It’s been years since we did a deep dive into what I call “site search,” trying to find answers using a banking site’s own search and navigation tools. While things have gotten much better, most financial sites still have plenty of room for improvement (note 1).
And it doesn’t seem like a monumental problem. Even a large bank has how many retail products? 50? 100? Even if five times that, it’s TINY compared to other ecommerce sites. Amazon.com has 9,070 results just for “toaster.”
Consumers should be able to quickly find appropriate banking products by inputting four or five data points: age, ZIP code, family size, home ownership, annual income (for credit products), and average balance (for deposit products). Then, a list of relevant products should be returned in tabular format with a clear link to more details.
To see how this works, stripped of all ads and cross sales, check out the side project of Seattle entrepreneur Adam Doppelt, PickHealthInsurance.com. Users enter four pieces of info: ZIP code, age, family size, and whether they smoke. A few seconds after pressing Find Plans!, the site returns a table of potential choices (second screenshot).
It’s a very Google-like experience, something you can’t say about most banking sites.
PickHealthInsurance input form (14 Sept. 2011)
Plan details page
1. Many financial institutions have sophisticated product comparisons, but it’s not always easy to find the tool to begin with.