Cahoot.com is the online banking service for Abbey National. The site joins a growing band of online spin-offs from high-street banks and, as such, will need to work hard to make an impression.
The first pitfall was the 'have you got Flash?' page - it makes for a clumsy entrance to the site. They should have detected the plug-in automatically, directing those with it into the Flash site and those without to the simpler version.
On entry, the site provides a dynamic look and feel, focusing on lifestyle images. Unfortunately, the six accompanying thumbnails prove to be solely decorative. However, the body of the site contains refreshingly succinct text, for financial services.
The site's navigation is consistent and easy.
Cahoot divides into three sections: 'find out more', 'apply now' and 'log in'. This is a quite sophisticated touch, leading the user with simple calls to action.
'Find out more' began by presenting an attractive starting offer. 'Log in' offers easy access for existing customers, while 'apply now' offers new customers the opportunity to join Cahoot. The sole problem with this section was that each time I clicked to apply, no response was forthcoming!
Would I use Cahoot? The overall impression of the information pages and demo lead me to say that I would. I was genuinely considering it until it came to applying. The lack of response, despite constant efforts, made me nervous. Would I be able to access my account at the right time, every time? So, for the moment, I remain undecided.
Owner: Abbey National
Site positioning: The online bank that urges you to 'defy convention'
Launched: June 2000
Developed by: Proxicom and IBM.