Highlighting local decision making
At a community bank that illustrates its values and personality online
Pyramax Bank offers the advantages of a local bank with the financial power of a larger institution. With close to half a billion in assets and six locations in southeastern Wisconsin, Pyramax offers the unequaled power of local decision making.
As a local, community focused bank, they chose Byte because of our background in building community online. It's easy to make a bank site impersonal, and they wanted something that stood out among other banks and spoke to their local, community efforts.
Pyramax first came to us to help them build an account chooser application for their website. We started by asking questions about the audience and defining audience segments -- consumer versus small business versus corporate -- and what each audience segment's needs might be. They apparently hadn't seen a web development firm that asked these kinds of questions, and the project turned into rebuilding their whole website.
We expanded the audiences and needs and merged in the content for banking products and other statistics and content types to find a substantial list of pages and sections that would need to be developed. We worked through our sitemap process where we think through different sitemap themes (by type of client, by product, etc.) and found a sitemap that can cover the gamut and still help people find their way.
Since so many messages needed to be covered, we created wireframes of both the site and the account builder. Wireframes help the client and us abstract away the design and more look at how the content works on different pages, and gives us a sense of the content hierarchy
We applied their brand to the wireframes and did a few tricks to make it stand out, which is often the last stop for off-the-shelf website designers, but the site didn't feel at all like the Pyramax we'd come to know, and certainly not the level they wanted going in. We needed more depth and meaning behind the brand, and more personality. We created multiple site design ideas to explore visual personalities and to explore the way rates, compliance content and other metadata worked with the bigger picture. We found a design that both stood out among banks and feels very much like Pyramax.
The site had multiple databases and database connections, along with lots of compliance requirements that all needed to be managed. The site also had daily loan rates and a variety of embedded calculators. One of the most common parts of financial websites linking data and embedding feeds from other sites, and Pyramax had plenty of connections and feeds.
Also, this is a bank website, and while we always manage security risk, this one was going to be a higher value target. We added the full layer of security features and limitations and firewalls even if there's no actual banking information or accounts on the website.
We commonly find ourselves finished with a project but notice that a tool or feature really needs to be built, despite the fact that we're out of time. The Pyramax website looked distinct and had a community bank feel, but we felt the personality could be increased by paint animations. We created animations throughout the site to add more personality, but, with so much required content on a bank site, we discovered that the animations could also help us smooth out the hierarchy, to give a visitor a zen moment before painting all the content.