Kaus has been in business for over 30 years and wants to pivot to selling insurance policies directly to consumers. Well aware that the insurance landscape is notoriously confusing, Kaus is willing to break industry standards in favor of a better user experience for their target demographic: tech-savvy millennials.
An end-to-end responsive design.
My very first UX case study was featured in Case Study Club.
User Research, UX/UI Design, Branding, Prototyping, Usability Testing
The goal for this project was for Kaus to transition into the B2C market not only as an insurance company users need, but also trust.
The high-level goals were to:
• Design a responsive e-commerce website that’s both easy and delightful to use
• Implement a fresh, modern, and trustworthy rebrand
Business Model: A Blue Ocean Strategy
A survey of the current charitable donation landscape revealed there was considerable room for innovation. I found that charitable organization platforms fall into three main categories:
• Siloed: each individual organization has its own web or mobile platform
• Congregated: a large (read: overwhelming) resource of many organizations with high-level filter and search functionality
• Crowdfunded: most often used as a buoy for systemic state failures
Moreover, of the few micro-donation platforms on the market, none were focused on mutual aid, nor were exceptionally effective at facilitating discoverability of organizations or conveying the impact donations on the platform were having.
By leveraging the power and impact of mutual aid organizations, the innovation and ease of micro-financing, and the simplicity of a service-fee-based revenue model, Be the Change is poised to be an empowering life-raft in a blue ocean of possibility in the charitable donation space.
After brainstorming with my mentor, I intentionally decided to focus on Mutual Aid Funds for this platform. In systems of mutual aid, communities take on the responsibility for caring for one another, rather than forcing individuals to fend for themselves, or for government assistance, which has unfortunately proved to be an unsustainable lifeline in desperate times of need.
Rather than centralized organizations where one person is giving to another (effectively creating yet another dependent relationship negotiating access to material resources), mutual aid creates a symbiotic relationship, where all people offer material goods or assistance to one another. Mutual aid organizing is volunteer-run, transparent, and driven by the needs articulated by community members - all values my research found donors to charity highly regard.
Put simply, allies want to make a meaningful impact where it's needed most, and mutual aid organizations are a noble and mighty vehicle to drive such impact. Be the Change is the marriage of these harmonious truths.
With so many complex product offerings, designing an effective Information Architecture that allowed for easy exploration, discovery, and wayfinding was the first major UX hurdle.
Another consideration was breaking the strong (and most often negative) associacions users have with insurance companies. The digital experience needed to feel honest, safe, and relatable.
To better understand how users naturally expect certain insurance policies to be categorized, I recruited participants for a virtual card sorting test via OptimalSort. The image below shows potential groupings and strong pairings according to how users card sorted.
I researched market and user trends, and uncovered some interesting statistics on millennial insurance habits and sentiment that would help guide my work. Key insights were:
Most competitors don’t offer a comprehensive “About Us” section
Very few competitors offer live chat or multiple streams of communication
Many sites force quote form input before you can access any other information
16% of millennials are uninsured, and 70% would be more likely to purchase insurance if they better understood the offerings
I recruited participants to interview within Kaus’ target demographic to dig deeper into their experience with insurance. My high-level goals were to uncover user sentiment surrounding insurance as a whole, and hear more about their personal experineces navigating the intricacies of the insurance ecosystem. Key insights from these interviews included:
• The desire for personalization. From the long, automated, and disjointed process to reach a customer service agent to the quality of support you receive when filing a claim, users aren’t feeling valued in the system.
• Inefficient and daunting communication channels. In one case, a participant mentioned that easy, reliable access to an agent would be a bigger priority than an established brand name.
• The need for clarity. In general, users don’t have a good idea of how the insurance process works on both a structural or individual level. Confusing verbiage surrounding the entire user experience, non-transparent policy descriptions, and dense benefits information all contributed to users feeling frustrated, confused, and in a vulnerable position when they actually needed coverage.
One of the top priorities for both the business and user was to have a clear and intuitive information architecture. To better understand how users naturally expect certain insurance policies to be categorized, I recruited participants for a virtual card sorting test via OptimalSort. The image below shows potential groupings and strong pairings according to how users card sorted.
I aimed for my final designs to be human-centered at every touchpoint.
By utilizing inclusive illustrations, playful visual elements, approachable copy, and a clear quote process, Kaus shaped up to be the warm, user-friendly brand I intended.
After creating a moodboard and analyzing both established players as well as industry disrupters in the insurance landscape, I began designing the UI elements that would serve as the framework for all of my designs, namely, Kaus’s logo and Style Guide.
My final logo design utilized a playful yet professional serif paired with a scalable geometric brandmark, personifying Kaus’s brand in harmony.
I noticed that many modern brands used bold display sans serifs in their headings, but I wanted to convey Kaus’ authority as a longstanding brand. I settled on Recolleta, a soft, smooth serif, paired with Sharp Sans, a geometric sans serif to personify this balance.
Similarly, the color palette needed to be warm, modern, and trustworthy while not feeling too casual or dated. I created a baseline palette to work with, knowing that this style guide would be iterated as I went through the design process.
Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, I conducted my usability testing remotely over Zoom, asking participants to share their screens and think aloud while being recorded going through the prototype. I asked users to place themselves in the following scenario:
“I want you to imagine that you currently have no health insurance and cannot get it through your work or parents’ plan. You land on this site, and you’re trying to get a health insurance quote and save the quote results for a later time when you’re ready to purchase a plan. How would you go about this?”
After conducting my usability tests, I created an affinity map with key insights, behaviors, and findings during the tests. 100% of participants completed the task in under 5 minutes, and all participants commented on the design’s approachability and friendliness, complimenting the color pallette, concise presentation of information, and typography. The key insights derrived from user testing were:
• Users wanted to explore more before entering quote wizard
• Recommended Plans page lacked sufficient affordance and presented too many options at once
• By the time users decided they wanted to save their quote to return to later, they would have scrolled to the bottom of the screen, so moving the CTA further down the page would facilitate this flow
Based on observing users interacting with the protoype and feedback I received, I prioritized three key changes to smooth out interactions between screens:
• Add a “See Details” button to each policy to facilitate affordance
• Keep the number of policy offerings concise - only incude most differentiated plans
• Account creation only necessary when user wishes to save a quote for later use, not to retrieve a quote in the first place
Working on a product aiming to break industry standards with high level of stigma was a challenging undertaking. As the sole designer on this project, I executed the design process end-to-end, from research to implementation, with input and support from my mentor. This forced me to be self-sufficient and agile, relying on insights from users to guide me through further iterations.
I learned the value of digging deep into users’ frustrations and championing users’ needs in an industry where it often falls second to the business goals, how daunting and vulnerable the process of purchasing insurance can be, and the impact user-centered design can have in alleviating some of those pain points.
Next steps in this project would be to build out the Insurance Information Center to further flatten the gulf of information between users and the intricacies of insurance. Research showed that many users don’t even know how insurance works, so continuing to bring transparency to the forefront will solve many immediate user needs and establish trust at the same time - a win/win.
In the meantime, I appreciated the positive feedback I received on this project - while it was speculative, the prospect of an insurance company putting their users first deeply resonated with people, and hope to one day see such a company come to life.