October 2013: Search Tools

With banks featuring so much content on their websites, it may not be immediately clear where site visitors can find the information they need. To help users navigate a site with ease, many websites feature Search tools that assist users in finding the information they need. In this Bank Monitor Report, we look at the Search tool capabilities offered on both the public and private sites of Bank Monitor firms, focusing on the accessibility of each tool, the usefulness of the search results and the design of the Results page. As we examine both the Search Tool and the Results page, we focus on the following issues:

  • Where is the Search tool located?
  • What options are available within the Search tool?
  • How accurate and accessible are the results generated on the Search Results page?

Of the 16 firms tracked by
Bank Monitor, 15 firms place their Search toolbars directly within their header or main navigation, making the Search tool accessible throughout the public site. Of the remaining 15 firms, eight firms also offer Search tools on their private sites, with six of these firms placing the toolbar within the site header or main navigation. The other two firms offer search capabilities within the Help section of their private sites. To aid in our analysis of this vital banking tool, four sample searches – Bill Pay, Mobile, Checking Account and Overdraft Fee – were performed on the public site (and private site if applicable).

 

While each firm generates results for the majority of the sample searches, the quality and quantity of results vary from firm to firm. Overall, firms do a nice job of generating applicable search results, with nine firms in this report providing successful matches on the first page for every query. Three firms provide successful results for three of the sample searches, with each firm offering irrelevant results for the term “Overdraft Fee.” One firm only offers useful results for two of the searches performed, and another firm offers the lowest number of results for each query (averaging between four and 30 results). The term “Checking Account” garners 1660 results – the most for this report – from a different
Bank Monitor firm.

Additional key findings include:

  • 80% of firms display 10 results per page.
  • All firm except three highlight the search term(s) within the result hyperlink and/or summary.
  • Five firms do not show the total number of results generated per search.