the two designs based on their effectiveness. The test results also corroborated the value of following a User Centered Design process: The final design, validated and further improved on the basis on insights from the Usability Test, ensured that information was easy to find and navigation mechanisms were intuitive. Furthermore, the research left HDFC Bank with important insights into user behavior helping them serve the users well on not only this site but all other interfaces as well.
The user centered design methodology was once again proven a huge success when post the revamp, HDFC Bank witnessed a 50% increase in website leads for NRI accounts.
" The usability test was well designed, covering almost all parameters of the site like navigational flow, copy, design & also comparison with the existing site. Post launch, this will not only satisfy the consumer but also help us in achieving our desired objectives." -Khyati Shah, Internet Campaign Manager, HDFC Bank