The Bank That’s Close to You – Even Online
Recently, the curtains were lifted to unveil a completely new and improved zkb.ch. Visitors can learn about the bank’s products and services on the new website and order them online, a goal Zürcher Kantonalbank had set itself at the start of the project. Two main objectives drove the zkb.ch relaunch: The bank wanted to lay the foundation for the website to become a fully-fledged sales channel and make good on their promise of being the “bank close to you”. At the same time, it wanted to offer its customers a consistent experience across its online channels and meet their needs.
To achieve these goals, Zürcher Kantonalbank carried out a complete overhaul of its website: a new design, clean navigation with direct access points, revised code base and fresh new content. For the latter, Zürcher Kantonalbank brought us on board together with experts from the ruby.ag and Ratundtat agencies. In a five-strong team, we optimised their content from A to Z, starting with A for analysis.
Users and Search Engines Do Not Like Technical Jargon
At the start of the project, we did a content audit and an SEO analysis. These two methods provide an insight into the current state of the website content. This in turn enables us to identify weaknesses in the content and address them with targeted actions.
During the content audit, we take stock of the existing content and assess it. We answer questions on the type and quality of the content. The SEO analysis is all about checking whether the content is suitable for search engines such as Google.
When we analysed the “old zkb.ch”, this is what we found:
- The majority of the pages ranked primarily for search strings including the brand.
- The navigation structure with its long click paths, redundant content and technical jargon had a negative impact on user experience.
More Than 500 Pages Revised
During content generation, we systematically addressed the content issues we had discovered during analysis. We also decided to define a few rules and processes in advance.
Good Texts Need Guidelines
Without writing rules and processes, no website will ever be coherent. That is why we defined a set of rules before we started the writing process. To do so, we supported the brand managers of Zürcher Kantonalbank in drafting content guidelines and also consolidated, completed and formalised existing guidelines.
The result is a document that will be made available to everyone writing for the bank. It contains the following documents:
- Brand language and tone of voice
- Linguistic principles and general language rules
- Writing guidelines for UX, SEO and accessibility
Revising a website with more than 500 pages requires a well-structured approach. Together with the project manager and experts from concept and design, we grouped the existing pages into roughly 20 work packages. Every work package had different stakeholders. During workshops on content architecture, we consolidated contents together and created a new structure.
A Look Into Our Writing
Workshop With an overhauled sitemap, a schedule and various content and design briefings on hand, we set about writing. We employed the UX writing techniques for our work. We edited existing pages, optimised headers, rewrote meta data and adapted lead and body texts. In addition, we wrote appealing teasers and looked at assets such as PDFs, images and illustrations. To rank better in Google searches and particularly in generic search requests, we systematically optimised strategically important pages to improve their search engine visibility.
Throughout the entire writing process, we were in touch with bank experts who made their extensive expertise available to the project.
Publishing: More Than Just Copy and Paste
Once the content has been created, it needs to be transferred into the modules and components of the content management system. That requires publishers with a good eye for the entire customer journey.
For publishing, we were able to bring in Zürcher Kantonalbank employees with considerable experience in testing and quality assurance. Together, we designed, structured, illustrated, linked and published all pages and assets while respecting all design and content briefings. We tested components, clicked through all links and reported bugs to the bank’s own developers.
Added Value for Customers
We are more than happy with the new zkb.ch. The content revision significantly improved user experience:
- Users find answers to their questions faster.
- Content is easy to understand.
- Appealing calls to action intuitively lead to the next action.
- The new brand language communicates the vision and values of Zürcher Kantonalbank.
- The self-service area facilitates day-to-day banking such as opening an account.
- Applications, calculators and interactive tools are embedded better into the content and are easier to find.
Lessons Learned From a Content Perspective
In a relaunch project of this magnitude, there are always ups and downs. In the content team, we had to overcome a few obstacles, but also had many milestones to celebrate.
Parallel Project Phases
For one thing, due to a tight schedule, the individual project phases such as concept and design, content production, technical implementation and publishing were not consecutive, but overlapped in part. This meant that we had to start creating content for certain work packages even though the concept phase had not been completed. As a result, we had to test certain pages without the design being cut and dried.
At first glance this looked to be a problem, but in the project team, we saw it as an opportunity. Since the concept was not yet final, we were able to contribute to the user journeys through content prototyping.
We also started publishing before all components were available. As a result, we had to revise certain pages multiple times. However, this allowed us to refine the specification of certain components and continually test and improve modules.
Handover From Change Process to Live Operation
The content team consisted primarily of people who are not in charge of day-to-day content management for zkb.ch. That is why we had to help the content managers in charge of live operation familiarise themselves with the new writing standards, structure, components and page elements. Through interactive workshops, the “ops team” quickly picked up the necessary skills. After go-live, the ops team took back the reins and is now responsible for the new content in its own web room.
Last, but not least: The great collaboration in the content team and beyond is another of our key takeaways. We saw once again that cross-disciplinary collaboration can work wonderfully across multiple companies, even though, due to the covid crisis, the project members have been working almost entirely from home recently. We are convinced that this is because everyone involved has always put the users’ needs first.
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