We’ve been looking at what makes a good Web Application design good. We’ll continue that thought with Mint.com the financial account managing software.
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Financial software have a bad wrap for being boring to look at, even more boring to use, and incredibly boring to think about. When Mint.com debuted’ it was like a godsend to people who wanted a ‘prettier’ online banking experience. Mint delivers by offering Ajax log-ins, dynamic charts and interactive menus! They don’t go over board though, there’s just enough there to make it Web 2.0, mixed in with enough of the basics that make it a competitor to Quicken.
Where Mint truly makes it’s name is in its ability to log into all your bank accounts and fetch account data from multiple accounts so as to centralize everything in one place. This is revolutionary because the existing banks simply will not do that for customers. They created a perfect market for a third party like Mint to step into the space and build a business. Likewise, the Web 2.0 features that Mint.com boasts are absent from most large banking institution websites.
Sell the Homepage
The most important thing to remember about a good web app is that you need to be able to translate your elevator ‘pitch’ into an enticing homepage. This is because, much like a big shot VC or investor, users are only going to stop by once. If you fail at ‘selling the product’ that first time, they probably aren’t coming back. The homepage should list all the major features, feature a screenshot and allude to pricing info if there is any. Copy and typography here are a large portion but layout is also critical. What I like about Mint.com’s homepage is that they include screens shots while making a pretty compelling argument for using their service.
Design is every bit as decisive in determining a web apps fate as the actual coding is. While there are a lot of variables to consider, the bottom line is that if it looks good people will be more likely to try it out.