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Van Lanschot is the oldest independent bank in The Netherlands, as it was founded in 1737. Obviously, a lot has changed since that time and they managed to adapt to their new circumstances. In the current digital era a new challenge arises: how do we adapt our online experience, so it reflects our level of quality and respects our well-known heritage? When Van Lanschot asked us to help them to tackle this challenge, by creating a sustainable omni-channel experience like this, we were stoked.
During our time AKQA was working on a new brand for Van Lanschot. As we all know a rebranding is very exciting but also very scary, especially when your brand has survived for almost 300 years. Luckily with the expertise from AKQA we received a vivid and vibrant brand where we could build upon for the online omni-channel experience.
When we saw the brand that AKQA created together with Van Lanschot, we saw a lot of potential. While it was a strong foundation to build upon, it was still interpretable. This was a risk, as Van Lanschot works with different teams each specialised in a specific market and/or tool. These tools could vary from some simple web-app to complex wealth monitoring. Each with his own demanding challenges, users and deadlines.
We created tailor-made visualisations for easy human processing and completing trader's tasks in a most efficient way. Data visualisation is not about creating beautiful graphs, rather about showing the right, and right amount of, data to the target user. Looking at it from this perspective, tailoring the visualisation of showing the right data, in the right way, is a complex but pure UX process. That’s when we recognised the need to develop a thoughtful design system, rather than creating simple collections of web pages. And alongside, to get even more out of it, we improved the brand for usage on digital channels such as the website and the apps.
In order to create such a design system we needed to define a base structure. We used Atomic Design, instead of reinventing the wheel ourselves. This methodology is composed of five distinct stages, working together to create interface design systems in a more deliberate and hierarchical manner.
With a design system in place we empowered Van Lanschot by utilizing a collection of repeatable components and a set of standards guiding the use of those components. This resulted in speeding up the pace of creation and innovation within the company. Furthermore, it helps the product teams to think of their user interfaces as both a cohesive whole, as well as a collection of parts at the same time. And thus a coherent omni-channel experience.
With the creation and implementation of the design system, we made sure that every digital product was synchronised to the newly created brand. To give this process a head start, we joined several teams and worked with them on how the products should be.
We were now ready to tackle the hard part of creating an omni-channel experience for a bank such as Van Lanschot. As they do very specialised work for specific markets, the experience of each product differs for each client. Some of the clients use Van Lanschot als their personal wealth manager which they call or meet monthly. While others use them as their wealth assistent while they are the in the driver seat themselves. So how do we create products that reflect on the needs of every single user?
We needed to define what the cohesive customer experience for Van Lanschot is. In order to do so, we sat down with stakeholders, employees and clients during several ideation sessions about what the UX vision should be. In these sessions we facilitated various types of brainstorms varying from classic brainstorms, journey maps and storyboards.
After these sessions we sat with the UX team and wrote down the UX principles for Van Lanschot. These principles where our compass during the entire project and gave us a clear direction on which way should go. We wrote down the and where applied to every channel we use. Such as the website, mobile apps, marketing, internal & external tools etc.
Our work wasn’t done when we set-up this UX Vision and a design system. In order to make it a success the implementation was critical. It’s something that Van Lanschot had to adopt and make their own since its UX and design is constantly evolving and growing. In the end it’s not project but a mindset for the whole company.
So the knowledge that we gained was brought back to the teams, in order to make them empathise with the user as well. From this common understanding, we were able to determine what matters for the clients and how this is best made tangible in a digital environment. And best of all: we did this together as a team.
With the principles, the UX Vision and the design system in place, the teams of Van Lanschot are now capable of implementing the brand into the digital products that Van Lanschot offers to their clients and employees. This is a major first step in not only implementing the new brand, but also in making products that matter.
During our time at Van Lanschot teams have restructured to cater for design systems, many designers opted working solely focusing directly on their specific UX challenges. The UX vision and the design system has become and integral part of the products core development. Which resulted in clarity, focus and confidence across the team and accelerated innovation and development time. Whats’ not to love!