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Online Banking Application: Titan-Banking

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The online application we have chosen for this particular project is that of an online Internet banking application for a newly proposed bank company known as “Titan-Banking”.

The introduction of online banking applications has helped provide a convenient service to people on a global scale over the past number of decade. Online banking applications are available to everyone from post elementary graduates to pensioners and this facility has provided bank account users with online service platforms to carry out their financial management at any time from the comfort of their own homes. People can have their work pay checks deposited automatically into their accounts rather than waiting for a check to clear or obtain payments (cash into their hands). Internet banking offers a wide range of different services all of which are beneficial for consumers. In order for the online banking application to meet various consumer requirements’ the application should be dynamically sufficient to allow banking customers from different backgrounds to use the application with ease.

Context of use
• The online bank account service application is proposed be used by the general population for account management requirements and queries such as withdrawals, direct debits, bill management/checking and financial transfers. • Users of the bank account application will access their bank account details from the comfort of their own homes or when in transit. Remote access to their accounts through the Internet is appealing to anyone as it saves you the trouble of travelling to your local branch to view your financial details and carrying out transactions. Motivations for using the account will vary depending on the person using the application. For example students may choose to use the online account to view their college grant payments or part time work payments. Elderly users of the account will find the application useful for checking their pension plans and payments the ordinary worker can use • The evolution of the Internet has created a list of several new ways to conduct banking business. Some banks are now even Internet only banks and conduct their entire operations over the Internet unlike AIB & Bank Of Ireland which have both physical (brick&mortar) and web based services. • Online banking applications privileges bank customers by helping them avoid standing in queues for ATM’s or teller windows.

There are however some people who may not find the concept of Internet banking as easy as others which is mainly down to technology restrictions and computing skill levels. If we take a look at a sample comparison between student bank customers and elderly bank customers (people over the age of sixty five) there are numerous factors which affect each group’s use of a online bank account service. University students will be far more familiar with computing technologies and the concept of the Internet services as opposed to the pensioners who may not have ever used a computer before. The general population of students rely heavily on their bank accounts to manage their academic lifestyles therefore it is far more likely the use of an online bank account will fit into their daily life. New user friendly technology needs to be developed and put into practice to assist elderly people and their banking needs. People over the age of sixty five might require some level of computing training before they are even able to use a computer, if this is the case it’s extremely doubtful they will have a good level of knowledge for interacting with an online banking application. The availability of technology should also be considered here, as mentioned students should have access to PCs in university although a constraint for the elderly population might be that they do not own a computer or laptop.

• The general population of university students have frequent local access to computing resources both on campus and on their personal laptops. Our online “Titan-Banking” application requires Internet connectivity to gain access to the application; therefore technically speaking users must be near a computer to use the application. In comparison to students the elderly population might not be attending college which means their opportunities of using PCs are already limited unless they indeed purchase or already own one. • Elderly people may not own a laptop or PC and therefore may not have the same ease of access that students might have. If an elderly person does however own a computer and has access to the Internet they still might encounter difficulties when it comes to using an online application such as a banking account. Using a keyboard mouse and interacting with computer programs may prove to be too much to soon for inexperienced users. Although not all elderly people are unfamiliar with computers and the Internet • People come from various different backgrounds and there are specific social factors that influence every ones life differently.

Social and economic factors also affect peoples use of the Internet, there is currently a significant pattern difference of Internet usage between young and old, male and female, rich and poor, and also well educated and less well educated. If we expand the target audience for our Titan-Banking application onto a global scale there will be some startling comparisons in usage rates. Well educated people will fully be aware of what the Internet works and what it involves, they might not know the specifics of how the Internet functions but they will have some idea. However third world countries will unfortunately have lower rates of well educated people, children or teenagers who have left school early or not attended at all may have no idea what Internet applications are really about. All of these demographic factors must be taken into account when designing any online applications which is intended to be used by a broad spectrum of people. Titan-Banking’s online application is not meant for the well educated, rich, computer orientated or young classes of people in-fact it’s proposition is global.

Our chosen online banking application for Titan-Banking LTD will be structured for used by everyone including the elderly blind and non experienced users. Our objective is to create an online banking service which will allow the population to manage their financial accounts with ease from home or when travelling. Specific alterations to the application will take place to ensure there is no accessibility or availability issue. We hope to develop a universally acceptable platform which will provide a hassle free service to consumers. The aim here is simplicity and security, allowing all users to use the online banking service without unnecessary complications. Security is an important aspect; the service must be secure in order to gain consumer confidence. We also wish to cater for our debilitated customers by creating a hassle free step by step guided service, over the past number of years many online companies have made reasonable adjustments to their online service delivery for the benefit of people with disabilities.

Expertise of users
• According to surveys 81% of Americans under the age of sixty have used computers on a frequent basis. This survey alone shows that the general population is familiar with computers and how to use them whether it’s browsing through websites, online shopping or sending emails. However it’s essential we take the other 19% of people into account i.e. those who are not familiar with computers. • There is a few constraints and barriers which may stand in the way of elderly using our intended online bank account application. One particularly reason elderly people might choose not to use the Internet is because of the security concerns associated with it or they just might not feel confident enough with technology.

