Thursday, 8 February 2018

When Design Fails User Experience

I rarely comment on matters relating to design due to its subjectivity and sensitive nature of the stakeholders and the fact almost everyone is an expert these days. Even I used to be very touchy about this type stuff until I stopped thinking like a designer and instead, started thinking like a user. In doing so, I finally came to the realization that when Design works, we all win!

I think it’s time we started taking Nigerian banks to task a lot more on their offerings. They charge probably the highest interest rates in the world and possibly the highest COT as well. All of which add up to make them so rich and powerful. A certain bank recently charged N16,000 ($45) on one of my business accounts for “Monthly Account Maintenance”. I’m curious to know what they’re maintaining. The cut-throat nature of Nigerian Banking is alarming. I’ve lost count of the number of Banks I’ve patronized, either to fulfill business or private needs, yet none of them is able to meet my needs on any level. I do not enjoy the apparent disloyalty with the constant switch but then, that’s how the cookie crumbles.

That’s story for another day. today’s however is how another bank decided to debit my account for what it referred to as “Card cost”. I received the notification in November. Needing to carry out a transaction, I simply walked into one of their branches and the very beautiful front desk officer smiled disarmingly at me while I registered my complaint. In her words, “There was a system error that made them debit accounts without ATM cards”. I was aghast! Such blatant lie (fraught with irregularities when you consider the number of accounts that must have gone inactive). Is it your account? What’s the compulsion to use an ATM card? Anyway, she offered to help me locate where the said card was - It should be noted that today (8th of February) makes it 2 months and 16 days since the travesty, and i never received a notification to pick up said card - Poor Customer Service. After a few minutes, she got up and came back with an envelope in her hand declaring that the card has actually been at their branch. I grudgingly accepted to pick it up but made sure to let her know that I did not request for it but only accepted because I desperately needed to carry out a transaction and wanted to avoid waiting over the counter this time around.

So I proceeded to the ATM as instructed to create my pin, but first I was required to follow some instructions to generate an OTP (One Time Password). Without looking, I pushed the card into the machine and to my surprise, it was retracted. I tried again. Same result! At this point, I chose to look closely at the card and I realized my folly (or was it me?) Let’s find out!

The arrows on Access Bank's ATM card exposes a few design flaws

All ATM cards are embedded with a microchip with each bank trying to outdo the other with fanciful designs to make theirs stand out. So I dare ask, what’s the point of the arrows in your brand identity if they can’t be used correctly?

The moment you chose to adopt those arrows as design elements, you must follow through with how it impacts User Experience.

Anyway, after what must have felt like eternity, I still couldn’t generate the OTP as each time I received a “Issuer Inoperative” notification. Another design flaw. I walked back into the bank and was informed that it was almighty “Network” - Nigeria’s most reliable fallguy, who gets the blame for everything from dropped calls to frequent queues at FRSC office to pick up Driver’s License. The overriding question is why make your process reliant on the “network”, when we all know its unreliable? The genius would be how to override this - Design is not pretentious. It should be about creating solutions that are (locally) relevant.

With reference to one of my earlier points, I wasn’t foolish after all. I put the entire blame on the bank. Wealthy but tragically flawed - which happens to be a commentary of our dear nation. Sad.

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