How the latest trends affect credit union websites

The future of credit union website design

Credit union websites are a breed apart. You’re not selling widgets, you’re not providing entertainment or news, and you’re not collecting clicks for cash. Your site is a place busy members go to get things done.

So how do the latest trends in website design and technology affect credit union websites?

Touch devices make scrolling easier than ever

One of the biggest recent shifts visually is sites where there’s one “big idea” front and center, and you scroll for more content. Mobile and tablet devices make it so easy to scroll with the flick of a finger that this technique has become pretty common. As with everything else, there are right and wrong ways to go about it. The main thing to remember is that the additional content has to be obvious and rewarding – there has to be a reason to scroll (a story, an answer, something interesting, interaction), and you have to be able to tell there’s more waiting just off the screen. Apple’s iPhone site does a great job with this, and more credit union sites are starting to follow suit.

Focus and de-clutterfication

This is Marketing 101 – focus. It’s far more effective to say one thing clearly rather than screaming fourteen different messages at once. What is the one main thing you want the user to understand or see on your home page? The more you strip out, the more you can focus. We may even see sites do away with the standard “rotating billboard” banners. And some sites may start to forego large photos in favor of more pared-down, simplified layouts.

Professional Photography

Today’s consumers are pretty marketing-savvy – they know a stock photo when they see one. At the same time, everyone’s got an insanely high-quality camera in their phone, and they know a snapshot when they see one. I think (and hope) we’ll see a resurgence of the local pro photographer who can help you tell your story with compelling, unique, and real images. Credit unions are uniquely local, so local landscapes, people, and events are important elements of your identity.

Touch-first design

Responsive design (where the site adapts to suit the user’s device) is nothing new. The huge increase in mobile usage is old news, too. But this does mean that the focus has flip-flopped – the latest and greatest sites are designed from the start around touch interfaces rather than dependent on a mouse. That means bigger, finger-friendly buttons, menus and other elements that react correctly when swiped or tapped, and even more subtle things like parallax animation effects when scrolling.

Tighter experience integration

Frustrating interfaces are rapidly disappearing everywhere else. I predict credit unions will be doing a lot more work on smoothing out the seams between services. Even if your online banking, bill pay, e-deposit, loan apps, and web site all come from different vendors, they should all be able to work together to look and feel like consistent parts of the same credit union on all devices.

Brian Wringer

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