Lessons to Learn from the Maybank Website Disaster

For those of you who were unaware, Maybank decided to roll out a new online banking interface yesterday morning without any prior warning or alert.

Outcome: DISASTER

Rolling out a new interface is one thing. Rolling out a horrible, un-user friendly interface with bugs is quite another. I tested it myself and was quite furious at the fact that I had to wait minutes for the site to load, let alone figure out what’s what on the new design. In fact, when the page first loaded, I was taken aback. Confused, unsure if this was a phishing site. I had to do a google search and reload the page a few times before it finally sunk in.

And you guessed it right. Users started to post nasty comments on social media channels. At the last check, there were over 600 comments to Maybank’s message:



Some hilarious comments included:

Please kindly sack your IT Head, why roll out the new interface webpage on the last Friday of the month (where heavy usage is expected) ? Only 2 possibility, either the IT Head is Stupid or he/she don’t fxxking care about customer service.

I am still wondering – who was the brainiac who decided that YES, FRIDAY would be the BEST DAY to unleash our new look for the website. FRIDAY, you know, would be the BEST DAY! Because it is the End of the Week and End of the Month! Surely the customers won’t be affected much if the website has bugs. I mean, it’s Friday. End of the Week. End of the Month.

One more classic comment based on the design:

No one buys widows tablet so don’t need metro style.

Eventually, the public won. Maybank decided switch back to the old interface. At this time, the old website is back up and running much to the satisfaction of netizens all over. A few of them even expressed their thanks to Maybank on it’s official Facebook page.

So what exactly went wrong and how can this be avoided in future? I’ve been designing websites for 15 years now and here are some things we can learn when re-designing a website.

1. Change does not necessarily mean good, so baby steps please!

Many businesses believe that their websites need to have a new look each year. Heck, I’ve seen some revamp their site every few months or so. Now if you have heavy traffic to your site, especially a bank, you may want to reconsider how you approach the redesign process. People have gotten used to some processes and styles that it cannot be changed drastically.

Maybank’s website is used my millions on a daily basis. They have become so familiar with it that a radical design is bound to create a negative effect. Hence the right approach would have been to slowly evolve the design bit by bit. Maintain the overall look and feel but improve the layout (perhaps one that is responsive?), use cleaner fonts and maybe a wider page. Then after a few months, start to add new design elements. So the all new radical change will eventually be rolled out over a period of 1 to 2 years.

Look at how Facebook has evolved. Many of the design elements are the same and have been slowly improved. The only major radical change they introduced was the new timeline profile layout and even that was done over a period of time. Look at Google. Their design for Gmail has been the same for years but the design elements, look and feel have been improved slowly so it still looks up to date and modern.

2. Get user feedback prior to the redesign project

Maybank should have engaged a professional consultant to get public feedback on their current website before even embarking on a design change plan. What do people like and dislike? Not everyone is like Steve Jobs and can claim to know what the market needs and be innovative. The truth is, people like that are one in a million. Once the user feedback has been received, analyze it and understand what it means. Ensure the questions asked are right. Not close ended questions such as “Is our website nice?”

3. Inform the public first

So you have a website which has tonnes of traffic. Your customers are important and they are your asset. Make announcements ahead of time. Prepare guides, a video on how to use the new site. Set aside a special customer service team to support users during this transition period. Put up banners and billboards. Digital advertising works great. Perhaps even a website dedicated to the launch of this new site.

4.Give the option to switch back to the original layout

When rolling out a new interface for a website, especially a service website, always provide an option for the user to switch back to the original layout. This is a practice done by many companies around the world. Remember, when Google, recently launched the new “Compose” format for its e-mail. There was an option to switch to the “Old Compose”. Maybank could put a link allowing users to revert to the old design, at least for the first few months till customers are generally used to the new layout.

5. Get a good UX Designer.

A good user experience designer is one who understands the users behavior online and knows how to create the best web experience. DO NOT overlook the importance of this. They are usually both tech and business savvy. Your IT Department may not necessarily be the right team to handle this. Get an external consultant who specializes in this field. The value they bring to your design is priceless especially for a website with heavy traffic like Maybank’s Online Banking.

Note: To make matters worse. Maybank had a SMS alert problem later at night sending out text messages to users at odd hours past midnight which led to another round of furious customers complaining on their website.

My personal thoughts on the new look and feel:

  1. There’s no need to go down the metro style alley. Online Bank website should be clean, fast loading with minimal javascript or other form of scripts.
  2. Gradient colours and shadows on text and boxes are a thing of the past. Hardly any new websites incorporate these. The trend is flat and clean these days.
  3. Sideways scrolling. Do we really need this? Especially for a banking website
  4. With all the boxes, you might get lost trying to find where the login box is located. It’s been proven over and over again that a user will look on the top right for a login box but what we get instead is a link to the menu and a search icon.

I guess that wraps up this post. Hope you found it useful. Don’t forget to share it with others via the share buttons below! Cheers!

