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"Website Comparison for Banking"There is a big difference in nice-looking websites and websites designed to market business effectively. The many similarities and differences when viewing websites help end users determine who to conduct business with. Some of these include the look and feel of each website, the user friendly options, the navigation and accessibility when searching for a particular category or business. In this paper, we have compared and analyzed three different banking websites Washington Mutual, Compass Bank and Bank of America in an effort to summarize their effectiveness and to determine which website in our opinion would draw consumer interests.Washington Mutual When evaluating Washington Mutual's website, there was one feature that stood out more than the websites for Compass Bank and Bank of America; their advertisement for Free Online Banking. This is centrally located on the web page because it is in a bright color and is toward the top of the page which is eye catching to the viewer (WAMU, 2005).
Many people today choose to do banking on-line to not only save money on checks and stamps, but it is also less time-consuming. By offering this service for free, Washington Mutual has more chances to gain new customers than other banks, which may currently charge for on-line banking. For those existing customers, the login screen to obtain account information is fairly accessible. It is located on the top right hand corner of the web page and also gives the chance for the user to inquire on the password in case they have forgotten it (WAMU, 2005). Even though Washington Mutual does have a couple of features that stand out in comparison to the other two banks, we believe that their website could be more user friendly if there was not so much information crowded together which makes it harder to read. They do have access to pertinent information for those trying to locate specific information such as home loans or location information, but it does not stand out and it is not eye catching for the end user
This may deter someone from opening an account with Washington Mutual simply because of the setup of the web page. Pictures and icons are very important for websites because they can catch the viewer's attention and it also makes their browsing experience a better one. People want to access their bank information or any other banking needs as fast as possible. Therefore, because of the way Washington Mutual has chosen to set up it's website, it may take the end user a little longer to familiarize themselves unlike that of Compass Bank or Bank of America. Compass BankWhen accessing the Compass Bank website, the colors jump off the page to get your attention and the search box is located at the top left hand corner for easy access (CB, 2005).
Immediately, we could see the appeal to consumers for saving money by free offers and comparisons with competitors' fees. Special offers also filled the homepage. The Economic Facts and Commentary section was interesting and gave great tips for cost cutting on recent gas prices (CB, 2005). Another feature that stands out on this website in comparison to that of Washington Mutual and Bank of America is the easy access to Prime Home Equity Rates which can be very helpful to those who may be interested in doing some home improvement work (CB, 2005).The appeal to educating consumers on small business needs and investments was also interesting and drew attention. People want to know how to make businesses grow and how to get the most out of homeownership value while partnering up with their financial institutions; Compass Bank gives free guidance and assistance in this area.
It is a known fact that web pages have dual content and purpose as indicated within the Compass site. The first and most obvious purpose is to provide the basic function of giving customers the information, or opportunity to search for information and answers to questions. The second function of their websites is to connect with customers on a more personable level. They accomplish this by appealing to a customers' sensitivity (CB, 2005). In these cases, those appeals are conveyed by simply providing what may be information that a person in desperate need of a bank or ATM must have.Bank of America Bank of America's red, white and blue website reflects a patriot presence that supports its name.
The overall design is well organized and structured for easy browsing (BOA, 2005). The home page displays all the options available for on-line service which helps end users to navigate more effectively and faster. In comparison to the other two banking websites Washington Mutual and Compass Bank, Bank of America seemed to be easier to navigate through and more personable. In the world we live in today, identity theft is a serious concern for consumers. Bank of America was the only website that gave attention to safeguarding your security and privacy (BOA, 2005).
The design of Bank of America's website leads us to believe that a lot of thought was given to what consumers want and need. When creating the website, it seems as though someone had to have asked the question, "What would make consumers trust us and want to bank with us?" The obvious answers are found within the contents of the website. Evaluation of Ease Each website was easy to navigate through, however Bank of America allowed access to more information for non-customers than Washington Mutual and Compass Bank. Our guess it that this probably allows Bank of America's potential customers to make up their minds before coming into a Service Center for opening an account. All of them placed focused on letting consumers know that each is a member of the FDIC, as well as having their privacy and security statements displayed on the main page.
However, Bank of America's privacy and security statement was easier to locate when compared to Washington Mutual and Compass Bank's main web page. Overall, each website was user friendly and gave more than enough information for consumers and businesses.ConclusionAlthough all three websites were user friendly and gave more than enough information for consumers and businesses, Bank of America was our choice as the website that truly had the consumer in mind when it was developed. Bank of America displayed a complete package of what customer's want and need. Comparing all three allowed us to gain a better understanding of how important it is to have a website that looks attractive but also gives users what they want. A company's website can draw customers or turn away customers. This supports the old saying, "first impressions are lasting impressions.ReferencesBOA. Bank of America.
(2005). Retrieved September 5, 2005 fromhttp://www.bankofamerica.com/CB. Compass Bank. (2005). Retrieved September 5, 2005 from http://www.compassweb.com/index.htmlWAMU. Washington Mutual.
(2005). Retreived September 6, 2005 from http://www.wamu.com/personal/default.asp.
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