Battle of the African bank websites

In digital Africa, where users are increasingly glued to connected devices, banks target consumers through multiple online channels, including websites and mobile apps. It’s no longer enough for African banks to roll out sites with designs and functionality that resemble each other. A unique bank website design has more chance to attract visitors and convert them, as Africans have lacked custom experiences and diversity.

With the increased focus on digitization as a driver for future growth, banks website and mobile apps should be both original and functional. Our data show an increasing gap between the good and bad websites.

Key principles for effective banking website design

1. Maintaining brand identity

Banks put a lot of time and effort into building a strong image that people trust. A brand identity is a part of their strategy, because it assists them in delivering a particular message and gaining recognition. A website can maximize brand identity by following guidelines from the brand book, or from other identity style guide documents. Remember to use logos, fonts, colors, and other design elements specified in such documents.

2. Ensuring accessibility

A good banking website design takes into account the environment in which its users operate. In Africa, internet connections but also data access is still limited. Customers will drop from the website or stop using the mobile app if they encounter issues while performing tasks.

In contrast, a website and mobile app that are power and data efficient will help the bank to win loyalty and trust of visitors. It will also have a better SEO score, and the bank will take advantage of the word-of-mouth marketing.

3. Being functional

The customer journey plays a vital role in the web design. It is the best way to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Your tech team need customer journey maps to visualize the process the customer will go through when accomplishing a specific task.

Gaining that knowledge and leveraging heat maps, your tech team can take better user experience decisions.

4. Extensive testing before you launch

Users don’t want to lose time moving back and forth across your website in an attempt to get the desired information or perform a specific task. They expect to be offered what they want as soon as they open the website.

Leverage emerging technology and research methodology to:

1. Determine what attracts users' attention

2. How easy it is to navigate the website?

3. How effective is the website design? (what % of the respondents is able to complete set tasks)

4. What do respondents think about the new website?

Save money and beat the competition

African banks spent over $17 billion in IT infrastructure in 2017 according to research by IDC. Unfortunately, banks are not building digital platforms (website, mobile apps) that are unique to their business and brand identity. A marginal investment pre-launch to ensure that the website design and functionalities match with customers expectation and experience will ensure success after the launch.

Banks in Nigeria spent over $100 million in advertising and public relations in 2017 across all channels. Leveraging emerging research and technologies such as biometric research (eye tracking, facial emotions) can help them optimize their ad design for online and prints. Research has shown that companies leveraging biometric research for ad optimization can increase their ROI by 7% or more. In the case of Nigeria, banks will save up to $10 million a year while increasing market share.

In South Africa, research has shown that banks spent close to $6 million in a single quarter on ads that bored, confused or frustrated viewers. In a cluttered and fragmented media space, banks should focus on creating engaging and attention-grabbing campaigns but also websites rather than just chasing maximum audience reach figures.

UBA vs ABSA - the battle of the websites

In July, we asked 1678 respondents from Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Ivory Coast to choose between two bank websites the easiest one to use. The name of the banks were hidden to avoid bias and allow users to focus on website interface and content. When asked to pick the interface that is easiest to use, 6 out of 10 respondents chose Absa's interface while 4 out of 10 chose UBA's interface. When asked to give the reason why they made their choice, Absa won because of its simplicity.

Absa interface is a good example of a website that focuses on customer experience and need with ease and simplicity. In our upcoming report: The State of Financial Freedom in Africa, we argue that despite African banks strong performance compared to their global peers, bank customers are not performing well. Banks are not helping them solve pressing financial challenges. We believe that the future of banking belongs to banks that will develop a deep understanding of their customer financial needs in order to help them achieve financial freedom.


KASI Product/Market Fit practice is leveraging the latest visual and eye tracking technology to help our clients perform digital, packaging, logo and advertising design optimization to save money.

1. Uncovering valuable consumer insights is critical to lead your market

2. 95% of product launch failure can be attributed to bad design and functionality

3. Websites & mobile apps are powerful because they tell customers why your product and brand are different.


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