You can read a follow up to this article here: Crowd-sourcing a New Design for Maybank2u

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/semibad/

Kugan Kumar

V.Kugantharan is the founder of Joy With Music, where he teaches adults and kids the joys of playing the piano. He also runs a web design agency, 504 Studios. A father of a very “opinionated” four-year-old, he divides his time between his passions — blogging, reading, music, design and books.

Comments (40) Write a comment

  1. Good overall insight.However,I guess what you shared may seem one sided,and does not represent the absolute truth.
    Coming from project background,every new project done by large organization are properly studied before project is initiated,as large investment is required,and whether they are justifiable.
    I agree with your viewpoint that there are two areas that Maybank could have perhaps done better:
    1) Time of the Launch,and
    2) Implementation Plan,where they should give customers like us to have an option to select the new and old site via a splash page,instead of within the new site.
    Having said that I guess you should also be aware of the fact that any website should be an evolving solution,and it is impossible to modify a website gradually,given the advancement of web. Maybank is developing a responsive web design,which I believe the whole intention is to accommodate to the current technological needs,which if they don’t improve, we as customers will eventually complain too.

    The fact that Maybank uses metro style may appeal to some,and not others.If you look at any large Corporations,consistent look and feel is vital,and their Maybank corporate site has been adopting that for some time now.I believe it is their prerogative to do the same for their info and secured site.From feedbacks I read on their FB,I can safely conclude the slowness and many commented didn’t like the UI cause they had to relearn the whole user experience.While Maybank should have improved the network,that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a bad user experience,coming from their new GUI.

    Sadly,as Malaysians,we tend to be critical and often look at the negative aspect of everything. I’m writing this comment,sharing the same sentiment with you, as you felt the need to write this blog to share your viewpoint.I hope this paints a more neutral picture for others who would read your blog here.

    Reply

  2. Guess u didn’t have guts to post,as u just wanted to enjoy your two minutes of fame…

    Reply

  3. Hi, Thanks for your comment. Sadly, I am not sitting in front of my pc 24/7 and approve comments as an when I am online, hence your second comment would have been unnecessary.

    But that’s a great point of view. I believe the issue is not so much of it being metro style but simply on how user friendly it is and the way it could have been rolled out better.

    As for websites gradually changing, which you said its not possible..well for this, it would depend on how the initial website was built. Because most major website roll out design changes in phases successfully.

    Nevertheless, thank you for the insights. It was a good read. Cheers and have a great weekend!

    Reply

  4. Pingback: Lesssons to Learn from Maybank new UI Change | Prasys' Blog

    • Yup I agree with you to a certain extent. I am familiar with Windows 8. But I think from a user-friendly perspective, it has a long way to go considering the fact that this is a heavily used site by many looking to do some quick transactions.

      Reply

  5. Windows isn’t even friendly to look at, it looks horribly compressed and cluttered!

    Reply

  6. Maybank did informed their customer before they launch the new interface but most of us are not aware. Dont just blame them

    Reply

    • I did not receive any e-mail from Maybank or sms! how did they inform the customers? Even many of my friends who are maybank users never got any notifications

      Reply

    • I’ve been using M2U for 5 over years now, never changed my mobile number at all..how they missed out the announcement to me?? Mistake?? Nope, THEY DIDN’T!

      Reply

      • Dave,announcement was made on their m2u banner.normally it is not bank’s practice to send email or SMS on such news,as it is bank’s practice not to send notification on such matters.Such modus operandi could be abused and intercepted by phishers to create a bogus website.

        Reply

  7. Trust me, IT only executes what the business users i.e. operations ppl. They have all the say and usually getting an external consultant to consult on UI is not an option because they do not want to pay the money needed. Asians being Asians. No matter wht risks IT forsee and highlight to them will usually be swept under the rug and disregarded as trivial. No choice IT will need to deliver because the business says so. Don’t blame IT first, blame the operations ppl first then IT.

    Reply

    • agreed. Most companies feel that a UI consultant is a waste of money. True on the operations involvement. Usually its both who jointly make the decision from my experience.

      Reply

  8. Pingback: Crowd-sourcing a New Design for Maybank2u | V.Kugantharan

    • I agree with Galvin and I checked that link, good try, but I don’t think it works in terms of the very messy grid and column, it won’t work for multiple screen sizes, unless you are building each of them separately which will cost a lot more also taken more time. This is the basic before going into “design”.

      Reply

      • actually that mock up can be easily done in a responsive way. there are tonnes of websites these days with do no have box layouts like the metro style that adapt well on any device.

        Reply

  9. just had the chance to read this article – excellent ideas pointed out … Maybank should take heed of the suggestions made.

    Reply

  10. probably not even the IT heads fault- so often in businesses nowadays the top management just want to ‘do something’ to make their mark. This is possibly a case of someone being over ambitious, approving a project to revamp the WHOLE site, with an unrealistic unmovable target date.

    Reply

    • Totally agree with your statement. even though IT Team advise top
      management on the right process & precautions, still Top management
      will be firm with their decision. If the project is failure, management will pinpoint IT department. lets say it is a successful project they will take the credit. IT team always a victim.

