The success of this project would heavily rely on my ability to empathize with users and learn as much as possible about the current state of the insurance industry. I started my research with a few goals in mind:
1. Better understand people's current insurance decision and buying process
2. Uncover user pain points and identify opportunities to improve their current process
3. Determine key components in creating a seamless and enjoyable insurance buying experience
Being that insurance is a complex industry, I prioritized developing a foundational understanding of the current of the insurance market. I consumed topic-related blog posts, YouTube videos, and pretty much anything else I could get my hands on to learn as much as I can about the industry from a high-level view. I didn't have an opportunity to speak to a subject-matter expert at this time, but that would've been ideal. This process of immersing myself in the insurance world equipped me with confidence in better understanding the market I'll be designing this product for.
Before diving into user interviews, it was important for me to know the insurance landscape. I conducted research on both primary and secondary competitors in the insurance space.
As I prepared to conduct user interviews, it was important for me to plan out a process to make sure I got the most out of the time I spent with participants. I made the assumption most people haven't had the most delightful experiences when shopping insurance. With that in mind, I planned to make an effort to control the pace and keep the participants engaged, because this probably wasn't a topic they were excited to dive into.
Interview a total of 5 people, ages 22-61, who have shopped for home owners insurance within the last 2 years.
Write a user interview script and develop a plan to uncover actionable insights from participants.
Use the interview guide as tool to direct the interview forward, but don't stick to a script. Let the conversation flow naturally.
After gathering a handful of data and some really valuable insights on the general sentiment toward shopping for home owner's insurance, it was time to begin shaping the project scope. The goals here were to:
1. Learn how users understand and categorize insurance information
2. Determine what website content would be most useful and helpful for users
3. Structure the website's content in a way that reduces potential friction to a minimum
4. Map out and understand the user's current buying process to design a purchase flow
5. Visualize potential design solutions and begin to formulate the product experience by planning an interface
I started by created a persona based on my research to use as a reference to represent a target customer for Llama. This persona is intended to be used as a reference as I continue through the design process to stay focused on what I learned from research and who I'm designing for. In this case, we're designing for a first-time home owner raising a family, who doesn't have the time to do rigorous research comparing every insurance option on the market, but also doesn't want to get ripped off. Andy needs to be able to trust the Llama brand and feel empowered by the transparency, user experience and tools that Llama avails to him in order streamline his search for the right policy so he doesn't have to spend too much time researching or second guessing his decisions.
My research confirmed my assumption that users experience complications when navigating the space, so it was important to identify all of the content an insurance website is expected to have, sort and organize each item, and map them out in a way that would feel familiar to the users.
I began by doing industry specific research on different navigation patterns and taking notes of sitemaps that seemed well planned. I identified consistencies throughout home owner's insurance navigation models. With the goals and pain points of my interview participants in mind, I developed a list of navigation category items that would best serve this product.
Insurance is complex, and users have a challenging time navigating the space with even some of the most established companies in the industry. I performed a digital card sorting workshop via OptimalSort to help organize my list items and ensure that users are able to easily find solutions and perform the tasks they came for, such as requesting a quote, making a claim, or accessing their account.
I then organized the data from the card sort and optimized copy for each content category to develop a sitemap for the website.
I focused on planning on the flows in the instant quote process to customize the quotes to the user's unique needs. From everything I learned so far, I realized the quote process would be key because it's the main way users are going to be receiving their insurance options. The idea is that this tool will enable Llama to help narrow the user's search for the right policy by generating customized quotes for 3-4 products that best suit the user based on the information they provided. This will also be the key component in propelling Llama forward in their pivot to D2C e-commerce.
I studied industry standards to find patterns in the instant quote process. I found that every quote tool collected data such as customer information, property information, and then was able to deliver an instant quote based on information provided. I added cases in which the user will most likely be making decisions regarding their buy-in to the product, and how they would go about navigating through such decisions, and developed a user flow with that information.
Based on all of the research and planning completed up to this point, I began to sketch some initial ideas to hash out potential structure and navigation patterns for the landing page. I then mocked a responsive wireframe in Figma.
With a solid foundation in place and lots of data on hand, I began the design process. My goals were to:
1. Develop a brand identity for Llama that is simple, trustworthy and considerate
2. Design desktop, tablet and mobile versions of the website in high-fidelity
3. Plan the start of a scalable design system for the Llama brand
4. Design the key steps of the instant quote tool
Even though product design is my strength, for this project I decided to experiment with logo design. I started with my iPad using Procreate and wanted to have fun with the approach. It was important to create a logo that was fun and friendly but also professional and confident. The playful shape of the body began to form, which had round, dramatic curves and sharp corners, which seemed to achieve exactly the kind of feel that I was looking for. I'm pretty happy with the Llama logo that came to be as a result. It really came to life once I started tracing my sketches with the pen tool in Figma.
I went through a series of explorations as I developed the look and feel of the Llama brand. There were a number of decisions to make in this process.
I also designed a texture to create a consistent feel throughout the Llama brand.
A number of iterations from the explorations led to the development of a cohesive style guide and a UI kit that would serve as foundational building blocks for the Llama brand and website.
Equipped with research, branding elements and a lot of coffee, I began to add fidelity and evolve my previous wireframes and bring the website to life. I also designed key screens for the quote tool in high fidelity. The goal was to create an interesting, trustworthy design that represented the Llama brand as safe and professional insurance provider to our target userbase, that would ultimately serve as a safe space for our users to shop for home owner's insurance.
I used the prototyping tool in Figma to link together flows for a number of scenarios to validate the design and uncover opportunities for improvement. The goals here were:
1. Prototype and prep the design for usability testing
2. Conduct and analyze user tests to measure the impact of the design
3. Prioritize feedback in order to iterate on the design
I created a prototype to test the landing page and validate the design's ease of use when performing various tasks.
It was time to begin planning the usability test.
When the design is proven successful, Llama will have a green light to begin development on the homepage and proceed to work on high-priority projects in the roadmap such as product development for custom insurance packages, designing the instant quote tool around the custom products, and producing content for the website.
With the first round of iteration, File a Claim and Find an Agent should be tested in different locations to ensure users have an easier time navigating where they need to. Designing a well-planned, frictionless quote flow will also be a key next step in Llama's transition to D2C e-commerce. Now that Llama has a validated design to expand upon, they can focus efforts on developing competitive insurance products and understanding what kind of data they need to collect in the quote flow to offer the best shopping experience to their users.
In this project, I learned the importance of listening to users, designing solutions to the most consistent pain points, and how effective and scalable remote user testing can be when looking to validating a design.