“If we consider any of the health issues associated with ageing we would see that banking over the Internet should be an instrument of choice for the elderly”. Many people will suffer from mobility issues and other health problems when they begin to age therefore using Internet banking would offer an at ease service which doesn’t require much physical movement. For these reasons alone it is essential we increase the awareness of ageing issues over the online web community.

Requirements & Functionality Of Titan Online Banking Application

Our Titan Banking online web application will allow users to carry out a large range of different virtual banking functions and commands. “Titan-Banking online” wishes to provide users with all the regular services associated with physical banks along with a wide range of new appealing services. The Titan Banking application services are provided and based upon a multi-layer tier structure.

The application offers regular banking services such as bill paying, transactions, direct debit, financial forecasting, cash depositing and withdrawal requesting. Users will be able to access their consumer accounts and carry out various different financial actions whether it’s paying your electricity bill or depositing cash received from a product sold on EBay. There is also an included set of add on premium services available to the application users to overview their financial situations. During this current economic crisis Titan Banking has put forward the idea of offering a set of premium services to help users along with the basic online banking services. These premium services include tax monitoring, cash-flow management, investment forecasting, advice on purchases and savings account interest information. Combining all of these services essentially makes managing your money easier and more rewarding. Users will have high expectations of the application; therefore including a set of premium services which outline financial management schemes will certainly settle any consumer queries.

Different users will desire different outcomes from using the application therefore limiting functionality of the application itself is not an option.

Meeting User Expectations
The key to designing a user friendly bank application for elderly people is to take all of their needs into consideration. Simple adjustment’s can be implemented to our own application along with other existing online web applications which may pose usability concerns for consumers. The barriers associated with elderly people’s use of the Internet along with those who suffer from disabilities such as dexterity problems or vision impairments need to be broken and fixed accordingly. Some potential change proposals are listed below all of which can contribute greatly to the task of helping the non technology affiliated citizens become more accustomed to using the Internet.

Titan Banking Application Features
• Increased font sizes – avoid small font size as this could be difficult read • Easier website layouts – help consumers find exactly what they are looking for on the website. For example if a student is looking to check their student bank balance an icon should be clearly visible in a menu as opposed to having a small icon partially hidden on the page. Ensuring the online Titan-Banking application suits elderly citizen’s usability issues is vital, the content provided on the website for the online application for example form buttons, icons, text paragraphs, headers should all be kept constant. Making drastic changes to the layout for different page will almost certainly cause confusion and deter consumers. When the user clicks onto the application they should be able to distinguish one menu option for the other, a good idea here would be to colour code headings for example using a colour red for withdrawal queries and a colour green for deposit queries. • The use of colour coding may be a great deal of help for those trying to navigate the menus although for colour blind consumers this would be non beneficial. Arrow blinking and voice instructions could help colour blind people browse through the application.

• Non technical descriptions – complex tasks or action descriptions should be binned, the concept of a clear page layout is most important therefore any additional complexity should be avoided. • Clearer instructions and short text paragraphs can all help make an application more senior friendly – providing help assistance to users is a good way of ensuring consumers will not become lost and can carry out their objectives with ease. • Automated voice assistance – perhaps a costly plug-in for the banking application although people with disabilities need to be assisted wherever possible. Vision impaired citizens will not be able to navigate the application menus on their own without voice automated software assistance.

This automated voice software will act as a tour guide to the Titan-Banking visitors by helping them through every step involved with accessing their bank accounts. For example if a vision impaired consumer clicks onto the application they can use speakers or headphones to follow voice instructions. These instructions could inform the user where different menus are and where they need to scroll/click using the mouse. • Avoid placing confusing adverts on web-page – more content could mean more confusion for users. Some consumers may not be able to distinguish between adverts and the actual banking application. • Use of plain font text language – times new roman is straight forward and readable, it’s not fancy and can be formatted bold or italic depending on the user’s preference. • Breadth vs. depth

• Type weight – use bold case font to immediately attract user’s attention and make text information more viewable for users with vision impairment.

The online bank account application should be developed in accordance to what users may require, making a graphical user interface which is easy to navigate is most important. We must look at the implementation of these features to the online bank account for an inexperienced user’s point of view also. How can we make using the application an easy process is the main question we have been asked, developing the perfect application in terms of usability is a difficult process but most certainly semi achievable.

Part 2 – Task Analysis

In the first part of this project we analysed our user needs and gathered together a list of requirements to fulfil those particular needs. Identifying appropriate tasks to fulfil these needs is important to validate the project requirements and to ensure potential consumers are happy with the services Titan-Banking offer.

Tasks include:
• Designing an easy to use online banking application developing appropriate transaction processes • Making the application secure – compliant with relevant security protocols • Developing appropriate accessibility controls with the end user in mind and with an attractive look and feel • Developing efficient code to achieve banking tasks

Designing the application

Designing a functional online banking application is no mean feat, there are many elements that are vital to the functionality and usefulness of the service. As previously mentioned Titan-Banking wishes to provide a hassle free service to it’s consumers by following all of the design and security guidelines mentioned in this document.

