Can you promote user-centred design thinking in a team with no dedicated UX resource.
Take the team through a user-centred research process, leading them to problems and solutions based on customer needs.
User interviews & testing, competitor analysis, workshops
uSwitch is divided into multiple cross-functional teams, each focussing on the development of a single product, e.g. energy, broadband, credit cards.
Each team has a dedicated product designer responsible for all UX and design tasks, as well as being the advocate for the user in product decisions.
For product strategy we have a combination of yearly company-wide goals and team-lead OKRs to achieve. These are reassessed quarterly to ensure teams are working on the most suitable or valuable goals.
The team were aware they had not spoken to customers or carried out user research in quite some time, so were keen to refamiliarise themselves with user needs.
With the latest round of OKR setting approaching, the team wanted to engage with customers to discover what new features would best match user needs and business goals.
Unfortunately the car insurance team has not had a dedicated product designer for over a year, meaning the team are stuck making iterative changes to the existing product.
It also meant they didn’t have the ability to interview users, analyse the results and apply their findings to business decisions.
Interview users and gather data for car insurance customer personas. Work with the team to create a 3 month product roadmap. Engage the team in user-centered design thinking. Skill up team members in UX processes.
I decided the best method was support the team through a complete research and requirement gathering process. Outside of my core role I could only commit a few hours a week, so planned to set the team ‘homework’ to complete between each of our workshop sessions.
A member of the team called Darius expressed an interest in learning more about UX and user testing, so I worked closely with him to gather requirements, design the testing and workshop framework, and engage the team in the process.
It was decided early on that we would begin the project with a series of user interviews. Working closely with Darius we designed an hour long session with users to gather feedback on both the insurance buying process and our current car insurance journey.
We recruited 5 participants from Focus4People for in-house interviews. Users who already had car insurance and were familiar with purchasing online were selected to match our existing user base.
We interviewed 5 users to understand how they use the car insurance journey, their user needs and pain points.
- All users should currently be looking to get car insurance
- All users should have a full UK driving license
- 3 users looking for comprehensive insurance, 2 looking for third party only or third party, fire & theft
- Gender doesn’t matter; minimum age should be 18 years old
- Social status / Income – ABC1
A testing date was set and the whole team met the day before to recap the aims of the research, what to expect during testing, and what to look for when observing.
The interviews were free-flowing, with the interview guide used as a reference for issues to cover. Note-takers produced detailed notes, which we later distilled into the main points on post-it notes.
The interviews were a great chance for the team to have a deeper dive into the lives of our users. Questions were asked about their family, lifestyle, car(s), and insurance buying process.
These findings would later enable us to start producing car insurance personas based on qual data from the interviews and quant from analytics and other data sources.
Current car insurance journey
The car insurance journey, while long, is a set of forms that users expect to process. With an end-to-end completion rate of 76% the team were happy the journey worked, but are looking for any optimisations and improvements that can still be made.
Users were asked to bring along their current insurance details, so they could be tasked with getting a quote based on their current premium.
These findings would form the basis of the product strategy, with quick wins and longer term product changes being considered for the roadmap.
Follow on task
I encouraged the team to review their notes from the user interviews and testing, with the key points ready to bring to the research analysis session.
As a team we took the findings from the journey tests and wrote each observations individually on post-it notes which were then grouped by theme.
We identified 9 main areas of interest. After a quick recap we placed these themes on a simple effort vs value chart, giving us 5 areas to achieve some quick wins:
- Job Title – Jobs and business types are not always in list and can cause confusion
- Telephone Number – This was a mandatory field even though customers may want to opt out
- Parking Options – Not all options available in dropdown list
- Tooltips/Language – Insurance specific jargon can be confusing
- What Questions Affect Quote – large question set cause users to ask why questions were asked
And 4 more complex areas which we took into an ideation session where longer-term thinking and strategy were required:
- Brands – Not all brands on the panel are known by the users
- Filtering – Filtering on the results page is not implemented enough where customers were expecting it
- Comp vs TPO – New TPO and Comp comparisons were not intuitive to the customer
- Retention breaking – All users said that they looked at PCWs then phoned their current insurer to match the best price
One more area, sign up & log in, was identified, but this was considered an issue that uSwitch needed to tackle as a whole, rather than just the car insurance team.
Follow on task
Ahead of the ideation session I wanted the team to think about the 4 key areas and bring along some ideas of how to solve these problems.
Using the 4 themes we identified earlier I set the group a 6-up task. With 2 minutes per box, I wanted everyone to generate 6 ideas to promote further discussion. This task was picked so participants could use divergent thinking to generate a broad mix of ideas in a short period of time.
All the ideas were pinned to the wall. Each person was given a couple of minutes to talk through their ideas and pull out the main themes. Any ideas overlapping with others were grouped together, leaving us with 19 unique solutions. These ideas were then ranked out of 21 using the NUF ranking.
The NUF test was used as quick “reality check” on all the proposed ideas. In the NUF Test, participants rate an idea on three criteria: to what degree is it New, Useful, and Feasible. We then rate each idea from 1 to 7 for each criterion and note the results.
The goal of this task is to check big ideas against the realities they will face after the ideation session. It is not intended to “kill” good ideas, but to identify possible weak points so that they can be shaped and improved before seeing the light of day.
We found that the NUF scoring was excellent for ranking ideas according to their strength as perceived by the team. However with 19 potential solutions it was felt we needed a second round of prioritisation to really focus the team over the next few months.
We took the 19 ranked solutions, along with the 6 other areas we identified earlier and arranged them into 4 categories: Do now, do later, not right now, and never/unknown.
These groups encouraged discussions, with commercial, marketing and product team members all considering where ideas fitted within the product roadmap.
- Do now – What should the team focus on in the next 30 days.
- Do later – What should the team look at in the next 3 months.
- Not right now – Things that required other projects to be completed, or had other dependencies requiring time to arrange.
- Never/unknown – Some nice to have ideas, but ones where the feasibility is unknown at this time.
Around the time I concluded this project, the car insurance team hired Andreea, a contract product designer. My final step in this process would have been to produce a series of personas for the team, however I passed this work on to Andreea to complete.
The team were left with a prioritised list of ideas to explore further. These were fed back into the team OKRs for the next 3 months work. Some of the quicker wins were easy to test and change, with the larger prices being designed by Andreea.
A set of three distinct car insurance personas were identified and produced based on the customer interviews.
Darius took the research skills he had learnt to begin a second phase of user research, more tightly focused on the personas to answer some additional questions.