Kellie began her career as a web designer and now has over twenty years of experience delivering engaging digital experiences in a variety of both creative and technical roles. With a focus on positive user experience, she is now the head of user experience design and leads a high-performance UX team at Bottomline Technologies.
Digital payments have been on the rise as more and more businesses move away from using cash. However, some companies still struggle to catch up with this emerging trend — making their clients turn away at crucial moments.
To address this challenge, Bottomline Technologies has emerged as a global leader in business payment transformation, providing solutions that digitize and automate payment processes for thousands of clients across 92 countries.
In this interview, we spoke to Kellie White, Bottomline’s Head of User Experience Design, about what determines a positive user experience, innovation in the fintech industry and why digital payments are the future.
Spotlight: McKinsey reports that digital payments increased to 89% in 2022. What would you say are the main factors that influenced this growth?
Kellie White: For many years the use of digital payments has been accelerating, along with online retail and banking, and of course the global explosion in mobile use. In this ever-increasing digital world, the move to a cashless world has been all but inevitable for some time. My local pub doesn’t even accept cash anymore. Consumer and business preferences have shifted, both with a hearty appetite for secure and frictionless payment options that make their payment experiences easier, faster and more convenient.
Then the pandemic came along, which had a colossal impact on our payment behaviour. Growth in the use of digital payments during this time was exponential. marketing teams, and most were without a choice. This has ultimately led us to embrace new technologies and digital payment methods more rapidly and it’s become embedded. It’s just the way we do things now.
We’re also living in challenging economic times and the speed at which businesses get paid is critical. That, coupled with the consumer rise in digital wallets, contactless payments, social commerce and embedded payment links, we’re sure to have continued growth in digital and real-time payments.
What are the key user experience metrics businesses and institutions should know to ensure the success of their fintech applications?
First off, it’s essential to choose UX metrics that align with the objectives and the overall KPIs of the business. These would typically be three things:
- Engagement: the level of typical use a customer gets from your app
- Adoption: the percentage of new customers gained over a period, or customers that adopt a new feature in your app
- Retention: the rate of customers returning to use your app
These are measured by in-product analytics, by things like pageviews, sessions and time spent on the product.
Additionally, we’d also be capturing more UX-specific metrics, notably Task Success (do the people who use your app complete the tasks they came in to do) and Time on Task (how long do people take to complete a task the first time round, and then repeated). These metrics help to indicate where customers are struggling in your app.
Finally, along with these behavioural measurements, you’d want to be tracking what people think and feel about your app. These are what we call attitudinal metrics. You’d normally do this by capturing customer feedback using in-app surveys. With these, you’d find out and track things like customer satisfaction, whether customers think your app or brand is credible or not, how loyal a customer they are and how easy they think your app is to use.
Bringing these points of measurement together can help businesses drive a product-led experience, focusing efforts on improving the product experience to drive growth and alleviating the reliance on marketing and sales to support scale.
Security is a priority in digital finance management. How does UX design help ensure a secure and compliant digital payment platform?
As a business, we ensure that we have multiple layers of authentication in place and where necessary, four-eyes approval processes within our payment flow. We also support large corporate and financial institutions in safeguarding against fraud with the help of machine learning to track patterns of behaviour and surface irregularities within our payment systems. Additionally, UX focuses on ensuring customers and end users have the confidence that our systems and payment methods are safe and secure, so we intentionally imbue a feeling of safety and security into the experience.
Personally, I’ve always found the challenge is maintaining high levels of security and compliance without creating unnecessary barriers and disruption for our end users. This is tricky, as security and compliance often rub up against experience. That aside, there are progressively more opportunities to use new technologies to support ease-of-use, while helping to create both secure and compliant systems. Biometric authentication and one-time passwords have done a lot for assisting faster, more secure and effortless experiences, reducing friction when verifying identity and payments.
Which of your company’s products were the most challenging to develop in terms of UX design and why?
Recently, I ran an internal session within our UX design team, delving into motivation, what drives us to get up in the morning excited by the work ahead and what makes us not want to stop working at the end of the day. And the answer is simple and universal. We love solving problems, the more complex the better. There is something about taking a tricky problem, getting to understand it inside and out, defining it well and then discovering and designing the simplest solution to solve it. That really hooks us in!
So, to ask a UX designer what the most challenging product or feature was that they ever designed and why that was, in retrospect I’d probably shrug and say, “I haven’t designed it yet”. There is no arrogance intended in that statement because trust me, we sweat! It’s just that you forget the pain quickly and enjoy the mind-bending challenges that seem impossible to do until they’re done.
I’d say the key challenges for us are typically not with the design itself - we’ve even learned that having the real data at hand to generate feasible data visualizations is essential. Nor is it the complexity of some of the workflows we deal with, or even wrapping our heads around new technologies. It’s the softer things and skills you need to design, keeping yourself in check, managing stakeholders, learning the importance of being persuasive, being patient and compassionate in working with and for people with diverse perspectives and opinions, making sure you’re not the user you’re designing for and advocating for better experience within tight timelines. These are always the biggest challenges.
How does Bottomline Technologies ensure that the user experience is consistent and seamless across all touchpoints?
We’ve developed a bespoke internal design system, which houses our UX/UI and design standards and foundations, intended to manage design and development at scale by using reusable components and patterns. These standards manage our user interface elements from desktop apps through to native mobile. The design system has been adopted in each product line across the business, which ensures consistency.
We regularly converge as a UX design group with UI engineering to evaluate new components, patterns and blueprints and keep in check with one another. We also work closely with the creative and marketing teams to ensure we’re in sync, not only on brand but also on our go-to-market strategy and value propositions. In short, a lot of collaboration, communication and developing partnerships around the business get us to where we need to be. And there is always work to do.
How does Bottomline stand out as an innovative player in the fintech industry and how do you see your services evolving in the future?
You can probably gather from my previous answers that we have innovative solutions in many different areas catering to more than one audience. That makes us unique. And although we’re a well-established firm with over 30 years of heritage, we work in a constantly changing financial and technology landscape. A landscape where companies cannot afford to stand still, and innovation is at the heart of competitive advantage – and that applies to us as well as the banks and businesses we serve.
For me, our evolution will be in creating the best user experiences for our networks, platforms and overlay services. We are obsessively focused on delighting our customers whether they’re banks or corporates.
Best of luck to Kellie White and Bottomline Technologies!