BANK OF THE WEST

An innovative design system humanizes the digital banking experience

CLIENT

Bank of the West

STUDIO

San Francisco

SERVICES

Strategic Research
Social Impact + Sustainability
Design + Engineering

The Challenge

In 2020, Bank of the West asked propelland for help creating a compelling and intuitive digital banking experience that would convey, vividly, what makes Bank of the West a special place to bank.
A core problem with the previous Bank of the West website is that it had become difficult to use, both internally and externally. As new products and features were added over time, site navigation became more difficult for customers, while the back-end platform became increasingly complicated for the bank to manage.

Bank of the West had two main goals for its new website:

  1. Create a high-performing, mobile-first site for customers
  2. Resolve a complex navigation and information architecture that made it difficult

The Solution

To create a more intuitive front-end experience, the propelland team needed to first reconsider how the back-end worked. We understood that a new back-end platform – anchored by a comprehensive and intuitive design system –  would enable the Bank of the West website to grow sustainably and deliver an elevated front-end experience for customers.

The propelland team had four strategic imperatives for our work with Bank of the West:

An infrastructure for future marketing efforts

We conducted an audit on the full range of the existing customer experience to create a benchmark assessment of their offerings. Using our research, we worked with the Bank of the West teams to overhaul their design system into a more flexible and adaptive platform. For the platform, the propelland team designed a responsive component library enabling marketers to quickly build new web pages with pre-approved elements and templates.

Improved product discoverability 

After creating the design system, we implemented it to create key areas of the site and refine site structure to ensure it was accessible, transparent, and trustworthy – all while bringing Bank of the West’s unique brand values to the fore. We improved the overall content layout and navigation experience with a responsive and mobile-first mindset. 

A Scalable Design System

The new design system is a comprehensive framework that defines user requirements and provides a common library of pre-approved design assets to shape all future design decisions. Importantly, the design system is also reflected in the website code, ensuring that future coding work evolves the website without breaking it. As product offerings continue to grow, the design system will scale to support the portfolio.

Bringing the Bank's values to life

Bank of the West has the strongest environmental policy of any major U.S. bank. They created 1% for the Planet, a membership program in which the bank donates 1% of net revenue from the account to environmental non-profits through 1% for the Planet organization, at no cost to the client. We integrated their corporate values across the design system, elevating the Bank’s strong commitments to sustainability and diversity in an easily digestible and highly impactful format.

“Bank of the West is already deeply committed to its values around planet and people, and so the bigger question becomes: how are we getting that message out across all touchpoints? It’s about embedding it across all of our digital properties.”

-- Hisham Salama

Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, Bank of the West

Impact

Since launching the new site, the bank has experienced:
  • A 200 – 300% increase in the rate of prospects who go from the homepage to product pages
  • A 2-3X increase in the rate of existing customers who go from the homepage to the online banking portal
  • A 2-3X increase in both prospects and existing customers who go from product or compare pages to the online account opening page
 The overall result is a complete evolution of the Bank’s digital offerings and branding that clearly differentiates Bank of the West from other more traditional banks in the market. propelland is proud to have helped Bank of the West introduce a new generation of customers to a different kind of bank – one that understands their financial needs and aligns with their values.