Riyad Bank


Riyad Bank was established in 1957 and is one of the largest financial institutions in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, The firm is 51% owned by the state, is regulated by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency and has historically been a is a leading financier and arranger of syndicated loans in the oil, petrochemicals and most of the Kingdom’s notable infrastructure projects.

The bank is undergoing a transition programme to become more customer centric and a good understanding of UX principles is integral to this process.


Usability Testing, In-house training & Virtual Experience Team (VXT™)


Case study overview
Riyad city

The challenge

The banking sector in Saudi Arabia is going through a period of transition as a result of a changing economic landscape, political reform and global digitalisation. Recognising the need to become more customer-focused in a digital age, Riyad Bank has initiated a comprehensive UX training programme. The programme has also involved the commissioning of an ultramodern user testing facility, intended to simulate a real-world branch and associated user experiences.

A UX facilitator, appointed to oversee the programme, carried out extensive customer experience analysis testing across different internal teams to ascertain their understanding of the subject. The results confirmed that a bespoke training course was needed to ensure that all future product/service development projects were in line with customer and market requirements.

Riyad Bank began a procurement process to identify potential suppliers to complete the required training and further to recommendation from a third party, Akendi was selected as the preferred supplier. The bank chose Akendi because of their proven UX experience, market reputation and also because they were willing to adapt a standard course to satisfy the bank’s specific UX training requirements.

Leo Poll is a practial practitioner who is able to transform his in-depth knowledge of UX to be relevant to different audiences and cultures in an engaging way. Our goals is to be the best digital bank in Saudi and the hands-on training we have received has put us in good stead to make this an achievable.

Client quotation

Teaching in UX

Our approach

On arrival at the bank, Akendi’s senior trainer, Leo Poll, quickly recognised the merits of having a fully equipped training lab, complete with a working ATM and a mini bank branch at his immediate disposal.

To deliver the type of training course needed, Akendi approached the bank’s facilities manager to discuss the possibility of incorporating the lab into the programme. The course was subsequently modified and on the final day, Akendi delivered an interactive workshop in the lab, giving different teams hands-on experience of completing usability/service design test exercises in a controlled environment and with guidance.

The training programme was delivered over 5 days to a group of 12 participants, the majority of whom have since sat and passed Akendi’s Certified “Experience Researcher” exam.

UX is now fundamental to aspects of product and service development. Not only do team leaders have a better understating of its importance, they able to make better use of bank’s user testing facility. As a result, both end customers and internal staff are seeing tangible results from this ultramodern usability testing laboratory because they are generating real-world data that are based on real-world experiences.

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About Akendi

Akendi is a human experience design firm, leveraging equal parts experience research and creative design excellence. We provide strategic insights and analysis about customer and user behaviour and combine this knowledge with inspired design. The results enable organizations to improve effectiveness, engage users and provide remarkable customer experiences to their audiences.