The Builder

Crispin is our director of all things digital and always has his finger on the pulse. So, naturally, he’s got some fascinating ideas to share. Here’s the Builder’s point of view.

By Crispin Heath on Thursday, 3 November 2022

It’s been six years since the government’s commitment to developing pensions dashboards and it’s fair to say that it’s been a slow-burn exercise. But as the process comes to fruition, it’s worth considering what providers should be focusing on when they’re building.

Simplicity and transparency are key to ensuring the digital experience will be the richest it possibly can be for consumers and, aside from a clean and easy-to-navigate experience, I think there are three areas that can really help to improve the online experience.

Engagement with pensions is low, and ABI research shows that when savers do come to look at their pots the two things they want to know first are: ‘what is a fund?’ and ‘how is my pension invested?’. In developing the consumer digital journey it’s absolutely essential that education is a key element.

So my first thought is using video in a smart way, to create the best engagement. It helps break the barrier to entry down and is proven to result in more highly engaged consumers. If the pensions industry is to do this right, they need to take their inspiration from the FMCG space. Ikea and BMW do a fantastic job of explaining product usage and this should definitely be the approach to be taken when it comes to online portals.

But the video journey shouldn’t stop there. It’s important the tutorials continue as people start to use pensions portals more proactively, and here the inspiration would come from the SASS industry – they’re experts in creating easy-to-understand tutorials. Canva, for example, has fantastic walk-through videos for all of the feature sets and you can go from novice to expert without having to read much about it at all.

My second thought is to make things more visual. It’s important in a world with limited advice that providers make a real effort to help people recognise what they’re trying to achieve through visualisation. David McCandless pioneered data visualisation over 15 years ago and there are some really good infographics being created for static data by mainstream media channels now. But my feeling is that this sterling work simply hasn’t transferred into the live data space. Better investment in live data visualisation could help people understand what their end objectives are, or what their pension gap may be. Which is important, because if the industry continues to use numbers, helpsheet pdfs and complicated jargon, it just won’t have the impact we need.

My last thought is to augment the digital journey with external information, using industry data and support channels within an individual provider journey should really improve an individual’s understanding and provide some third-party reassurance that they’re doing the right thing.

Overall, my belief is that the key to improved user experience is through visual and information enhancement. Make people’s engagement informative and interesting, and we can help them feel they’re gaining knowledge and taking the right steps.

Head back to our main page and dive deeper into how we can shake up pensions together.

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