Modernizing a user interface empowers internal users and external brokers to operate more efficiently

SLTX logo case study

INDUSTRY
Insurance

HEADQUARTERS
Austin, TX

SERVICES
Experience Design
Legacy System Modernization

The story

The Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas (SLTX) is a quasi-government educational nonprofit that provides innovative solutions to support the insurance and specialty insurance marketplace. Running on age-old systems, the client knew they needed to modernize in order to transform both their business and their internal technical processes.

One of their primary objectives was to improve the insurance filing experience for users: The existing system was neither intuitive nor efficient for operational team members or brokers to file policies. Modernization, however, posed a particular challenge because the system had been around for so long and users were accustomed to old ways of working. That’s why they engaged our UX experts to design a totally tailored experience that would facilitate a seamless onboarding process.

Challenges

  • Slower response times to data requests impaired the user and customer experiences
  • The internal operational team had to interact with disparate tools and spreadsheets to accomplish their tasks
  • Lack of UX principles and expertise was limiting the speed and scalability of the system
  • Users had been accustomed to interacting with the old system for a long time so change would prove more difficult

Solutions

  • Identified distinct user groups and documented their workflows through user shadowing, surveys, and interviews
  • Worked closely with the client from the early ideation phases, creating a continuous feedback loop
  • Designed user flows, sitemaps, wireframes, mockups, and prototypes and presented wireframes in collaboration sessions to get feedback
  • Created a fresh look and feel based on a custom color palette that fit the branding
  • Performed usability tests with four different groups to gather feedback and perfect the design

Results

  • Response time for data requests decreased from as much as one month to days—and even minutes!
  • Any policy detail can be intuitively searched, including Coverage, Primary Risk Location, Batch, Broker, Insurer, and Exemptions
  • Custom reports give business leaders on-demand access to the data they need to make decisions in real-time
  • After 32 years of mailing in paper checks, brokers can now make easy and quick payments online

Legacy systems causing lags

SLTX’s business was run on two different systems that were designed to provide meaningful insights on the Texas surplus lines market. However, slower response times to data requests were impairing the user and customer experience. The internal operational team also had to interact with disparate tools and spreadsheets in order to accomplish their daily tasks.

 

UX insights lacking

One of the main things holding the client back was an outdated user interface. Having been created decades earlier, the system lacked modern user experience principles, which was limiting the speed and scalability of the system.

Old dashboards:

SLTX UX modernization - EFS before SLTX UX modernization - Policy Inquiry before

Headspring helped us take several different processes and consolidate them into one automated, optimized flow. Their UX expertise was critical in creating a modern, intuitive, and user-centric interface that will help us operate more efficiently and scale more seamlessly.

Cheyenne Herrera

Director of Operations, SLTX

Our UX design approach

During all of our UX engagements, we follow an iterative design process. We identify user needs via research, develop a prototype, and test our design to validate whether it meets the users’ needs in the best possible way. Then, we take what we learned from testing and amend the design until we get it exactly right.

UX Process

User understanding

Our target users were divided into two major groups: external and internal users.

External Users: Brokers
Their main goal was to be able to efficiently file and update policies, as well as analyze industry reports and trends.

Internal Users: Operational team members
Their goals are related to being able to process policies in a simple way, respond quickly to brokers’ requests, and easily organize and track performance of their daily tasks.

User shadowing

Shadowing operational team members during their daily tasks helped us understand the business processes involved and form an empathetic connection with these users.

Main findings:

  • Users had to interact with many tools, spreadsheets, pdfs, and physical policies to perform their tasks
  • The operations team members are mostly keyboard-driven users
  • Team members had to memorize codes and employ plenty of sticky notes
  • Initial system training could take weeks

User interviews and surveys

We ran a customer satisfaction survey and conducted several rounds of interviews to identify common pain points in the filing process, across broker groups of different sizes.

Main findings:

  • Most of the users were struggling to make corrections on policies (e.g., update a policy)
  • The navigation was not intuitive
  • There was a lack of guidance during the filing process
  • The filing process was not as efficient as it could be
  • The search experience was not very flexible

Continuous collaboration

We worked with the client from the early ideation phases, creating a continuous feedback loop.

Main highlights:

  • Bi-weekly design sessions with users helped generate a shared understanding of the problems that we were trying to solve
  • A collaborative approach made the users and client feel involved in the process
  • Cross-disciplinary collaboration allowed us to obtain multiple important perspectives

Interaction design

We designed user flows, sitemaps, wireframes, mockups, and prototypes during this stage of the process.

High-fidelity wireframes were presented during collaboration sessions in order to obtain quick feedback.

Visual design

The client requested a fresh and clean look and feel. We picked a color palette based on their new branding. Also, we chose a readable font that has many variations (light, regular, etc.), which gave us flexibility in terms of content design.

Visual Design

The updated look and feel will guide the users to perform their actions more intuitively. The dashboard that more clearly displays information will help users achieve their goals.

User testing

We performed a moderated and remote usability test with four different broker groups. Our goal was to identify usability flaws and learn how to simplify the filing system. In order to accomplish that goal, we tested prototypes created from the wireframes. The meetings were recorded, so we could analyze and identify patterns in the feedback.

Main findings:

  • Users needed more guidance in every step of the filing process, especially to simplify the training for the new filters
  • Users requested a way to print a filing confirmation
  • The four user groups thought that the proposed filing process looked easy and simple

 

Resulting efficiencies

We delivered an intuitive user interface and an updated filing process that unified many tools, led to a lot less work with spreadsheets, and accelerated processes for all user groups.

  • Response time decreased from as much as one month to days or even minutes for data requests
  • Operational team members can easily access their daily tasks and performance metrics
  • Any policy detail can be intuitively searched, including Coverage, Primary Risk Location, Batch, Broker, Insurer, and Exemptions
  • Visualized custom reports give business leaders on-demand access to the data they need to make decisions in real-time
  • After 32 years of mailing in paper checks, brokers can now make easy and quick payments online

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