Web Design Trends for 2017: A Primer for Financial Services

Justin Mould

Managing Director

Fin International

Last month we carried out a research project, to see how ‘on-trend’ corporate website design is throughout the financial services sector.
Each year we’re faced with a glut of promoted trends and recommendations from magazines, blogs and content providers. We’re advised to take note of these in order to keep-pace with design development and consumer expectations.
From December to February we like to keep an eye out for these end-of-year lists and New Year predictions. We like to survey the spread of opinion and decide for ourselves what is relevant.
This year we decided to turn our research into something else. We thought that if we were a little more methodical and collated this year’s predictions for digital design in particular, we could turn it into something useful for our clients and peers alike.
We thought that we should assess the trends that we considered relevant for our industry in 2017, and see how well they were already represented in corporate websites across financial services.
Our design team read through the blogs of our design-industry peers, took part in some furious internal discussion, debated these trends and distilled them into the ten points you’ll see across the following pages.
The methodology we used was to survey a sample of household names in our industry against the relevant trends. Our sample was selected from big players in Private Equity, Wealth Management and Asset Management organisations (all big brands, no niche companies).
In the PDF document, you’ll find our top-line conclusions, followed by our more specific findings. We won’t be so indiscreet as to tell you who we surveyed here, but we’re always very happy to discuss best practice, and how we arrived at our conclusions, face-to-face.
Our Initial Conclusions
Even if 2017’s trends aren’t for you, it is clear that we should all be doing a bit better.
Our expectations weren’t high. The percentages you’ll see show how wellrepresented each trend is in each of the three sectors. Traditionally ours is a conservative industry so it wasn’t a surprise to see most of 2017’s trends unrepresented on the sampled websites.
For all the tech-savvy displayed in retail banking apps, high-frequency trading technology and online trading platforms, the corporate website often appears to have been left behind. Retail has led the way, adapting to the needs of consumers with aplomb, however, the B2B side of our industry has shown much less urgency.
Testament to this is that desktop-only sites have lingered far longer than we could ever have expected. We anticipated encountering one or two ‘legacy’ sites but the number we saw, though a low percentage, is far too high.
If your site isn’t yet responsive we really should talk. Soon.
The reasons for this hesitancy are legion. Security and compliance are often seen as barriers to progress and, in some more extreme circumstances, a lack of understanding the digital space is worn like a badge of honour. Sadly, this means some will be left behind. This shouldn’t be the case.
We were heartened to see that grid-style page structures were prevalent, but there’s still too little attention paid to window dressing. A long-standing overdependence on obviously stock photography is clear, little imagery
appears to be bespoke, infographics are more common (but often generic) and micro interactions are an afterthought (these are the animated transitions when things change on screen).
Not being ahead of 2017’s trends isn’t a black mark against your brand. Our list should not be considered a checklist for your new website. The features we’ve picked out won’t be suitable for every site. You just need to pick what’s right for your needs and your brand.
Never forget that as much as trends show progress, they also date quickly. Only the very best trends become timeless (we rarely hear anything described as “amazeballs” anymore and the jury is out on how long hamburger menus will be around).
Please download the PDF document (via the button – top right) to view Fin International’s 10 Trends.

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