The Story: USER RESEARCH: HSBC – Canada Market Prototype Testing 

Project requirements are great.  They are the conditions or tasks that must be completed to ensure the success or completion of a project. They provide a clear picture of the work that needs to be done. They’re meant to align the project’s resources with the objectives of the organization. But often time requirements are created without the contributions of the actual user. This makes incorporating the user as you move through each phase of the project more and more important.

Incorporating some form of user testing ensures that you are building an interface that accommodates the needs of the business and the needs of the actual user.

Direct Task Testing was conducted to validate the interface and process utilized by the Canada Marketing Deposit Onboarding interface for HSBC bank.

The Problem

For this effort, a number of prototypes were being developed for a number of financial markets as a part of the HSBC Deposit Onboarding application.  Each market had its own workflow that needed to adhere to the international regulations and governance requirements of its market.  It can cost a lot of money to acquire new customers, so onboarding them correctly in each market it key.

As a result, testing the prototype with the staff that would utilize it was key.

  • Did the interface being developed for the Canadian market reflective of the true Deposit Onboarding process?
  • Did it adhere to all regulations and governance requirements?
  • Did the interface actually improve upon the staff’s ability to work with the client?
  • Was the process clear for both the staff user and the client user?
  • Have we shortened the time to onboard a client or has the time increased?

The most effective way of understanding what works and what doesn’t in an interface is to watch people use it. This is the essence of user testing. When the right participants attempt realistic activities, you gain qualitative insights into what is causing users to have trouble. These insights help you determine how to improve the design.

The Goal

User testing the prototype for the Canadian Market Deposit Onboarding application by:

  • Observing users perform realistic tasks
  • Extract the biggest issues
  • Validate all parts of process are appropriately included in onboarding workflow
  • Using information collected during research to reduce rework during development

The Process

Audience: Canadian Deposit Onboarding Staff (Call Center, Banking Branch, and Staff Management)

Testing Type: Remote Quantitative and Directed Task Testing (via WebEx) as the prototype only had a specific working task flow available.

Testing Protocol: Think-Out-Loud Protocol used

Moderated by: User Experience Manager, User Experience Designer, and Project Manager (listening in)

Remote user testing in a Financial Service environment can often come off cold. You are usually time restrained and you may not have the full support of your stakeholders to take the time to consult with actual users. My goal was to ensure each session was conducted in the exact same manner but make sure the user was relaxed enough to openly share their thoughts and opinions. The testing session needed to feel less like an interview/test but more like a conversation.

Users were provided with a testing guide prior to the session. This guide provided them with the happy path scenario that would be used during the initial testing as not all functionality for the prototype was complete. (Fear not, fellow UXers. It is completely fine to test an incomplete prototype as long as the user is informed throughout the testing process of functionality that may not be available. The information collected in general will still be invaluable to the overall process and prevent you from spending time on design elements that were unnecessary.) A clearly laid out moderation guide was used to so testing could be similar from Market to Market.

The Outcome

Surprise, surprise. We were wrong. Not per say wrong, but our workflow presented in the prototype was slightly off.

Key Findings:

Did the interface being developed for the Canadian market reflective of the true Deposit Onboarding process?

  • Within the Employment Details and Account Usage section of the prototype, there were questions that would prevent the completion of the application process inadvertently. These questions were a part of the onboarding process but should be should be used much later on in the workflow.
  • Throughout the prototype, there was a lack of user confirmation and visibility of system status. Is the document/page loading? Had documents completed upload? Did the data actually get submitted upon hitting the submit button? There was an occasional lack of confirmation for these activities.
  • Some Help Information would be required for certain tasks. Staff required some definitions for various products in order to choose the best option for the client.

What we did right? Did the interface actually improve upon the staff’s ability to work with the client?

  • Staff members were impressed by the improvement to the visual interface. It was cleaner, more interactive and well laid out.
  • Dropdowns, selectors, and other UI elements were easy to use and made the experience far more pleasing than the current command-based, blue screen interface being used.
  • Staff members could now visually see a clear path to onboarding completion and were aware of where they were in the overall onboarding process.
  • Provided access to the CDD Risk Rating within the onboarding application. This risk rating was the key deciding factor for account opening and now the user could easily access it as a part of the onboarding workflow.

The Staff feedback proved invaluable to the design of the onboarding application. The feedback was incorporated into the overall requirements and the workflows were reexamined for the Canada market as necessary. Upon updating the prototype, Staff users were tested a second time and it was determined that the prototype type (with room for improvement) was adequate enough to be used for development and eventually used in the production environment.

As a result of time constraints, the client audience was not tested. However, plans to test this audience and gain an understanding of the customer experience can only contribute to building a better interface and product onboarding experience.

Research Sample:

SFE DCO – Canada Integrated Accounts