It’s apparent from the time the first pixel hits the screen that Ally.com marches to the beat of a different drum. Its bold design, cartoonish imagery, and bulleted content make it stand out from its buttoned-up competitors.
While Ally.com’s design choices do play an essential part in its success, there is more to this site’s strategy than meets the eye.
By the Numbers
Interestingly, the winner of the 2020 Finance Usability Index takes the top spot without a single sub-category first-place ranking or Good Practice rating. So, how did it beat out the other 29 sites on the roster?
When we look at the numbers, we find that Ally.com brings in the most rankings above fifth place with its best performances in the Search, Investor Relations, and Services Marketing categories. Conversely, the websites that do rank first in one or two categories tend to fall apart everywhere else.
For example, FreddieMac.com brings in two first-place rankings, topping the Search and Corporate Information categories. Then it sinks below 10th place in four other categories – including Services Marketing.
The same goes for BBT.com, which tops the rankings in the two most important categories, Services Marketing and Call to Action. But it ranks below 10th place in three other categories.
How does Ally.com do it?
So, how does Ally.com win if it doesn’t earn any first-place rankings or Good Practice ratings?
Because the site is consistently simple and solid. From its design to its content to its calculators, the site never wavers in appearance, voice, or quality. What’s more, it does things differently than many of its straight-laced competitors.
This begs the question: what is it doing that others are missing?
At Ally, what you see is what you get
Ally.com’s straightforward architecture and navigation nomenclatures make the site incredibly easy to navigate.
The site doesn’t use any fancy names as navigation options. If you are looking for information about their savings accounts, you click on “Online Savings.” Looking for a home loan? Just click on “Buy a Home.” This simplicity continues within the secondary navigation panel, where visitors can learn “How It Works” or read “FAQs.” The use of everyday language makes finding information exceptionally easy for financial experts and novices alike.
Ally.com also presents information using headers that speak directly to the reader. For example, content about Ally.com’s streamlined home loan application process is introduced by “You want a home, not a home loan.” Meanwhile, the Online Savings page begins with, “Your hard-earned money deserves a harder-working savings account.” Who can argue with that?
It also keeps things simple
Ally.com’s bulleted content structure may make it seem short on details, but each paragraph packs a lot of information in easy to understand bundles.
For instance, the “How it Works” section on the “Buy a Home” page displays five bullets that walk the reader through the loan application process. Each paragraph is expertly crafted to explain what each step entails, suggest research they should do (with resources), and address concerns they may have. Some sections also include links to estimation calculators and additional content.
Novices can also learn as they go. Some content offers definitions of more complicated phrasing and concepts, such as what FDIC means or compounded interest, which familiarizes them with common topics that they will need to know when searching for a financial service.
It uses calculators as content
Informative tables and intuitive calculators support Ally.com’s content. This approach allows visitors to read the short marketing content, then see the results in action based on their situation.
The calculators aren’t complicated either. Each one asks for the minimum amount of information to produce a result, which makes it less likely that visitors will get lost or confused.
Best of all, the results are a work of art. Tables use a generous amount of white space to make the information stand out. Meanwhile, calculators that deliver more complex results use graphs and sliders to make the data easier to digest and manipulate.
It puts its best foot forward
Where most financial institutions remain mum about their clients, Ally.com proudly posts customer reviews and star ratings across the site. It also sprinkles its awards throughout content to show the strength of its offerings.
The bottom line
Ally.com’s uncomplicated approach isn’t for everyone. Financial experts may find its icon-based imagery juvenile and its high-level content overly simplistic. However, even the most knowledgeable of finance gurus can’t argue that this highly usable site is a breath of fresh air.
About the siteIQ Usability Index
siteIQ evaluated the thirty Financial Websites listed on the 2020 siteIQ Usability Index. These Websites are categorized into three industry-specific segments including:
- Commercial Banks (53.com, BankofAmerica.com, BBT.com, BNYMellon.com, Citigroup.com, GoldmanSachs.com, JPMorganChase.com, Key.com, MorganStanley.com, NorthernTrust.com, Regions.com, StateStreet.com, SunTrust.com, USBank.com, WellsFargo.com)
- Diversified Financials (AJG.com, Ally.com, Ameriprise.com, Blackstone.com, FannieMae.com, FreddieMac.com, INTLFCStone.com, Jefferies.com, Synchrony.com, Voya.com)
- Securities (EdwardJones.com, FranklinResources.com, IntercontinentalExchange.com, KKR.com, Schwab.com)
These in-depth evaluations were conducted using the 2020 edition of the siteIQ Usability Index Best Practices Benchmark, which tracks results in 9 sub-categories and 16 Usability Dimensions.
The 2020 evaluations were performed during the first quarter of 2020.
Category: Index Rankings
Class: Website Reviews and Rankings
Websites Profiled: siteIQ Usability Index Websites – Finance Industry