November 2017 – Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For: Online Search Tools

Prospective and current deposit account holders visit bank websites to research products, access account information and make transactions. Given the size of these websites, the homepage and navigation menus do not always offer an efficient route to desired content. In order to offer a better user experience, it is critical for banks to provide both intuitive and accurate public and private site search tools. This report analyzes the search capabilities offered by the 19 Bank Monitor firms on the public and private sites. Our review focuses on the key aspects of a successful search tool including the findability and usability of the tools as well as the quality and accuracy of their results. As public and private search tools serve varying purposes, we evaluate each tool separately before grading each firm’s overall search quality.

One firm stands apart from the rest of the banks in its overall universal search usability and functionality and its exemplary search results. While all firms offer public site search tools, only four provide a universal search tool across the public and private sites, and 12 others do not offer private site search tools at all. Search results are generally accurate and of a high quality, with both public and private site searches performing well with strong keyword optimization functionality built in. Dynamic predictive and populating search enhances usability but is far from universal in either public or private search tools. A key shortcoming across most firms is the lack of filtering capabilities, related keywords and other resources to help refine search results.