Collaborating with stakeholders to design a new user interface enhances team efficiency and supports scale
Headspring found a well-aligned client in this trusted financial institution with a long legacy of serving their community. The business is focused on providing high-quality financial services, specializing in the life insurance sector. In order to keep up their commitment to customers and be able to scale into the future, they needed to digitize and update their legacy system.
One of the primary goals was to reduce the time spent on tasks and expedite the onboarding process for new team members. They tapped us for our user experience (UX) expertise to help bring the system up-to-date for new and existing users. We collaborated with actual team members to design a new interface that will empower them to work better, grow faster, and drive the company’s legacy forward.
- The outdated user interface (UI) and absence of user experience (UX) principles was limiting the speed and scalability of the system
- The layout was cluttered with many screens showing an overwhelming number of components
- The navigation lacked an intuitive structure—it was missing a clear hierarchy between sections or categories
- The visuals and overall aesthetic of the UI were not aligned to the company’s brand guidelines
- Existing users had deep mental models of how to perform tasks in the application they’d been using for decades
- To expedite onboarding, we to guide users’ workflows with things like help sections, guiding text, and helpful tips
User Persona Mapping
Our target users were employees in the company’s Member Services dept. We worked with their team to deeply understand actual users’ challenges and goals. We created User Personas to provided our team and the company’s stakeholders with a shared understanding of the needs and capabilities of the new system.
ABOUT: Anne has been working in the Member Services for 18 years. Her main tasks are to review and process beneficiary changes
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INTERVIEWS: The design process started with five days of on-site user interviews that shed light on the role that UX would play in users’ day-to-day, as well as their pain points and goals. We also interviewed cross-functional stakeholders to understand how users connected with other departments. An informed decision was made about which part of the system redesign first based on what we discovered would deliver the most impact, fastest.
OBSERVATION: Shadowing users helped us understand the business processes involved and form an empathetic connection. Observing their interactions gave us a clear vision of how complicated it was to perform daily tasks in the system. Many users relied on tribal knowledge of reminders and codes…which were mostly captured on Post-It notes!
IDEATION: We invited the client into the early ideation phases, creating a continuous feedback loop. One of the main challenges was to overcome long-time users’ attachment to the existing system. That’s why our design solutions aimed to reduce the gap between what the user was familiar with and the new technology.
PROTOTYPES: Getting a minimal viable product (MVP) into users’ hands quickly was key. Testing prototypes helped us to fail fast and succeed sooner. We discovered in the initial testing phases that the interface was too reliant on scrolling—users could be completing tasks faster using their keyboards. This enabled us to iterate on a keyboard-driven design that helped reduce time-on-task.
ITERATION: We continued to refine our prototypes based on stakeholder feedback. Over the course of frequent visits and meetings, we got to know their team as people, which was critical to creating software that serves them. Making the users feel involved in the design process reduced friction between the old and new designs. This collaborative approach also helped our team and the clients’ build a shared understanding of both the design problem and the solution.
- A unified desktop application that gives users a more efficient way to process beneficiary changes
- Significant reduction in both time-on-task and time dedicated to user training
- The new UX solution is designed to scale: the client can incorporate new features and keep improving the experience without redesigning the entire application
- Implemented incremental designs that create an enjoyable user journey and help reprogram users’ old mental models
- Sustainable collaboration achieved between all stakeholders involved