World Usability Day 2012, to be held on November 8, is focused on the usability of financial systems—a topic that affects everyone, all around the world. Financial institutions, corporations, and not-for-profit organizations all have the same thing in common: the need for their users to understand information systems so that they can make good financial choices.
We see how complicated systems, unclear regulations, and confusing forms can often create more problems than they aim to solve. In Europe, austerity measures are getting strong reactions from some citizens, while others want to increase spending. Perhaps they might feel differently if they better understood the impact of deficit spending. In the U.S., regulations have been passed striving to ensure that financial systems are transparent to their users. In Asia, banks are looking to solidify links with countries in Latin America, thus broadening the global network of financial systems. Improved user experience of financial systems is critical for citizens everywhere.
A good user experience affects much more than the single user. In the domain of financial systems, the ripple effect of a well-designed system can be seen when users of small systems make choices and perform actions that affect the users of larger systems. In this case, a clear, simple user interface makes the difference as to whether a person can make a sound financial decision—one that has implications in the marketplace.
New research is being done in exciting areas such as behavioral finance, a psychology-based discipline that looks at the effects of social, cognitive, and emotional factors on the behavior of financial professionals and its influence on the market. User experience work would impact the effects of those psychological factors and affect the markets in the same way.
This example illustrates how new social science research can be employed with UX reassertion techniques to produce better financial systems. The UX field is well-positioned to make an important impact here. Without clear and transparent financial systems, neither the professionals, nor the average citizens, will be able to make good decisions, and the markets will suffer.
Join us in celebrating World Usability Day 2012 and promoting organizations and methodologies that deal with the serious issues facing financial systems today and in the future!
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