Site Study: Simple Bank
Last updated: March 12, 2020
Many financial websites are overwhelming, to say the least. Not so with Simple. True to its name, Simple keeps its website fresh and clean. It’s something of a palate cleanser after looking at the busy, promo-laden websites that seem to be the norm for most financial institutions.
We’ve compiled some of the things Simple does best, plus a few minor opportunities for improvement, and some tangible ideas for “Simple-fying” your own credit union website.
Simple pioneered the use of white space for financial institution sites, and they are still leading with this approach. The site shows what is important and nothing else, and because the white space is not overused, the site doesn’t look overly sparse. This design is an elegant visual description of the brand itself.
With such a straightforward design, Simple’s brand voice really shines through. It exudes a warm personality and speaks directly to the user, so it feels like a much more personal brand. The website also establishes credibility by showcasing testimonials and reviews from their customers. Simple uses its social proof to convey itself as a legitimate, trustworthy financial institution despite having a purely digital presence.
Easy To Use
Simple has nailed its user experience. The product is simple, the design is simple, and the site itself is easy to navigate. Animated gifs provide a concise visual description of how the Simple software works and what it does, and the software itself is highly intuitive, particularly compared to the rather clunky, cumbersome experience we’ve come to expect from many online banking tools.
Sometimes Almost Too Simple
It’s always possible to have too much of a good thing. While the site does a great job of using white space and only including the essentials, in some instances this approach detracts from usability. It’s not always obvious what content on the site you can click on because the typical signifiers used to visually communicate what’s clickable were eliminated to fit the clean look.
The text in some areas is perplexingly small, particularly in the main navigation area. With so much white space at its disposal, one would think they could easily get away with beautiful, readable text in all areas. No website should force a user has to zoom in just to comfortably navigate to the information he or she needs.
But overall, these things are pretty minor—it’s a dang good site! That said, it’s important to remember that Simple only really offers one product, which is perfect for this aesthetic. It inevitably gets more complicated with the suites of products most financial institutions offer and need to explain on their sites. Simple started with a simple business model and built a website that reflects it. Still, the site is a great example of paring down to only the most essential information and showing it off with clean design.
Be More Like Simple
Look at each of your product pages as though it is the only product your site offers. As you look, remember Coco Chanel’s advice: “Take one thing off.” It applies to clothes, and it applies to busy pages. Pick the item on each of your top 5 product pages that is causing the most distracting noise and remove it (well, unless your CEO will fire you).
If you’re looking to take a bigger step, talk to us about a website redesign!