ahm, SGIC/SGIO, RACV, RAA, RACT and, most recently, RAC WA.

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UX & Design Learnings

Insuring your digital approach

The Inlight team has worked with a plethora of insurers to develop and evolve their digital products including ahm, SGIC/SGIO, RACV, RAA, RACT and, most recently, RAC WA.

With direct experience helping a bunch of these brands achieve success, we've summarised some of our key UX learnings (or top tips) that can be applied not only to insurance products but to product design challenges across all industries.

Identify & prioritise high-value user needs

How many times have you called your insurance provider, utility company or financial institution and were asked to provide your membership number or needed that same number to log into the website's member portal?

All of a sudden you find yourself in a “chicken-vs-egg” situation. You can’t gain access to your membership number unless you log in but you can’t log in without your membership number.

In this particular example, the information users are seeking is critical but we can’t really rely on it entirely, because it creates a barrier for the user. However, often as we map out and create our systems and user journeys these “hiccups” may not always be immediately obvious to us at first. So how do we go about fixing any of our “mistakes”?

Unsurprisingly, the answer is to frequently connect with your end users by asking them specifically about their current experience, as well as what’s on their wishlist. This won’t just shine a light on areas that could be improved but also identify a type of backlog or future roadmap that can feed into shaping the vision of your product or service. You’d be surprised by the sheer volume of examples your users are able to unearth.

Once you’ve gathered user insights, you should be able to identify the ones that provide high value to your users and rank them in order of complexity to build or solve. It really pays off to listen to your users, who help shape your product intentionally to their needs. Everyone wins.

Set a challenging vision and future state

Setting an ambitious 3-5 year aspiration for your product is important in the early stages of designing your digital experience. While not all of your blue-sky thinking will be achievable right away, exploring your ideas, creating a backlog and using that to work backwards will make your vision more attainable in the future.

As is often the case, particularly with insurance providers, your users will typically only come to you when they are in trouble. They might have locked themselves out of their home or gotten into an accident of some sort, but it isn’t until then that they start to engage with you. But are there other ways we can add more “everyday value” to users? As mentioned earlier, even if your ideas aren’t immediately achievable, start to think about the type of experiences that will pay off for users in the long run.

Smartly leverage and present data

We all know the importance of data in making intelligent decisions and it’s no different when it comes to crafting your digital products. Exploring ways to use and combine datasets in the most effective way will help create more logical outcomes for the user.

Working with data is super interesting, especially if you have some flexibility in shaping your digital solution. That said, it can be tricky too. Show the user too much information and they could feel overwhelmed, show them too little and they might even be left confused. The key is to present relevant information in the context of their current journey.

Because of that, it is even more crucial to truly understand what your users are looking for and what they might find helpful at a specific point in time. Once you’ve got the idea, you can investigate what type of data you might be able to shift, shape & combine in order to help guide users on their journey.

A perhaps obvious example would be Uber. By having combined several sets of data, such as the “users pickup location”, the driver status of being “available” as well as the “driver location” - brilliant! Focusing on specific user needs and common, repetitive problems could be a good starting point to launching your detective investigation into what data you could transform, combine or even highlight to provide the right information to your user at the right time.

Drawing a line on a paper is cheap, changing up your code is a whole different ballpark. Where possible take the time to explore your digital solution, validate with users and experiment with a range of prototypes.

Automate, Streamline, Avoid

Experiences are naturally more difficult and frustrating when there are more hoops to jump through. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all stopped short of completing an online process because you couldn’t remember your membership number, credit card details or had to click “next” just...one...too...many...times!

Simplifying the steps involved to complete a process (i.e. autofill/pre-fill from known data), or even removing certain steps entirely, won’t only speed up the process and achieve the desired result but also reduce user frustration overall.

Take some time every now and then to analyse your existing solution, dig deep, do some research and report back. Are there some areas where you could shave off a handful of clicks? What about bringing certain information forward? Or perhaps the opposite could be true, is there information that is redundant that you could remove entirely? There are tons of ways to streamline your product, and your users will most certainly thank you for it.

And one more thing, allow computers to do all the heavy lifting. Not only are they faster and insanely more efficient than us humans, they also tend to be less error-prone and way more accurate.

Play the long game

While it may be tempting to create a quick-fix solution for existing problems, experience shows that these are often only papering over the problem. Yes, it may be a cheaper plug-in-a-hole solution but it can often result in a higher cost in the long run, as it may have a knock-on effect going forward.

Where possible, don’t compromise on the end-user experience and instead build towards the desired end state from the start. I tend to subscribe to a couple of principles to help me do just that, which are “don’t make me think” and “keep it simple”.

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About the authors
Roy Schmid
Roy Schmid | Designer

Roy is a Designer who always tries to understand user needs and frustrations in order to design well thought out solutions. Previously an iOS developer, Roy has a strong focus on mobile technology. He loves to collaborate on projects, shaping solutions to existing problems and making them pop.

Harley Donaldson
Strategy & Design Director
Harley Donaldson | Strategy & Design Director

Harley is an award-winning design director with over 15 years experience. Equal parts visual, UX and product designer, Harley sees no distinction between how something looks, works and the value it brings to people. Harley has a knack for designing beautifully simple interfaces and solving complex user journey problems.