Understanding User Behavior is Crucial to Improve User Experiences

“Solve a problem for yourself and you’ll have a market. A small market, but a market nonetheless.” 

I had a personal experience last night that fit nicely into a use case we’re working with a lot of our customers on: improving user experiences.

Long story short, I was going through to set myself up with a Roth IRA and did not complete the application. I know why I didn’t complete it, but my bank certainly doesn’t, and that’s a big problem. 

“Finance” is difficult. Signing up for a financial product shouldn’t be. And as COVID accelerates the digital transformation, simply having a digital presence doesn’t cut it. 

If you think about a bank even 10 years ago, I might have chosen a bank where I opened an account based on which branches close to me, who has the most ATM’s, etc. Now, if I’m choosing a bank, I’m choosing who has the best digital experience (leaving the economic side of things out of it). Users are no longer willing to deal with clunky digital experiences as the friction to shift to a better experience is extremely low these days. 

As Eric Vishria, general partner at Benchmark Capital puts it, “Post-COVID, financial service companies are realizing that having a seamless user experience is no longer a sideshow but an existential threat to their survival. They’re thinking “holy ****, if we don’t get this right we might not survive.”

And the companies that are not collecting and analyzing behavioral data on their users are missing out on the most crucial data being produced today…

A road paved with speed bumps…

First things first, I clicked “Explore IRA” because that was my best guess as to how to get to a button that says “Open IRA.” There is another call-to-action that says “Get Started”…it’s the only CTA I see so I click it…

Now I arrive at this screen:

I spent a little bit of time trying to determine if I was supposed to click “Individual” or “IRA” given I am an individual trying to open a (Roth)IRA…(see suggestions on improving this step below).

Doesn’t seem like a big speed bump, but a speed bump nonetheless. 

I clicked IRA, which then had a dropdown of a few different options and I clicked RothIRA. 

My next issue was “Tax Bracket” – I have no idea so I spent a few minutes in another window figuring that out. Another speed bump.

Next issue was this screen:

I wasn’t sure what the “consequence” of selecting one of these options was, so it took me a bit to get through this step. (see suggestions for how to improve this step below). 

The following screen is what broke the camel’s back and where I finally dropped off: Beneficiary Information. This was a “roadblock” to continue the analogy.

I knew what a Beneficiary was because I have life insurance and needed a beneficiary for that (though it took me a minute and a Google search to confirm). I selected my mother, but I did not know my mother’s social security number. She didn’t answer my phone call and by the time she called me back, I had already dropped off the screen.

In the few days between dropping off and completing the application, I didn’t receive a single marketing communication encouraging me to complete the application. 

When I finally came back and made my way through the whole process and pressed submit, the screen stalled and I had to refresh the screen. Refreshing logged me out entirely, but when I logged back in and it looked like it worked because there was my RothIRA account. 

And voila! XYZ Bank has a new account, despite its best attempts to deter me!

But imagine how many people DON’T complete the application. It was as if they were encouraging me at literally every step of the way to not complete the app.

I can only guess at the abandonment numbers, but if the idea is to reduce friction during the application process (which it is), there are certainly some steps I would recommend taking (see below) to increase conversations and customer satisfaction.

While these “friction points” may seem small, when you’re talking about thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions of applications a month, the friction costs (lost customers) are enormous.

Understanding exactly how a user is navigating through an application or workflow is imperative for optimizing that experience to its fullest. And we’re not strictly talking about goodwill with customers, we’re talking about hard ROI in the form of increasing conversions.

That’s one example of the value of using Behavioral Intelligence. 

How does Behavioral Intelligence improve this user experience for me?

ForMotiv BI allows companies to understand user behavior down to the actual keystrokes, mouse hovers, hesitation on questions, the time between questions, and dozens of other behavioral cues.

Using ForMotiv BI, companies can easily identify chokepoints, bottlenecks, and high-friction points, or “speed bumps,”  and consume that information in an easily digestible fashion so they can take action to improve user experiences. 

Actions can range from simple A/B tests of question ordering all the way to Dynamic Experiences.

Is a customer showing signs of confusion or frustration? Dynamically add a tooltip, FAQ pop-up, Live Chat, or “Speak with an Agent” option. 

Or maybe the customer is displaying high-risk signals. Dynamically interrupt their application flow to minimize risk and fraud.

The ultimate goal is to create the smoothest experience possible to increase conversions while minimizing risk. Until recently, that was a trade-off to each, but with ForMotiv Behavioral Intelligence, you can have your cake and eat it too. 

ForMotiv customers receive continuous reporting on the highest drop-off points, most corrected questions, how much time user’s are spending on certain screens and particular questions, and places where customers/agents are experiencing friction.

Here’s one simple example – comparing the time spent per form field on users who abandoned the application and users who completed it.


vs Abandoned:

improve user experience

This is a very basic example and just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the amount of data we’re collecting. Our customers have found tremendous value beyond improving user experiences by having granular behavioral data on their customers.

Email me (woody@formotiv.com) if you’d like to see a sample report.

And just for fun, here are a few free suggestions on improving your application…


  1. Individuals are not financial advisors, we don’t know what all of these products are off the top of our heads, and I think adding some context on the differences/pros/cons of each account would be helpful. You could put it right below the fold on the screen above all of the fine print. It would allow an applicant to stay on the page, receive the info they need, and continue on with the application. You could also link to additional outside resources to help the applicant decide depending on their age/financial situation.
  2. Simply by adding a “what you’ll need to complete the application” screen before getting started, I likely would have made it all the way through the first time, despite the speed bumps.
  3. Dumb down the financial speak and speak to your customers (who, most likely, are not fluent in finance). 
  4. If you’re asking someone for “risk tolerance” – order them from least to most “risky.” I also wasn’t sure if there would be a consequence of picking one of these, but I selected Speculation. Can I change it later? Will I be restricted from doing certain things based on what I select? Was that question just there for their own internal knowledge? Eliminate any hesitation from your customers and you will convert a higher percentage of them.

My suggestions are free. ForMotiv’s AI-powered friction analysis and reporting, well, that’ll cost ya.

Shoot me a note if you’d like to discuss how we’re helping some of the largest financial service companies in the world improve user experiences and predict risk/fraud.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.