      Reply

    • I was in IT field, the people who most likely approved the rollout are the business people (people like the CEO or high level people), not the IT people because they doesn’t have the authority to do that. so think twice about sacking the IT head. Well existing interface is ok but its not going to last long due to the advent of mobile devices and maybank needs to synchronize their identity across all platforms. Now they should be fixing the bug due to backend design errors or a lack of high performance testing. What most people doesn’t realise that its a very difficult job to come out with solutions that serves millions of people and very often rigorous high performance testing needs to be done, especially before the rollout. If its that easy, google or microsoft or other major tech companies doesn’t need to pay top dollars for these kind of top tier minds.

      Reply

  11. The User interface Design and User Experience Design in web application is still very new for Malaysia market.
    Everyone is rushing to the build a website or web application to engage the online community but forget to evolve with the market with in depth study.
    With Google, Facebook, and other web application company constantly changing their user interface. Most of our user interface design is still stuck at the design standard of 2010.

    More improvement needed for Malaysia web application design. It is no longer just technical development but also development on visual communication.

    Reply

  12. The clear example that Maybank should follow locally is DiGi. They evolved their site across months. I think they have come a long way and seems to be ahead of the curve. Would love them to have a mobile site but I love the way on how they have thought through the user journeys.

    Reply

  13. Hi,
    I’m one of the customer of MayBank and like to share my experience i had just 2 yesterday (i.e. 05th Dec 2013).

    Just say in one/short line it was a “Hercules job to login to my account online!”
    Normally I don’t acces online banking site much, this time I wanted to do changes to my air tickets and I wanted to make sure I have enough balance in my account before I go with the changes. I was using my Debit Card.
    I type in the web site address however even after 60+ seconds nothing comeup other than a popup window however even that was empty i.e. contents were getting loaded…!!! still. I thought may be my net would have been a issue for the slowness and reset my internet modem and restarted my PC and try again, still the same!!!
    I try just maybank.com rather maybank2u.com, it cameup but I couldn’t find out any way out to online banking!!! it was really a maze kind of a web site to me!
    Later I didn’t had much time to spend on this PC version so quickly I used my tablet and it was as normal. I’m not sure was this was also roll out to new version or they rolled back, however my job was done with my tablet.
    Later I heard the news. This is was a really a big shock! I work in IT and in a Bank as well, but May Bank is also one of the major bank how come they can roll out such a web site that’s not stable yet.
    It not just the developer misstake it’s their testers mistake, was their tester know how to use internet banking?! I don’t thing so.
    At least the IT of May Bank may have conducted some kind of operation readness test before the launch! may have avoided such a big inconvienance to customers.
    Its time for May Bank Big People to wake up from their sleeps and get to work if they are really cares for cusotmer services.
    -Kanagal.

    Reply

  14. Hi,
    I’m one of the customer of MayBank and like to share my experience i had just 2 yesterday (i.e. 05th Dec 2013).
    Just say in one/short line it was a “Hercules job to login to my account online!”

    Normally I don’t acces online banking site much, this time I wanted to do changes to my air tickets and I wanted to make sure I have enough balance in my account before I go with the changes. I was using my Debit Card.

    I type in the web site address however even after 60+ seconds nothing comeup other than a popup window however even that was empty i.e. contents were getting loaded…!!! still. I thought may be my net would have been a issue for the slowness and reset my internet modem and restarted my PC and try again, still the same!!!

    I try just maybank.com rather maybank2u.com, it cameup but I couldn’t find out any way out to online banking!!! it was really a maze kind of a web site to me!

    Later I didn’t had much time to spend on this PC version so quickly I used my tablet and it was as normal. I’m not sure was this was also roll out to new version or they rolled back, however my job was done with my tablet.

    Later I heard the news. This is was a really a big shock! I work in IT and in a Bank as well, but May Bank is also one of the major bank how come they can roll out such a web site that’s not stable yet.

    It not just the developer misstake it’s their testers mistake, was their tester know how to use internet banking?! I don’t thing so.

    At least the IT of May Bank may have conducted some kind of operation readness test before the launch! may have avoided such a big inconvienance to customers.

    Its time for May Bank Big People to wake up from their sleeps and get to work if they are really cares for cusotmer services.

    -Kanagal.

    Reply

    • Thanks Peter.I love you design. One suggestion though is that you may want to make the login more visible on the home page. Perhaps even inserting the username and clicking on login directly on the home page on the top right. Something like what is done in paypal.com now.

      Reply

  15. Pingback: Crowd-sourcing a New Design for Maybank2u | V.Kugantharan

  16. I hope you will let me use this space to vent my frustration. It is somewhat irrelevant to what you have written but I found your blog so please dont delete this post. Can you believe that it takes them more than 24 hours to open a current account?!!!! The employees are so lazy and inefficient!!!!!!………I am very frustrated with the officer in Maybank Jalan Larkin Branch in Johor. I submitted my completed application (all documentation requirements met) for a current account on 29th May 2014 at 1 pm and by 4 pm on 30th May, (more than 24 hours later) the account is still not opened…….. I even called in the morning to indicate that I need the account urgently and she still takes her own sweet time!!!!!

    Reply

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  19. I delight in, cause I found exactly what I was having a look
    for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a
    great day. Bye

    Reply

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