November 02, 2010

Any more it seems a bank's homepage is a customer's first and primary point of interaction with his or her financial institution. So when it came to redesigning its homepage, Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America listened to what its clients had to say about it.

The bank is in the midst of rolling out its new homepage after a redesign process that began last year, Jamie Armistead, BofA senior vice president in eChannels and director of user experience told Bank Systems & Technology. Among the changes visitors will see at are a new aspect ratio, menu-based navigation and more emphasis on the bank's products and services. In all it's a design shift toward customer-centricity, taking lessons learned from user feedback as well as online retail.

"We definitely looked at online retail sites," Armistead says. "Across the web landscape you see a lot of websites move to menu-based navigation systems. We definitely looked at that and you see it modeled in the new site. We did a number of rounds of user testing and gathered information on that through the design process."

So far in a percentage-based rollout that should hit all Bank of America customers by December, Armistead says the new look has been well-received, and that customers appreciate the additional information on products and services.

"We find that people find it more aesthetically pleasing, but also that they’re finding things they didn’t know we offered," he added.

Among the feedback BofA had received regarding its legacy homepage, Armistead one of the things the bank heard a lot of was the old look was too cluttered. In switching from an 800x600 aspect ratio to one that better fits the wider monitors more commonly used with today's computers, the bank's design team was able to use space better.

"Inherent in that was an opportunity to redesign the home page from scratch," Armistead says.

Beyond account access, the new page features links to BofA offerings customers use most frequently, and some they might not have known were there.

"Access to accounts is still the number one thing people come to our website to do," Armistead says. "But also they want to know what products and services are available to them. We tried to do a better job positioning the breadth of Bank of America."

Armistead adds the homepage is just the first step in an ongoing effort by BofA to modernize its entire website.

"You will definitely see it and feel it over the course of next year and into 2012," he says.