This process is the first one presented to the user of the application. There are numerous tasks associated with this process.

In a successful log-in the tasks are as follows:
• Application requests customer number
• User submits customer number
• Validation of customer number
• Application requests password and pin number
• Validation of password and pin number
• User Authenticated

Each request from the application requires validation for the next task to be implemented, any failure of a request to be satisfied will result in a log-in failure. In the event of a log-in failure the correct procedures must be taken to ensure unauthorized personnel cannot gain access to online bank accounts. Some fraudulent users may try to fool the form input processes on the web-page application through hacking, cross site scripting or fishing. The use of password and account number authentication is not enough to ensure Titan-Banking’s online application is completely secure therefore other methods of security procedures need to be considered and put forward.

Home Screen
Once the user is authenticated, they are brought to the home screen where they are shown the balance on each of their accounts, recent transactions, as well as a menu linking other banking tasks. The tasks on this menu are shown below: • Statements

• Payments and Transfers
• Alerts
• Administration
• Settings

The home screen is menu coordinated and straight forward so general users will encounter no problems or usability issues whilst performing tasks on the system.

When a user clicks or requests a menu item, they are brought to a page for that menu item, the task descriptions are below.

The statements page contains all the tasks a user can carry out in relation to statements. A user can request a statement from the system for a given time period. • User requests statement
• Application requests the user to select the specific bank account and time frame • User selects account and time frame
• Application displays statement

There are a number of sub-tasks associated with the display-statement task. A user can sort by date, type, amount, name etc.

Here the user can carry out single one off payments or regular payments (such as phone or electricity bills) • User requests to make payment
• System presents form with relevant details
• User enters information of payee (name, account number, sort code, amount, reference) • System checks details
• If check successful user gets confirmation and payment is submitted, if check failure user receives notice.

Within these task users can set up alerts. These alerts can be tailored to perform a variety of different tasks such as displaying the balance on an account, alerting a user when their balance reaches a certain level or is going into overdraft. The system performs the alert task on a preset schedule, for example daily, weekly or monthly.

A sample implementation may look something like this:
• System retrieves balance from selected account
• System retrieves mobile number from contact details of user • System sends text message to users mobile number

Here the user can manage their credit/debit cards, request a cheque/lodge-ment book, and manage how they receive their statements.

A sample implementation may look something like this:
• User requests cheque book for an account
• System checks if cheque book access is enabled for this account • If approved, system sends notification to user of same and sends a message to the stationery department • If not approved, user is notified that cheques are not enabled for the account

Here a user can manage their pin and passwords, change account names etc.

A sample implementation may look something like this:
• User requests to change their password
• System requests current password
• User enters current password
• System checks if the user entered password is the same as the current password • If the password is correct, the user is invited to enter a new password twice (to alleviate mistakes) • If the password is incorrect the user is notified of same and the password change tries is decremented by 1

Developing appropriate accessibility controls
We aim to do our best to cater for all of our customers, this include users with an impairment of some description. This is not an easy task as many can appreciate, we aim to bring continual improvement to the application as a whole and these features, we believe this will set us apart from the competition and give us a competitive advantage.

Voice control
The user can control the system using voice activation. When the user is set up with the system initially, they are given training on what are the appropriate voice commands. There is also a voice help file in the system which can be accessed by simply issuing the command ‘help’.

A sample implementation may look something like this:
• A user requests the balance of an account by voice
• The system checks asks for a pass-code to verify the user • The user iterates the pass-code
• If correct, the system says the pass-code
• If incorrect the user is informed of same

Screen Reader
The user can utilise a screen reader if needed to help them access the system. This is to be developed to read the text in an easy to understand manner, learning from our research about existing screen readers.

A sample implementation may look something like this:
• The user wishes to use the screen reader on the home page • The user uses a voice command to turn on the screen reader • The system asks for a pass-code
• The user provides the pass-code
• If correct the screen reader reads out the options on the home page • If incorrect the user is informed of same

Screen Magnifier
The facility gives the user the option to magnify various parts of the screen. The user can issue the system to perform this task on an ad-hoc basis or set the interface at a permanent percentage magnification.

A sample implementation may look something like this:
• A user can request to use the screen magnifier with a voice command • The system asks for a pass-code
• The user provides the pass-code
• If correct the screen magnifier is turned on
• If incorrect the user is informed of same
Standard services
Menus – retrieve bank statement, view account balance, withdrawal ,bill paying, direct debit, deposit Premium services financial forecasting, investment advice
SEE PART 1 AMIGO i wrote some more 🙂 Cool !!!!!

Skill level of users

User Demographic
• Students (post-primary, undergraduate, post grad etc) • Private and Public Sector Employees
• Employers
• Debilitated users – blind, deaf, impariments etc
• OAP’s

Uses of the bank account system
• Bill paying and overview
• Direct debits
• Transfers
• Savings account (interest growth)
• Investments
• Security purposes (money saved in one secure location)

Usage Concerns
• Phishing
• Shoulder Surfin
• Hacked Encrytion


[1] 81% of americans have used computers

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