Zopa is a social lending website where ordinary people with spare money can lend it to those who need to borrow – cutting out the middleman (the big banks). The rates depend on the risk involved and borrowers are credit checked and risk assessed then assigned a banding (A*, A, B, C, or young market).
The success of Zopa will depend on the site owners being able to explain in an easy to understand way what is, at first glance, an un-usual and unorthodox proposition.
Most people’s eyes glaze over when faced with the jargon found on many financial websites, but this is something Zopa does very well.
The language and terminology used throughout is simple to comprehend, and written with regular people in mind, not finance directors. After all, if people can’t understand what your website is for, they won’t want to use it. Consistent headings like “Why I’m borrowing” and “Why I’m a safe pair of hands” are different and brilliant.
Behind each borrower is a story and lenders can loan to those they like the sound of. Reading about the almost accountant who wants to buy a cheap car so he doesn’t have to keep using his mother’s or the lady wanting a breast reduction before her wedding is all so human. And it’s that humanity that permeates the site.
The design is informative, crisp and clean. It lifts the bar putting other financial sites to shame. There’s good use of space and imagery. Forms are thoughtfully designed with ticks to provide a sense of progress. The navigation structure is well labelled and easy to understand and won’t make people think too hard to figure it out.
Before the internet this concept wasn’t possible. This is exceptionally good use of technology and is the way forward. Perhaps this website is ahead of it’s time, but sites like this have the potential to change the financial landscape forever. In the spirit of social websites, Zopa is bang on trend.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what Zopa stands for, it’s “Zone of possible agreement” – the name of the parent company.
This article was written by Lisa Halabi, Head of Usability at Webcredible