Financial Conduct Authority
Financial Conduct Authority: Expert review and benchmarking exercise against the digital landscape; engagement of key stakeholders and their requirements; workshops and one to one testing with different audience types; developing improved user journeys; analysis of quantitative and qualitative data; reporting on recommendations for future strategic direction; prototyping key recommendations to engage stakeholders
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is an independent non-governmental body, which regulates the financial services industry in the UK. Its aims are to protect Consumers, to ensure the industry remains stable and to promote healthy competition between financial services providers. The FCA succeeded the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in April 2013.
The FCA is an open and transparent organisation providing information for firms, consumers and others about its objectives, plans, policies and rules. The FCA has rule-making, investigative and enforcement powers, granted under legislation, that it uses to protect and regulate the financial services industry. The FCA’s key aim is to ensure financial markets work well, so that Consumers get a fair deal.
To do this, the FCA follows three statutory objectives:
- Protect Consumers
- Enhance the integrity of the UK financial system
- Help maintain competitive markets and promote effective competition in the interests of consumers
In support of the FCA’s commitment to transparency the organisation wanted to commission research to evaluate its digital channels and inform its digital engagement strategy. It was keen to understand the needs and communication preferences of its audiences and to achieve its primary communication objective – to build awareness of, and confidence in, the FCA within the UK and internationally; to provide a benchmark for their existing digital presence and, ultimately, to have a clear strategic direction for FCA digital channels. Following this, they wanted to implement recommendations to meet the emergent audience and business needs and then to conduct ongoing evaluation to drive improvements.
Specifically the research needed to:
- Find out how the FCA’s Consumer and Firm audiences use the existing digital channels (especially FCA.org.uk), and their views on other websites with similar content
- Provide recommendations for improvements to FCA.org.uk (especially appearance, content and navigation)
- Understand the appetite of Consumer and Firm audiences to digitally engage in two-way conversations with the FCA (or each other). For example, via Apps, web chats/webinars, forums or social media (e.g. Twitter and LinkedIn).
- Make proposals for developments for the FCA’s digital channels based on analysis and the evidence-base.
What we did
Panlogic’s approach was designed with two primary objectives: 1. Receive data and input from as wide a range of resources as possible and 2. Implement the mechanisms that will provide the most beneficial quantitative and qualitative data. The combination of these two objectives would best inform the findings, conclusions and recommendations for the FCA website.
Panlogic implemented the following research mechanisms in assessing the overall usability of the FCA website:
- Expert evaluation and benchmarking exercise – Panlogic’s initial step was to conduct an expert review of FCA’s current digital offering, including the website (fca.org.uk), social media channels (Twitter and LinkedIn) and video platforms (YouTube and Vimeo). Panlogic then examined the websites of three to five similar-type organisations (either by sector/thematic area or by functional areas) and highlighted strengths and weaknesses in their existing digital presence to formulate strategic recommendations for FCA’s digital channels.
- Internal workshop with stakeholders – Panlogic carried out two workshops with a cross-section of internal stakeholders in order to discuss, and better understand, the internal perceptions and priorities for the website (purpose, audience, content, performance, etc.)
- Online questionnaire – Panlogic designed and launched the online questionnaire on the FCA website’s homepage to garner quantitative, and limited qualitative, data with regards to the user’s online experience.
- User testing and with Firms and Consumers – Panlogic conducted five workshops with representatives from the different Firm sectors (large and small organisations) and trade bodies. We also carried out one to one testing with Consumers using key test tasks. Both types of engagement with the audiences provided perception of how the FCA is viewed, insight into audience user journeys and how they engage and view different digital channels.
- Report – an analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data was presented with recommendations for the future strategic direction of the FCA’s digital channels. It provided short term wins to improve usability of the website and key user journeys, plus a long term review of how the FCA could engage with its audience.
- Prototype – the final stage of the project was to produce a clickable Axure prototype to demonstrate some of the key recommendations of the research using example user journeys.
As part of a wider strategic view taking place across the organisation, the Financial Conduct Authority gained an in-depth understanding of internal and external views of their digital channels and how they could improve their impact.
Our research and analysis provided strategic recommendations for user engagement for the FCA website. In particular, it highlighted the needs and priorities of the two audience types, Firms and Consumers, who engage with the FCA in different ways.
The FCA were able to use the clickable prototype to engage internal stakeholders in the recommendations to inform their digital strategy.
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