Canadian Bank Web Site User Experience 2014

The research compares the experience of 5 top Canadian bank web sites. We also compare Canadian banks with their US counterparts for usability, engagement and their likelihood to convert browsers into buyers.

Even as banks continue to offer more features, people still need to be able to complete basic tasks, such as finding and signing up for a checking account and paying bills online, first. In this regard, banks are falling behind. When asked to complete two tasks fundamental to online banking, 89% of users were able to complete the first task but only 54% were able to complete the second.  For Canadian (and US) banks, easy access to key information will not only improve usability but will increase conversion as well.

In the full report, we provide a framework for comparing how people currently experience the sites along with a set of metrics to track performance over time. Bank web sites that feature an online presence are invited to purchase the research to receive details on current best practices as well as a full briefing on problems consumers experienced while browsing on the web site as well as their solutions.


Throughout January, we invited consumers to visit the web sites of the Big 5 Canadian bank web sites. Consumers were asked to complete two specific tasks to develop an understanding of each site’s usability and to search the site for something that interested them in order to better understand engagement. After using the site, participants were asked a series of questions to understand their overall perceptions of the site and assess their likelihood to take action.

Key Research Insights

US banks remain ahead of Canadian banks in one major area: time on task. On average, users of Canadian bank web sites took 8 seconds longer to complete usability tasks then the users of US bank web sites. This key metric pushed the usability score of US banks ahead of Canadian banks by 10%.  

This isn’t to say that Canadian banks perform more poorly in every regard, however. While Canadian banks failed to produce high usability scores, they ranked higher than American banks for engagement. By incorporating useful tools into major content areas, participants rated Canadian bank sites 22% higher for happiness compared to US bank sites.

Chart detailing the position of Canadian and US banks

The above chart compares Canadian bank sites (shown as dark blue circles) with US bank sites (shown as light blue circles) for usability, engagement and conversion.

There was a significant difference in scores among Canadian banks. While Royal Bank of Canada was ranked first overall in the vertical, it scored 12% lower than the Bank of Nova Scotia for likelihood to take action, a key conversion metric. There was also a gap of 26% between the top and bottom performer for success rates, a factor which played a key role in both conversion and usability scores. 

About Change Sciences Dataset

This research is based on our Change Sciences Dataset, which makes it possible to compare usability, engagement and conversion within and between industries. Using our proprietary platform our analysts identify best practices and opportunities for improvement. Digital decision makers in 18 Fortune 100 companies currently use the platform to gain insight into their site's performance to move teams forward, confirm assumptions, and track performance over time.

Purchase the Research

The detailed custom report includes documentation of design patterns that drive engagement, usability and conversion. This includes a site-level gap analysis, including annotated screenshots showing precisely where and why a site falls short for usability, engagement, and conversion, as well as full scorecard with normalized metrics to track ease of use, engagement, and conversion over time.

Purchasing the report is the only requirement for inclusion in the data set.

Subscriptions to the entire financial services dataset —10 reports total— are available for 2014.

Cost: $4,999

Download Purchase Agreement

Please get in touch to learn more about our research or to discuss creating a custom, proprietary data set tailored to unique business goals.

Explore: Banking and Money

Book some time to learn about our latest research or talk about your project.