Planning the website strategy and architecture
To develop a plan of action, ZAG needed to gain insight into San Mateo’s goals. A collaborative discovery session was essential for the agency to learn about the credit union’s current frustrations and the direction for the project. Main objectives for the website included differentiating the brand, decluttering the design, providing easy-to-use self-service solutions, improving lead generation, highlighting community involvement and more. Based on this background, ZAG came up with a strategy for the website that would resolve existing issues and achieve San Mateo’s goals. A new site architecture was established to simplify the navigation and make it easier for users to find financial solutions. Key page elements – including relevant resources, tools, product information and promotions – were defined to ensure the new website would support member needs and San Mateo’s goals while guiding the design.
Designing a branded and intuitive experience
This vision was carried out with a custom, responsive, ADA conformant design for the San Mateo Credit Union site. The new design elevates the brand and provides a positive experience for all users – from those on mobile devices, to those with disabilities. The design went through extensive usability testing to evaluate the effectiveness of the approach, allowing for opportunities to make adjustments and enhance the ultimate success of the website. Purposefully using San Mateo’s distinct brand colors and other defining characteristics, the website looks and feels warm, welcoming and modern. The use of real-life photography and symbolic iconography also makes the website feel authentic, relatable and personal, helping San Mateo Credit Union connect with its audiences and establish trust. The design as a whole serves to showcase San Mateo Credit Union’s unique personality and commitment to its members and the community.
Creating valuable content for members
Copywriting was also key to communicating San Mateo’s mission, values and spirit. ZAG crafted the website content to be clear and concise to make it easy for members to understand key product information without the typical “bank speak”. Featured resources, such as education and tools, throughout the website also help members make the best financial decision for themselves.
Strategically positioning products with marketing
With an improved design and enhanced value, San Mateo Credit Union wanted to drive more traffic to its new website. A search engine optimization (SEO) strategy was implemented, which involved SEO best practices during the design and development phases, and performing targeted research and incorporating relevant keywords and phrases into the website content and meta data. Each page of the new website contains prominent calls to action, and simple forms are used strategically to generate more leads. To guide users that are unsure of the right financial product or service, a robust solutions finder was strategized and integrated into the website. This tool presents personalized product, service and resource recommendations based on a user’s financial goals.
Customizing website features and functionality
Offering robust out-of-the box options and capabilities for customization to meet San Mateo Credit Union’s needs, the website is built on the Kentico content management system. The site features many custom widgets, and custom locations management and rates management tools, allowing for streamlined sitewide updates. It also seamlessly integrates with multiple third-party solutions, such as an FAQs knowledge base, financial literacy vendors, online applications, online banking, and more. To introduce users to the new features, highlight key elements, and encourage exploration, a website tour appears upon entry to the site.