April 2014: Private Site Navigation

One of the most important aspects of any website is the navigation, as it determines how easily site visitors can transition from one task to another. Navigation becomes especially important for a bank website, given the wide array of tools and information that must be presented to clients. The variety of services offered and the speed with which clients can execute changes and transactions are only useful to clients if they can actually locate these features on a bank’s private site. In this Bank Monitor Report, we investigate the basic navigation structure of each Bank Monitor firm’s private site, looking at how clients move from section to section, where tools are located and what sort of aids are provided to help users make the most of their private site experience. This is first time we revisited this topic since February of 2012. As we investigated the navigation offered by each Bank Monitor firm, we focused on the following issues and features:

  • What is the overarching navigation used throughout each firm’s private site?
  • Is the private site designed in such a way that intuitively facilitates navigation?
  • Are private site pages and links consistently displayed through the site?

Of the 17 banks covered by
Bank Monitor, none offers a truly exceptional navigational menu, though several provide solid customer experiences. Overwhelmingly, firms continue to prefer a horizontal top navigation menu, with 16 banks employing this design; a sole outlier offers a left-side vertical main navigational menu. Seven firms complement this horizontal top navigation menu by using a secondary row of sub-tabs beneath their main navigation to create additional structure and navigation throughout the private site. Additionally, every firm offers quicklinks throughout their private sites to enable easier navigation. These quicklinks or shortcuts allow users to easily access related sections or private site tools without having to use the main navigation. Only one firm utilizes a secondary, vertical, left-side navigation within each page, as opposed to the secondary top-tiered navigational menu offered by the majority of firms


Notably, the top-rated banks in this report provide flyout and dropdown menus that enable customers to easily access the main features of the site from any other page, without having to use a main navigation tab to expose the secondary options. This feature results in easier navigation for customers without adding additional steps to the navigation process, and allows customers to see the different tools and pages within a section before leaving the current page. Conversely, some firms require customers to visit multiple pages in order to access individual pages or features they are searching for. While the majority of firms provide links to the public site, only one directly integrates its public site navigation into the private site. This feature enables customers to easily jump to public site product pages and tools without being forced to logout or open a new browser.


Additional key findings include:

  • Eighty eight percent of firms offer consistent quicklinks throughout the private site to facilitate easier navigation.
  • Every firm except two offers a unified Customer Service page.
  • No firm uses collapsible sections to help consolidate page content.