Creating Mobile Moments

Enhancing the payment technology process through a student-focused user experience

What is user experience and why is it important for higher ed institutions?
User experience is essentially the sum total of how the user feels interacting with a product or service. User experience is often misunderstood as user interface design or usability, but is more than that. It encompasses everything that can shape the experience with a product or service on campus. Therefore when we are designing applications, we need to understand the student’s “mental model.” A mental model is the user’s internalization of external reality and helps describe user behavior and actions within a context.

What should an institution look for in a payment technology provider with regards to UX?
Security and usability are the foundational elements of any payment technology experience. While security was the only requirement until 15 years ago, today’s users expect an intuitive and streamlined user experience on top of a secured environment. That means guiding users through the payment process quickly and securely. Institutions looking to ensure that the experience of their users is a priority should look to partner with providers that understand that as technologies evolve, so do the expectations and behaviors of students. Their mental model shifts, which is why it is important to work with providers that have a dedicated team focused on researching and designing solutions for the user.

What is a mobile moment?
Mobile technology has fundamentally transformed user behavior. We don’t “go online” anymore; we live in it. A mobile moment is a point in time when a user pulls out a mobile device with the purpose of getting information or completing a task quickly in that moment. The ability for users to instantly connect to people and access information has created the expectation that everything should be immediately available, on demand. In a mobile moment, users become very task oriented. They want to get in, get something done and get out within seconds. Even when engaging in tasks they recognize need to be secure, users don’t care about the complexity of the technology, they expect things to work, and to work quickly.

How can institutions make the most of a student’s or parent’s mobile moment?
To succeed in leveraging mobile moments, institutions need to be able to deliver relevant content at a user’s moment of intent, while understanding that a student’s mobile moment will be different than a parent’s. At Nelnet Business Solutions, we’ve developed an extremely customer-centric development process. We’re constantly evaluating user behavior through research and testing to not only identify mobile moment opportunities, but also by designing our solutions to ensure our clients are able to deliver what their users are looking for in those moments.

What is NBS doing to improve the user experience and to meet students at their mobile moment?
Nelnet Business Solutions continues to design and refine our payer-facing sites to address their mobile moments. Our dedicated team of UX designers are focused on placing the user experience at the forefront of the entire product development cycle through usability testing, discovery sessions and one-on-one interviews. We currently utilize responsive design technologies to ensure that users are able to make payments and view their account details regardless of the type of mobile device they are using. We are also constantly experimenting with newer technologies, understanding that tomorrow’s mobile moments will look different than today’s. All of this while maintaining and reinforcing the security elements necessary to serve as our clients’ trusted payment technology provider.

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