The group benefits space is complicated, especially for outsiders. As part of the design team at ThreeFlow, and an outsider myself, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to understand the insurance industry's nuances. Fortunately, what we lack in experience, we compensate for with curiosity.
Curiosity in design manifests itself through qualitative research endeavors. When our team doesn't know something, we're not deterred. We take it as an opportunity to talk with our users and understand their challenges. These conversations get us closer to a complete understanding of their jobs' standard processes and workflows.
We have the chance to peek into the world of all types of users: brokers to carriers and daily admins to C-level executives. By working hand-in-hand, we can discover usage patterns, see where obstacles or repetitive tasks can be removed, and gain insight into possible enhancements.
Solving customer problems through design
If you've never worked with a product design team before, let me give you a quick overview. ThreeFlow's product design team is responsible for three main areas:
- providing expertise in design best practices,
- evangelizing for the end user,
- translating user and business needs into what you see on screen (the user interface).
As designers, we need to remember that we don't work in an industry where you see a lot of technological innovation. Given that, we try not to reinvent the wheel too often. Instead, we try to use patterns our users are already familiar with, for example, what you'd encounter in Microsoft products.
But our users provide us with the insight we need to use our design expertise wisely.
Sometimes they help us see when a new feature needs to be refined. Like when we were testing a new way to invite new carriers or add additional carrier contacts to an active market event. This feature, which isn't used often but is essential when it is used, wasn't discoverable by the user in the first iteration. That would result in users not knowing it's there and potentially reaching out to our support team to make updates on their behalf - adding significant time and energy to their efforts. We tested a second iteration, and users found that the workflow was much more intuitive. By learning about this in user testing, we were able to improve the workflow and avoid future headaches.
Our process includes as much face-time with our users as we can get. This can mean showing them something that isn't quite right or even completely wrong. But being wrong at the design stage is a net positive. It means our team has learned something new to benefit the design in question and the group as a whole. When one of us learns something, we all learn something!
Want to get involved?
The design team is always looking for ways to improve our understanding of the insurance industry. If you're interested in being included in future discussions that make our product better, reach out to your client experience or partnership representative.
About Patti Sievert
Patti leads the product design team at ThreeFlow. She's been designing things for the internet professionally for 13 years but unprofessionally for much longer. She started at ThreeFlow in 2018 and has grown the design team from one to six strong since then. When she's not pushing pixels, you can find her creating colorful messes with her 2-year-old or relaxing at the beach.