UX Evolution: next-gen design for financial services

The financial services environment is now a digital one and companies will win or lose by the strength of their user experience.

Author: Clayton Locke

Digital finance solutions and  tools 

Everybody knows a great software interface when they see one. Apple’s Aqua had it –  the interface that arrived with Mac OS X in 2001 made everything else obsolete overnight (so deliciously appealing it was described as ‘lickable’). Microsoft’s Bob, a mid-nineties attempt to reimagine the home computer as a living room, most definitely did not.

But what is it that makes great interfaces great? What is it that brings together all the different elements like mental models, language, colour, spacing, type, illustration and animation into something more than the sum of its parts? 

Aqua had it, Bob didn’t

Digital financial servicesThose are the kinds of questions we’ve been asking ourselves recently as we worked on a root and branch update to our UX vision – the guidelines and principles that will direct the next generation of Intelligent Environments software interfaces.

The financial services environment is now a digital one and companies win or lose by the strength of their user experience. Brand, features, functionality, products, services and people are all part of that user experience but users encounter all of them through a keystone software interface. As Macintosh pioneer Jeff Raskin said,

“As far as the customer is concerned, the interface is the product.”

We’re committed to creating the best digital finance solution and tools for our customers that can wow in that environment. That can’t happen consistently without an organizing force, so our UX vision is there to provide guidance for the thousands of individual design decisions that are made during projects.

In creating our next gen UX vision – UX Evolution – we’ve been looking at best practice and current or emerging trends, looking again at what’s really important to our customers; what we’ve learned from our work and our user testing; and looking into the future and trying to anticipate what challenges and opportunities might be waiting for us.

And above all we’ve been looking for the secret sauce – the organizing principle that blends all the different ideas and elements together into a single coherent entity.

The guiding principle for Intelligent Environments’ UX Evolution is a set of values; fresh, tailored, human.


Freshness is the difference between driving a used car and driving one that’s brand new. We want our interfaces to feel like they were designed today.

Freshness comes from great design, and from embracing each platform and making the most of whatever it can offer. Android and iOS are not the same and aren’t supposed to work in exactly the same way.

As those platforms become more powerful we need to make the most of that power by applying the subtle movement, acceleration and ‘weight’ that can guide users and bring interfaces to life.


Tailoring starts in development by making sure that we’re always involving, observing and questioning users. Tailored products are built for the way customers think and act.

But it’s also about making personalised products that continue to tailor themselves after development. After they’ve been deployed or installed, by making intelligent use of what we know about individual users – not just who they are, but where they are, what the weather’s like and so on – and what they want, so that their experience is relevant and adaptive.


Being human is about respect, empathy, security, and confidence. It’s about connecting with people so that a user and the organization they’re dealing with forget about the computers between them.

This is especially important in our world because finance and its services is central to our lives, and can be such a source of stress – for everyone involved. A human approach makes us feel as if we’re being treated fairly, being heard and that our situation is understood.

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