October 2017 – Destination Known: Public Site Navigation

Bank public sites serve a number of purposes: to educate users about their accounts, to provide information about available products and services, and to attract new customers. Firms should therefore make sure their sites are intuitively navigable, enabling users to access information about products, packages and services quickly and easily. To accomplish this, main menus should group similar pages and options together and exclude non-applicable tools and pages. Secondary navigation, such as breadcrumbs, sidebar menus and quick links, should offer helpful connections to related site pages rather than list a plethora of arbitrary links. Further, public site pages should remain consistent in terms of navigation and link design to prevent users from having to relearn how to navigate a site with each new page. In this report, we evaluate how well Bank Monitor coverage group firms adhere to these best practices in their public site navigation and design.

To provide guidance to public site visitors, nearly all (94%) of the 18 firms evaluated in this report use horizontal tabs for main navigation. These tabs provide access to product and service information, including digital banking information and details about checking and savings accounts. Static headers and footers vary among firms, but generally they offer links to branch and ATM locators, customer service and contact information, social media accounts, and security and privacy content. Firms vary in the secondary navigation they use: all offer a smattering of quick links, but fewer provide more valuable sidebar menus (50%) or breadcrumbs (56%). In general, firms consolidate information on product and service pages well, using a combination of intrapage tabs (83%), expandable sections (78%) and jump links (50%). Coverage group firms, however, have room to improve in the overall consistencies of public site navigation as the vast majority of them do not offer consistent navigation, whether in terms of appearance or form across the public sites.