I spoke with the Umpqua Bank Web Development Team day before yesterday for an interview. It was fun talking to the crew over there and discussing what they've been working on. It sounds like a lot of things are afoot at the Umpqua. One of the things speaking with them has led me to do was to really check out further the Umpqua Web Experience and do a little comparison check.
First off, take a look at the clean design, right front and center, of their web site.
First off, I can honestly say Generation X & Generation Y will most likely find the Umpqua Site far superior in first appearance than any of the other sites. Let me review real quick why.
The Bank of America site comes up, with the entire thing shifted to the left, and forced to a set pixel width. The pixel width is fine, except on modern machines that have decent resolution, it gets really weird. The big problem though, is the fact that one's eyes actually TURN to see were on the page the site has been painted. Not front and center were it should be, but off to the left. This I find nuts that anybody still does this. On an Intranet Site it would be acceptable, but online, "very not cool".
I rarely have anything negative to say about BOA but their current site definitely needs an update – SOON.
The second site, from Citigroup, definitely comes up front and center on any browser I use. There is one slight problem for Gen X & Gen Y though. Their site immediately makes you think of some big wormy corporation or being accosted by a suit attempting to sell you a car. Nice site, nice layout, wrong first impression, especially being that it is NOT the first impression Citi has been working years to achieve. Somehow they continue to miss the mark.
The US Bank Site is just rough. It looks very dated, hangs to the left, has an odd initial login section on the side that people do NOT trace with their eyes first, and overall is just laid out poorly. There is too much activity on the site and… ok, I'm done, this site is just going to frustrate me. This is the type of site that Gen X & Y don't prefer, and anyone not in those groups usually gets overwhelmed by the busy nature of the layout. I personally wouldn't have kept it open this long except I'm reviewing the page design.
So back to Umpqua. First I'll hit on the very minor negatives, there aren't many to start with. The site has good colors, but doesn't quit scale right to bigger screens. Being this is the only site of those mentioned that even attempts to handle some scaling in a minor way, I'm impressed. The second thing is the square corners, it is dumb to say this, but rounded corners are easier on the eyes and more oriented toward the whole web 2.0 ideal. It's a minor thing, but it does differentiate and it absolutely makes a difference in the long term. Yeah, I know, here I am arguing for rounded corners. Never thought I'd be blogging about such a thing, but I stand by it. Rounded corners are cool and important to layout.
Now for the good parts. The Umpqua Site has good white space, the type that allows you to actually see the focal points of the page. The white space allows you to see the priority sections also. The colors that surround some words, the other background behind the white space, and the lower "Umpqua Extras" section has colors that do not clash, and help to bring a slightly more focused look at some of the other priority spaces without drawing you away from the important market spaces for "e-switch to Umpqua", "LocalSpace", and "earn cash back". The sign in section is fairly easy to find, being bolded and colored with a bluish off tone.
Overall the site looks great, is easy on the eyes, doesn't cause one to look it over in an unnatural way, is easy on the eyes, and above all, attracts new users to were they should look and provides an easy to find area for returning users.
I rate it A+ for bank web site!