Every year Forbes puts out an annual report of the world’s best banks and credit unions. In 2017, while working with the team at Extractable, we developed our own evaluation of these, solely based off of their digital experiences, with the goal of using this as a tool to pitch to prospective clients. Using criteria such as user experience, analytics, SEO, and visual design, the UX and visual design team combed through dozens of websites, rating and scoring them, with leadership choosing to produce both hard covered books and digital downloads as sales tools.

My specific responsibilities varied greatly during this project. Year to year, we divvied up the tasks differently, but over the various life cycles of the project I had a hand in everything from rating/scoring the sites, designing illustrations and infographics, shooting photography, layout and design, print production, and managing orders.

It was enlightening to go through what are rated ‘the best’ of financial institutions, and see that no matter how ‘successful’ or ‘large’ per capita a company can be, this in no way guarantees there will be any sizable investment into user experience. Some of the largest companies neither cared for UX nor consistency in marketing visuals. Being part of the research team and being able to collect this data, then design around it, was a healthy dose of perspective. I was engaged at every step of the process, and believe this involvement brought my creativity to a new level.

At the end of the day, we made a great product, and while it was nice to work in print again making something physical, from the project’s inception I felt it may be more efficient to create this in the form of a digital experience via marketing website. I don’t feel that this particular approach of producing printed books to sell digital work was the most prudent course of action. While it did bring us new business, it wasn’t to the level of the time and resources we allocated to the project- but that’s just the way this cookie crumbled!