Digital Experience Report

Improve User Experience with Visual Design and Branding

Last month, released the 2023 Credit Union Digital Experience report on the state of digital at the largest 100 credit unions in the United States. Over several weeks we are drilling down into the various categories and scoring that made up the final results used in the report. This week we are evaluating how the quality and contribution of visual design and branding at the largest 100 credit unions impacts the members’ digital experience.

In the 2023 report, the following criteria were used to evaluate these attributes: consistency and design system, iconography, type, imagery, color, animation and interactive, and illustrations and infographics. As expected from top Credit Unions, the overall quality of visual design was high. However, there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to a consistent design system across digital channels and beyond.

visual design and branding credit unions cu dx report 2023

The five organizations with the top scores in visual design and branding were California CU 4.00, Alliant CU 3.86, Vystar CU 3.86, Jovia FCU 3.71, and Wings FCU 3.67. All scoring in the report is on a one to five scale with one being “poor” and five being “most innovative.”  Findings from our evaluations include the importance of the following areas.

Illustrations and Infographics

A third of the human brain’s cortex is dedicated exclusively to vision. This is driving an increasing need for visual storytelling, as seen in the fact that searches for infographics have more than doubled from March 2019 to March 2020. Illustrations and infographics play an impactful role in helping users visualize information.

In this year’s report, we found that the average score for the illustration and infographic section of our design review was less than 1, with a rating system of 1-5. Only a fifth of the 100 sites we evaluated scored a 3 or above in this section.

Forward-thinking organizations are investing more time and money into their brands’ visual storytelling, using infographics and illustrations to display information and to communicate concepts. This visual approach creates more engaging and actionable content for users.

Design Systems

A design system is a set of rules and standards created to maintain brand consistency and uniformity across the requirements of a brand. A design system is a streamlined & centralized “single source of truth” that encompasses all brand elements and design components—from fonts, colors, and formatting to button behaviors—integrating the design formatting of all UI elements on site pages, micro-sites, and online banking platforms.

While we see improvement in this year’s evaluation of design systems, there are quite a few sites that are lagging in this category. With a strong design system in place, the saying holds that “the whole is better than the sum of its parts.” But without one, the whole can limit the performance of its parts. A dysfunctional, or nonexistent, design system can bog down internal processes, and complicate any future branding efforts on a site.

Credit unions with good design systems in place benefit from smoother transitions between marketing campaigns and through organizational changes. They also benefit from having a more consistent, clear, and streamlined brand experience. The goal is for the end user to spend less time learning to navigate the site and more time learning about, and applying for, the services offered.

Read the entire 2023 Credit Union Digital Experience report.


2023 CU Digital Experience Report coverGet the Report