How Näktergal sets itself apart with UX design
Our CMO Sarah Kok interviews UX Lead Linda Sporrek who gives us an insight into what user experience design means in consumer lending, and why it is so important. Automation is a complex matter. And the future of UX design in consumer lending will be all about building trust in automation.
Sarah Kok, CMO: Hi Linda, thanks for talking with us today! Firstly, let’s talk about what you do here. As UX Design Lead, what do you think are some of the most important user experience design considerations in consumer lending?
Linda Sporrek, UX Lead: Sure, it’s great to talk with you. I believe one of the most critical design considerations is to thoroughly understand the problem before creating a solution. It’s easy to jump into designing a solution without fully comprehending the underlying issue, which can ultimately lead to clients wondering why a solution isn’t working. A solution might work well in theory, but if you don’t understand and solve the issue, it is not a good solution. Doing your research goes a long way in creating a good solution.
I also believe as a designer it is essential to maintain humility when approaching your work. While you should be proud of your designs, it’s also crucial to recognize that there is always something new to learn and room for improvement. Being open to feedback and willing to make changes is key to creating the best possible user experience. While receiving criticism can be challenging, it’s a necessary part of the design process that ultimately leads to better outcomes. It’s not easy though, of course!
Sarah: A lot of people claim that their onboarding processes are fully automated. Is this true? How much of onboarding can be automated?
Linda: It’s really hard to fully automate a process, despite what many say. Let’s look at payments as an example. There are many steps in receiving a payment from a user: first money has to be extracted from the bank, then the bank creates a payment file which contains the payment, next it is delivered to the system, then imported into the system and then someone needs to place the money to pay for the goods or whatever it is. Each of these steps can be manual or automated. 100% automated would be all steps, but this is very hard to do in practice and in fact not always desirable.
Sarah: In terms of automating, where do you feel Näktergal excels above competitors?
Linda: One of the ways we stand out is not just intelligent automization within systems but also by visualizing the entire lending picture using dashboards, graphs, charts and other tools. It’s not just about automating processes – it’s also important to convey trust to the clients that an automated system is actually working, and this is something I don’t believe anyone else focuses on. We do this by visualizing the process in a user-friendly way and allowing clients to control which parts they want to automate. For example, we have a policy filter that allows clients to set a maximum number of children for loan applicants. Clients can choose to accept, reject, or manually check each case, depending on whether they want it to be automated or manual. This gives our clients full control over the lending process and this is something that sets us apart from our competitors.
Sarah: Sometimes control might be imposed upon our clients, for example by the FSA. How do you balance user’s needs with the lending industry’s regulatory requirements?
Linda: Balancing these can be a complex challenge for designers. Although I must admit sometimes having limitations can make it easier to narrow down options and design effective solutions, but not always. An essential part of the research process is to identify limitations and understand how they impact the design. Sometimes these are regulatory, and sometimes these can be something else that limits the type of solution you can create.
Designing with regulatory requirements in mind doesn’t mean sacrificing the user’s needs. Instead, it’s about finding creative ways to meet both objectives. As a designer, it’s important to embrace challenges and look for opportunities to innovate within the constraints. While it can be daunting at times, it’s a rewarding experience to create a user-centered solution that meets both needs. I like a challenge and I think every designer should like a challenge.
Sarah: How can we make sure that our lending platform is accessible and inclusive for all users?
Linda: I think it is essential to have multiple people involved in any development process, to bring different backgrounds and perspectives to the table. One person alone cannot adequately represent the diverse needs and experiences of all potential users. I also think it is important to foster a workplace environment that values diversity and encourages collaboration, which is also true of UX design or any department you work in.
Sarah: That’s a really great point. It’s great that Näktergal values diversity and collaboration so highly. I would like to now learn a little bit about you. Outside of work, what is important to you? What matters the most in your personal life?
Linda: One of the things that matters most to me is balancing work and home. I believe in fully focusing on work when I am here, and I always strive to give 100%, and I want to do the same when I am home, too. I make sure to have time for my family and to fully focus on them when I am there, not half doing work or half looking at my phone.
I also think it is essential to make time for myself and pursue activities that bring me joy, too, like painting landscapes and horseback riding, which I enjoy doing with my daughter. Prioritizing family, personal life, and hobbies alongside work is what matters most to me.
Sarah: What are your personal priorities and goals?
Linda: In terms of goals, I think it’s important to keep growing and learning. There’s always something new to discover, always something to be curious about, whether it’s a new hobby or a new challenge at work. I want to keep pushing myself and trying new things, and of course, I want to keep being the best mum I can be. It’s a never-ending journey, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Sarah: It sounds like you are a really great mum and role model for your kids! Ok, one final question on UX design: What do you think is the future of user experience design in the consumer lending industry, and how are you preparing for it?
Linda: I think the future of UX design in consumer lending will be all about building trust in automation. There will be more focus on staying in control of automation but also visualizing it at each step, so we can know it works as we want. We need to ensure that automation is done correctly and to have the ability to switch it off at control points when necessary. Upcoming regulations are also a big part of the future, and we are always preparing for regulations that we know are coming up.
Sarah: Thanks Linda, we appreciate your time! We can’t wait to see what you will design next.
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