Designing The Bank of the Future

Brian Gillespie and Lee Moreau of Continuum explain how they designed BBVA's service offering both in physical spaces and in digital channels…

Warning: liveblogging

Prone to error, typos and crimes against grammar. Post will be updated and corrected during the talk and over the 24 hours afterwards. 

Brian Gillespie and Lee Moreau

15 minutes to condense three and a half years’ of work…

The most important element of improving people’s lifes is understanding those lifes. Understanding people is fundamental to creating great design. “Value” is a word that’s used a lot – but it’s about people not money. You also need to understand experiences. We did a lot of prototyping and we’ll talk about that.

There were some fundamental challenges for retail baks. No-one trusts them since the financial crisis. They keep adding channels to their experience – but no channels were removed. They were trying to integrate legacy physical channels with new digital platforms. New business models are encroaching, from Square to crowdfunding. BBVA is a global bank and the second biggest in Spain, and the largest in Mexico. Their brand is fragmented, though, and the systems of banks they’ve acquired don’t interoperate with their own systems. The inconsistencies between the ways people behave in different economies are a challenge.

They explored how people behaved in 10 different economies, and use that work to develop personas. They used the same data to build market segments – which gave the ideas more power within the corporation. Everyone is trying one of two things with banks – getting stuff done, or planning for their financial well-being. Historically, the bank – the branch – was the place where all the promises of the bank came to be. They’re like temples. Their work led to the bank reversing that thinking, and putting the customer at the centre, not the piece of real estate.

Not every persona interacts with every channel equally. They built a map to create a series of stories to illustrate each persona’s experiences. From there, they started to build out the UI experiences, beating out the problems, and bringing customers in to test them. They created a set of service/systems guidelines – but also UI guidelines. “Consistent”, “seamless” and “integrate” are all used all the time – but almost too much. Have your system be smart enough to understand that your customers are channel agnostic. You give them more – they’ll use more.

The Easy Bank system split “my money” transactional business from life planning, into two different types of spaces. They build successive prototypes of those spaces, initially to test the service scripts and then to test against those personas, so they included other spaces – like people’s homes, in that experience prototyping. These could then become socialisation tools within the bank – so people could experience it live, or via simulcasting.