Coastal Credit Union

User Testing and Digital Strategy for an Innovative Credit Union

Coastal Credit Union mobile UI screens banner image


Coastal Credit Union (CCU) was in the process of redesigning its digital banking app and sought to have its new designs tested and reviewed by a team of experienced UX strategists.


As part of our analysis of CCU's proposed new digital banking interface, we performed a heuristic evaluation to determine whether the app followed usability and accessibility best practices. In addition, using the designs provided by CCU, our experts constructed a clickable prototype to facilitate moderated user testing.


At the conclusion of our analysis and testing, we presented our findings to CCU along with our recommendations for improving the app's user experience.

A better way to bank

Coastal Credit Union (CCU) is a North Carolina-based not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative whose mission is to deliver affordable, convenient, and professional financial services.

When we were first introduced to Coastal Credit Union, they were in the process of redesigning their mobile app. They had created the designs in-house for the application’s interface, but they wanted us to validate them to ensure that UI/UX best practices were being followed. We planned to conduct an in-depth discovery phase, allowing us to review the designs thoroughly.

Determining our research activities

As we prepared to perform the UX audit, we sat down with the CCU team to understand their goals and what they wanted to learn from our team. What specific questions did they want us to answer? What were they hoping to find out through our research?

Going into the project, we knew that accessibility and usability were our primary concerns. Therefore, we chose research activities that would enable us to identify areas where unknowns existed in the mobile application and how best to gather information about them. With time on our side, we opted to conduct a heuristic evaluation and user testing with a clickable prototype.

Ensuring best practices

For the first phase of our research, we performed a heuristic evaluation - this is a critical activity for understanding the usability of the application's interface. During our heuristic evaluation, our UX researchers examined the app's interface to ensure it was intuitively perceivable and operable. In addition, we assessed how the application used signifiers and affordances and whether or not standard conventions were being followed.

Understanding points of friction

For phase two of the project, we created a clickable prototype of the banking application in Figma, leveraging the visual mockups provided by CCU. We used the prototype to facilitate moderated user testing.

We asked seven participants to complete seven tasks using the prototype. These tasks were selected to test the application's various user flows that were important to CCU and to users.

  • Open a new credit card.
  • Check recent transactions.
  • Verify a scheduled bill.
  • Find and use a perk.
  • Transfer money between two accounts. 
  • Open a new checking account.
  • Deposit a check.

During this process, we asked participants to talk through what they were thinking, seeing, and feeling as they performed each task. By doing this, we uncovered things that may have been confusing or unintuitive to users.

Findings & recommendations

Based on both our heuristic evaluation and user testing, we compiled a report of our findings. The report was organized into four sections:

  • Comprehension: How well do users understand the content they're looking at?
  • Signifiers: How easy is it to recognize interactive elements in the user interface and predict what they do?
  • Usability: How well does the interface aid users? How does it get in the way?
  • Accessibility: Does the interface meet standard accessibility guidelines?

We presented this report, followed by our recommendations for improvements to the CCU team.

Comprehension slide from presentation deck
Signifiers slide from presentation deck
Usability slide from presentation deck
Accessibility slide from presentation deck

The road to success

Performing user testing is an efficient way to improve any interface. This approach is especially effective if performed during the design phase so that changes can be implemented before moving to development. 

We're proud to have worked alongside CCU to help them deliver a digital banking app to improve their member's banking experience.

Helping users find the information they need

Our experts will ensure your digital application meets UX/UI best practices.