Convergence. There is no doubt that self-service banking channels continue to converge. Call it whatever you like; increasingly a financial service executive can solve channel challenges with a mindset of singularity. It is not always completely possible but it is a good goal, one that recognizes a simple fact: in a vast majority of instances when measured over a period of time, customers and members want to use more than one channel. Therefore, the experience needs to be consistent and moving from one channel to another needs to be as seamless as possible.
Divergence. Each self-service channel has a unique way of interacting with it. This is true even within channels, like when comparing different types of mobile phones, or even more granular, different types of Android phones. The way we navigate through a channel, the way information is presented, even simple things such as font size, can all be different because they are optimized to make that channel or that device as easy as possible to use. The various channels diverge at some level. While the way the brand is represented and the feature set may be identical and very familiar from channel to channel, certain “channel conventions” prevail. Divergence.
Divergent Convergence. As self-service channels continue to expand, they are converging. Members and customers benefit when channels are familiar and consistent, particularly when issues can be solved regardless of what channel they choose to use on any given day. In fact, they expect certain conventions to be followed. Each channel will have distinct characteristics. User-interfaces follow their own well-known and well-used conventions for each particular channel. So channels are coming together and yet the specific advantages of any given channel are being retained. This coordinated strategy allows for a blending of the best of all worlds. Divergent Convergence.
And here is the best news. Forever, designers have anticipated a day when the technology slipped behind the scenes and instead we started talking about the size of the screen, or the “form-factor”. We are now very close to that design vision. Potentially the world of self-service channel design can now be divided into four (4) high level “form-factors”. Phone or small format. Tablet or medium format. Desktop or large format. And wearbles/watches or extra-small format. Design is being focused on delivering a new self-service channel feature in these four (4) loose groupings. The specific technology, the channel being used, the device, is all irrelevant. The size of the screen is what drives design considerations. And each new feature will be implemented to optimize for each form-factor. Divergent convergence in the end leads to simplicity for members/customers, the financial institutions that service them and the technology they use to solve their self-service challenges.