Experientia s.r.l

What can others learn from how you identified the need for and created your innovative interaction design?: 

The BancoSmart ATM is people-centered. We looked at the technical capabilities, service offerings and core functions of an ATM,  how and why people use them, pain points, expectations and desires. We thoroughly integrated the research insights into all aspects of the design, improving the technology (transition to full-touch interaction), navigation (quick access to most common tasks, better menu organization) and content (personalization of speedy withdrawal amounts, geo-localization, and tailored service offerings and advertising).

The BancoSmart ATM sees the ATM catch up to state-of-the-art touchscreen technology, and sees personal banking catch up to the latest user experience thinking: self-service banking can be people-centered, with tools that people trust, feel in control of, and are a preferred option to in-branch transactions.

The BancoSmart UX addressed key considerations such as: safety, low/no-learning-curve, findability, legibility & visibility, process understanding, building on existing mental models, and task support. We also overcame banking design guidelines lasting from the era of print communication. Usability tests showed the low viability of existing company-suggested colors for outdoor use in glare situations, the use of the red company color for positive messages, and of messages in capital letters. We proved alternative solutions were better even under worst case scenarios, and convinced the client to move beyond the previous ‘print’ styleguide.

Please describe how the concept for your interaction design came about, what research, information, inspiration, etc. informed it.: 

The project's large research component included participatory design methods such as contextual interviews, shadowing, and card sorting activities to create a navigation structure that fits people’s expectations of where to find features and functions. Other innovative research methods included spot interviews in the street after people used a UniCredit ATM, getting an immediate reaction on their experience. 

Usability and ease of learning were central to the project, so we included spot interviews with elderly people, who might not be comfortable with new technology. We also asked foreigners living in Italy about their experiences using ATMs in a foreign language. This gave us insights into designing interaction flows that were easy to use for even the most challenging users.

Issues that have been addressed include having to reinsert ATM cards multiple times to conduct more than one transaction (the BancoSmart now allows people to complete multiple tasks in one session); confusion over the placement of advertising (all advertising is now in an ad hoc area of the ATM interface); and the desire for greater personalization (personalized content enables short-cuts to amounts of money the user commonly withdraws, and tailored advertising, based on CRM data).

Design choices were complicated as the design needed to run on two different screen sizes (800x600 and 1024x768px), 3+ device manufacturers and 12+ existing ATM models. Testing legibility for typefaces, sizes and color fidelity took quite some effort. The designs then went through multiple cycles of prototyping and testing, and a lengthy beta-testing phase, to ensure that the final results matched up well with the original user insights.

How does your interaction design address unique user interaction challenges created by the confluence of specific user needs, product requirements, platform capabilities/constraints, etc.?: 

In the world of finance, technology capabilities often move ahead of people’s comfort zones. At the same time ATMs are quite costly investments with ROI over multiple years. This required the design to address future service needs, while capabilities also address an established ATM device base by 3+ device manufacturers on 12+ different ATM models. The BancoSmart technology and design solution enabled a provider-agnostic solution working equally across the device spectrum, allowingthe integration of ‘older’ devices into the expanded service capabilities.

In particular, ATMs need to be accessible to people with all levels of computer literacy and comfort with technology. Touch-enabled ATMs need to integrate the core capabilities select user groups have become accustomed to via smart phones or tablets, while also enabling uptake by people with less device experience. Pushing accessibility and legibility upfront while delivering faster geo-localized and tailored selections or choices to the customer helped to address diverse people’s needs.

Why was a departure from existing and familiar interactions necessary in this case?: 

The way people interact with ATMs in Italy has not significantly changed in many years. Navigation patterns added new features onto existing frameworks as banks devised new services, but the overall menu structure remained the same, often resulting in features and functions being located in menu areas that were not intuitive or easy to find. Many service options were hidden with low uptake.

UniCredit had the technology to move to a full-touch machine, but they wanted the move to be more than a simple transition from one technology to another. They asked Experientia to rethink the user experience of the ATM, so that the changes went deeper than simple interaction mechanisms. The BancoSmart is a move to a full-touch paradigm, and it allowed us to “start over” in terms of information architecture and navigation, redesigning the menus from the ground up to maximize findability of features, and to ensure that the most commonly used features were quickly and easily accessible.

As a result, the BancoSmart offers a new way to operate the machine (full-touch) and presents a redesigned menu, in which everything is located where users would expect to find it. Finally, UniCredit wanted to increase the uptake of service use through ATMs. To achieve this, the BancoSmart introduced geo-localized and personalized services. Bill-paying options, withdrawal amounts and optional services are tailored to clients – making it easy to complete multiple transactions, in faster times.

How has your interaction design affected user behaviors and the overall successfulness of the product or solution?: 

The BancoSmart is the first UniCredit ATM with full-touch interaction. The design challenge was to smoothly transition to full-touch, in an intuitive and immediate way, without a learning curve for the wide range of people who use ATMs. At the same time, the new ATM had to improve the time taken to complete tasks, and to increase the service uptake.

Experientia’s redesign uses and updates UniCredit’s visual identity, ensuring a sense of familiarity and trust for clients. But the new interaction design applies the latest principles of user experience and usability, in terms of graphic layout and navigation, and ensures vital functions are easier to find and operate than previously.

The first reactions to the BancoSmart interface have been extremely positive, with people commenting on the increased speed, legibility, appealing graphics, and the improvement in features and functions. Customers have been able to easily navigate the improved menu structure, locating and using functions from simple features like cash withdrawals to more complicated functions like deposits, information retrieval, bill payments and mobile phone top-ups. The interface is visually attractive and easy to read, with large fonts and clear banking function categories.

How might your interaction design serve as the inspiration or starting point for future innovations in interaction design?: 

Our ATM design is just the start of an increasing trend of personalization in financial services. Now that technology has the capabilities to offer personalized services in a secure and simple way, banking offers will rapidly move in this direction. The BancoSmart is an example of how this kind of personalization can also be applied to self-service offers in on-the-go locations, outside of online banking. It is the start of a greater integration across banking touchpoints, leading to the creation of a user profile that recognizes the user and presents a consistent and familiar interface, whether they are using an ATM, their smartphone or their home computer. Another future direction is to guarantee a consistent UX across touchpoints – from mobile to web to various self-service devices – in facilitating mental models and people’s needs at various decision or task points.

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