Architecture Design Can Make or Break E-Finance Site Success

By Ritzmann, Mark | Global Finance, June 2001 | Go to article overview

Architecture Design Can Make or Break E-Finance Site Success


Ritzmann, Mark, Global Finance


Information architecture and user experience are critical areas that financial institutions often overlook in planning their e-finance channels. By Mark Ritzmann

Global financial institutions invest heavily in Web sites and underlying technologies without always paying the same attention to information architecture (IA), including user interface (UI) and customer experience planning. As a result of a failure to consider these crucial design features, online channels may remain cost centers rather than evolve into profit centers, says Mark Ritzmann, senior partner at Arc, a New York-based consultancy that focuses on financial institutions. "We function as architects of digital applications, with our blueprints providing an effective bridge between strategy and tactics."

For most interactive initiatives, user interface is that bridge. It is the place where business goals and customer experience intersect. Information architecture is the practice of organizing information, such as Web site content and functionality, so as to enable users to achieve their own and the Web site's desired goals. "Central challenges for IA include the accurate definition, segmentation, and understanding of the target audience and its needs," says Matthew Fetchko, Arc's vice president of information architecture.

Once these are defined, then the site's content and functionality must be organized in such a way as to speak to those needs consistently, intuitively, and elegantly, while still delivering on the business requirements. "Good interface design creates an effective and inviting visual experience within the context of its intended purpose," says Allyson Longfield, Arc's vice president of design. …

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