The back button is by far the most used navigational element in the browsers and apps, (maybe second only to text links) and yet it is still not give the respect it deserves.  I was having a discussion the other day about how badly the FNB website treats the back button with a dev and the topic of security came up. This is the excuse most sites that break the back button use and I just can’t go with that. Yes, security is extremely important and being able to use the back button to go back into a logged in session after being logged out is dangerous, but thats not what I am talking about. FNB logs you out the second the back button is pushed, no matter when it is used. It’s infuriating to say the least.  For example if you have logged into the FNB site and decide to look to see what is behind the ‘Buy’ tab and realise quite quickly that it’s not really what you where expecting, so click back, you get logged out.

Security is not my forte, so I can’t speak as an expert, but how can other banks get away with it? Standard Bank and Absa both allow the use of the back button within a secure session and I’m still trying to see if Nedbank is the same, but I’m guessing it is. So there are secure ways around it but it just take some work. Making your site’s security the user’s problem, is just laziness.

One of the most important things I site needs to get right, especially a financial site, is trust. And one way to lose a customer’s trust right away, is to do unexpected things. If a user expects the site to do something and it does another thing, a mistrust created. They will be uncertain about what else could go wrong; and it might be small, but some of their trust in the site is lost. When a site fails to meet the mental model of the user, it’s telling them that they are not good enough to use it and not clever enough to figure out what was meant to happen. Putting a software back button on the site and relying solely on it is certainly not a fix. It’s breaking convention and ignores their user’s habit. Braking browser back button is just plain arrogant. They’re expecting that out of all the sites a customer will visit, they should spend more time learning how to use theirs.

I would love to hear from FNB about what their excuse is, but for now I suppose I have to keep logging in.