the project

Creating A User Experience

The creation of a mobile or web app is more than placing design elements and text on a page. There should always be a well thought through strategy based on user research that solves for an existing problem and make’s their lives easier.

New Benefits Mobile App and Portal


New Benefits in a non-insured benefit provider, which are supplemental benefits to traditional insurance such as telemedicine, counseling, legal and more. Primarily a behind the scenes white-label company with “old-school methods”, New Benefits is looking to become the leader in technology within the insurance industry. The initial project became the mobile and web app platforms to enhance the user’s benefit experience.

Problem Statement

Convert card in hand benefits delivery process to a digital platform that would allow all members  to access their benefits through a mobile app or web portal. In addition to this primary goal came a number of high level objectives:

  1. Give members easier access to their benefits in addition to features that would encourage the use of the services.
  2. Increase direct communication to the user through push notifications and other digital communication mediums tied directly to the mobile app.
  3. Make the the benefits measurable for the client, being the insurance broker, who sells the benefit packages to employers.
  4. Identify trends in the marketplace, so the company can make data-driven business decisions such as which benefits to off-load, onboard, promote and more.
  5. Create the mobile app and web portal with white-label capabilities

Primary Audience

There are two primary audiences that had to be considered during this project:

  1. Insurance Broker – The insurance broker is responsible for selling our products to employers, associations and other groups.
  2. Member – The member (typically an employee) is the end user of the mobile app.

Role & Responsibilities

As the UX Designer on this project, I was responsible for the following:

  • UX Research and Strategy
  • Identifying, documenting and prioritizing features and stories
  • Building end to end user flows
  • Creating and presenting wire-frames
  • Building interactive hi-fi prototypes
  • Leading the offshore development team including architects, designers, and developers
  • Quality Assurance Testing
  • Ensuring KPI’s were met

Scope & Constraints

The existing CMS Legacy Systems created extreme limitations to creative solutions. This system was in the process of being replaced but we were forced to use it until then. Secondly, as a smaller company, there were some budget constraints that forced us to work with a very lean team until a promise of ROI was on the horizon. This did lead to some very efficient thinking and development processes.

The Creation Process

Design Thinking Methodology

To ensure we created the most adequate solution for our users after our first attempt, we used the double diamond approach utilizing a series of divergent and convergent techniques. Our solutions relied heavily on interacting with our users, gathering feedback on current pain points, awareness, perceived value and more.


User Research

After conducting 1 user research study with 10 existing members, using random sampling, we found that the majority of members were not aware they had the benefits available after being hired by an employer who offered them or becoming a member of an association. We also found that while a majority of our users from the study were not familiar with them, they did find them valuable and would use them if they could easily access them. Here are a few of the key questions asked during the interview process:


Are you aware of the benefits available to you?


Yes, I am very aware


Somewhat aware


No, i'm not aware of them

Do you feel any combination of these benefits would be of value to you in the future?


Yes, I find these very valuable


Somewhat valuable


No, I don't find these valuable to me

Do you have access to your physcial benefit card currently?


Yes, I have it on me


I have it, but not on me


I don't know where it is

Findings From Research

90% of our testers preferred a mobile app platform to access their benefits vs carrying a physical card and wanted to be reminded of their benefits regularly. Multiple participants said it was preferred primarily because it “fits in with my existing day to day routine of accessing personal information such as insurance, banking info and even store coupons sometimes.”


“fits in with my existing day to day routine of accessing personal information such as insurance, banking info and even store coupons sometimes.”


User Test Participant


Empathizing with Our User Base

In addition to the preference of digital over print, we found that our key audiences who found these products valuable, fit within three major categories: Tech Savvy Students, Working Parents and Modern Seniors. Empathy maps were created for each group and allowed us to dig deeper into the wants, needs and motivations of a more narrow target.


Impact of Research on Company Goals

After confirming that there was no issue with the value or validity with the product we had to synthesize our findings and convert them into a useful solution. To measure the success of this solution, without having a measurable baseline in place, we had to create our KPI’s based on the needs of the business and the users.

  • Measure the use the each benefit accurately and gain an average use of 1 benefit per member per month by second quarter post launch.
  • Determine which benefit is most popular statistically and consistent trends.
  • Convert 20% of existing users to digital platform within one quarter post launch (roughly 100k users).
  • Ensure members have a minimum 90% success rate on registration process.
  • Gain and maintain an average user rating in Apple Store and Google Play store of 4 stars or better.


User Flows/Journey Map

With the user insights in place and the KPI’s established, we were able to build out the ideal Features and User Stories using the SAFe (Scaled Agile for Enterprise) methodology that would satisfy both elements. All Features were given a proper benefit hypothesis using a FAB Matrix and this helped guide the discussion around building the Member Journey Map and then Story Map.

My responsibility was to lead the UX discussion while aggregating all of this information.


Site Map

Now that all the user flows were created and finalized, we could take them and organize them into a sitemap. This would become the companies EPIC and the teams’ guiding light for both design and development through phase one of the mobile app.

Wireframes & Hi-fi Prototypes

With our validated set of Features in the Program Backlog for ongoing delivery through the Continuous Delivery Pipeline I was able to start wireframing and prototyping. Initial approval from user testing was done with wireframes before finalizing stories and then creating hi-fi mockups.

Pass/Fail Approach

A minimum score of 90% was required from our user testing in order for any feature to pass to the next stage of hi-fi mockup. This greatly reduced the need to work backwards. Each feature was was refined until it met this minimum criteria.

Accomplishing Goals

We set out to accomplish a few goals and ultimately came out with great success. Take a look to see the results!

Measure the usage the each benefit accurately and gain an average use of 1 benefit per member per month by second quarter post launch.

We soon realized after diving in the the define stage that we did not have the technology to indicate whether or not a user had actually used ALL of the benefits, because they only had to show their member card to someone who accepts the discount card. We were however, able to get exact usage on provider related benefits or online benefits that required a code input or the use of SSO (single sign on) which we had to implement in later phases.

Determine which benefit is most popular statistically at any given time and determine current and coming trends.

Similar to determining the benefit usage, we were limited to only measuring benefits that required interaction from the user within the app. This did however help us identify what minimum requirements were needed from a technology standpoint from our various vendors. If they did not have the backend systems that would allow us to measure the use of the benefit, giving both New Benefits and our brokers insight into the value of these products, then we were unable to onboard them. This saved us a lot of time and money as well as progressed the quality of vendors we worked with.

Convert 5% of existing members (roughly 100k) to our digital platform within one quarter post launch.

After a series of drip campaigns, creation of new marketing materials for our brokers to use, push notifications and more, we exceeded our goal converting 124k members to the mobile app within one quarter. This number could have been higher, however due to a number direct to consumer communication limitations, New Benefits was limited on the number of channels we could access. Being primarily a white label company, members were not familiar with the name New Benefits and clients were concerned this could cause confusion and/or conflict with the perceived image of owning and managing the benefits.

Ensure members have a minimum 90% success rate on registration process.

Because of our in depth research and testing prior to releasing app and portal, this goal was accomplished with little surprise. The registration process was completed with a 96% success rate. This was determined by comparing the number of active registered users to the number of app and play store downloads.

Gain and maintain an average user rating in Apple Store and Google Play store of 4 stars or better.

Our current rating is 5 stars for the New Benefits app and 4 stars for the white labeled versions of the app for our clients who chose to customize the look and feel to match their brand.

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