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Powerful New Experiences: Using Emotional UX Design to Create Connection and Foster Customer Trust & Loyalty


Customer journeys, emotional design and how it increases engagement and reduces churn – this is how to use emotional UX design builds trust and loyalty in FinTech

Are you using emotional design to delight and retain users?

Clunky, impersonal experiences can erode trust and lead to churn. Research has found that incorporating emotional design into user experience (UX) has a profound impact on user perceptions, interactions, and satisfaction, making it a powerful and strategic tool for product development.

Here’s what you need to know about emotional UX design in FinTech…

The Emotional Journey of Financial Management

Managing finances is inherently emotional, involving excitement, fear, and sometimes frustration for customers. While many FinTech apps excel in functionality, they often fall short in connecting emotionally with users. 

Recognising this gap, there is a profound opportunity for FinTech companies to transform user experiences by integrating emotional UX design.

The Power of Emotional Design in Fintech

Emotional design in UX focuses on creating products that elicit positive feelings in users. At its core, it's about crafting experiences that feel tailored and responsive to individual needs. 

The theory comes from the work of Don Norman, in his bookEmotional Design: Why We Love (Or Hate) Everyday Things,” which explores how humans have powerful visceral (innate), behavioural (learned) and reflective (memory-based) emotions that are linked to cognition (the process of thinking and understanding things).

In the context of financial decisions, emotions play a decisive role. A user’s loyalty towards a FinTech brand often hinges not just on the practicality of the app but on how it makes them feel. By harnessing emotional design, FinTechs can create more than just transactions; they can cultivate trust and commitment.

See the latest banking UI trends to boost engagement.

Building Trust & Loyalty with Emotional UX Design

At the Visceral Level

The first interaction with an app can set the tone for user engagement. An interface that is clean, intuitive, and aesthetically pleasing can instil a sense of confidence and control. The strategic use of visuals – like calming colours and reassuring imagery – plays a crucial role in creating a positive first impression that speaks of security and professionalism.

At the Behavioural Level

As users navigate a FinTech app, their experience should be smooth and reassuring. A seamless user flow minimises anxiety and frustration, especially important in financial applications where stakes are high. 

Effective communication, timely feedback, and clear progress indicators are essential components of UX that build trust. They ensure users feel supported and valued throughout their interaction with the app.

At the Reflective Level

On a reflective level, emotional UX design empowers users by enhancing their financial literacy and helping them achieve personal goals. Features like personalised budgeting tools, goal-setting functions, and actionable insights enable users to see their progress, fostering feelings of accomplishment and control. 

This level of empowerment not only enhances user satisfaction but also deepens their emotional connection with the brand.

See how to build trust through UX design.

Benefits of Emotional Design for FinTechs and Banks

  • Increased User Engagement and Adoption: Users are more likely to embrace and recommend apps that make them feel understood and cared for.
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction and Brand Loyalty: Satisfying emotional needs helps develop a loyal customer base and reduces the likelihood of switching to competitors.
  • Reduced Churn and Support Costs: When users understand and enjoy the UX, they require less support and are less likely to abandon the service.
  • Enhanced Brand Image and Differentiation: In a competitive market, emotionally resonant experiences can sharply differentiate a brand, turning ordinary users into brand advocates.

See how to increase app engagement with a super-charged user engagement strategy.

How to Incorporate Emotional UX Design in Your Products

In an interview, Don Norman himself explains that his book only explores the theory behind emotional design (although scientific research has backed it up since then), and then explains that actually applying it requires you to “go and find out” what users respond positively to (or what creates the emotion you want/need them to feel) and then apply it to your product.

A challenge in many other business formats, but not in the tech space, because in tech we’re absolutely geared to build iteratively based on user feedback.

FinTechs can adopt a design thinking approach, which involves an iterative process of ideation, prototyping, testing, and feedback. Here’s how this can be applied:

1. Empathise with Users

Start by gaining a deep empathetic understanding of the users you’re designing for. This involves engaging with them directly through interviews, surveys, and observation. Understanding their emotional triggers, financial behaviours, and pain points is crucial. This foundational step ensures the design process starts with a user-centred perspective.

Practicing empathy at scale? See why you need design thinking in finance.

2. Define the Emotional Journey

Map out the emotional journey that users go through when interacting with financial services. Identify key touchpoints where emotions play a significant role in decision-making. By defining these moments, you can pinpoint where to focus your emotional design efforts.

See the guide to customer journey mapping to anticipate needs.

3. Ideate and Prototype

Develop ideas that can enhance the emotional experience at the defined touchpoints. Prototyping these ideas quickly and cost-effectively allows teams to explore how these elements work in practice. Whether it’s tweaking the colour palette to evoke trust, or redesigning navigation to reduce stress, each iteration offers a chance to see what resonates emotionally with users.

See how to use big data to understand user needs and explore the MVP method.

4. Test and Gather Feedback

Testing prototypes with real users is vital. Observing their reactions and gathering feedback helps understand the emotional impact of your designs. This stage is about learning what works and what doesn’t, and making necessary adjustments. It’s also an opportunity to test different emotional triggers and see which ones truly connect with users.

See how to do customer interviews and then do proper customer feedback analysis for strategic insights.

5. Refine and Implement

Use the insights gathered to refine your designs. This stage involves fine-tuning the UX to enhance the positive emotional responses elicited during user testing. Once refined, these design elements can be implemented into the final product.

See how and why UX reviews keep you competitive and the 8 business benefits of a UX audit

6. Iterate Continuously

Emotional UX design is never complete. As user needs and contexts evolve, so too should the design. Regularly revisiting and revising the user experience ensures that the FinTech app remains emotionally relevant and engaging.

See the 6 signs that your product needs a UX audit and discover how to get the absolute best tech product design – including: how to design an app and how long app design should take as well as how much it costs to design a new app.

Need to reduce churn, and boost retention and satisfaction?

Ask our technical consultants about getting it right for your product.

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