Overhaul of Insurance Customer Engagement App
Reimagine the connection between carriers and policyholders
Overview
Sureify is developing a white-label mobile app that fosters and maintains the life insurance carrier-customer relationship. With major issues surfaced from user research, I led the team in redefining the new product vision, strategy, exploring solutions, and pushing the overhaul initiative. This resulted in new app design and development, as well as contract renewal with our anchor customer.
My Role
Product designer
(Worked through the entire design process and artifacts of this project.)
Team
Product designer (Siân Parry)
Product manager (PM)
Product owner (PO)
Engineering (Eng)
Client (life insurance carrier)
Duration
3.5 months
(for the project phases covered by this case study)
The problem
For the released app, based on annual user research findings, performance tracking, and observation of help tickets, it became evident that our app has issues in these major themes:
• The app has been built with a lack of clear purpose, leading to a collection of weak features that don’t provide users tangible value.
• The app has also over-focused on the extrinsic motivations to drive engagement - specifically the use of gift cards to motivate users. This is not scalable financially when the app is released to a larger amount of users.
• The UX of the app is confusing and the UI is out-dated, which caused confusion and complaints among users.
Designers’ challenge
• We hope to get buy-in from the product team on product strategy and improvement recommendations. With a long history working on the product, the designers possess in-depth knowledge of the research findings and product observations.
• Define and design the app in a way that balances users’ needs and business needs.
• Balance product strategy vs. client directions.
Product Shaping
How did designers help in this situation?
Contributed to product roadmap planning
With the presence of the Product and Engineering teams, we designers presented our understanding of the app's purposes and proposed to redesign major aspects of the app incrementally, considering the available development resources. Our suggestions were well-received, and the proposal was divided into several initiatives and added to the roadmap.
Incorporating client’s requests into our solutions
Regarding the app strategy, there is always two streams of influence that we need to balance - product perspective and client perspective. Our client desired an app with more personalized user journeys. We wanted to make sure addressing client’s idea in a way that fits our feature set and also benefits users.
Competitive analysis
We were first looked into a major competitor — Vitality mobile app.  By comparing their app with ours, we learned about their features, strategy, and usability, and used that information to help position our own strategy — Vitality is laser focused on deep, physical health improvements, while our app offers a wide variety of tools to suit a wide variety of user needs as well as data gathering physical, mental, and financial health.
Evaluate potential partnership integration
Revamping almost the entire app would cause a significant amount of work. It is worth considering API partnerships to save time on designing the feature logic and focus primarily on UI/UX design. We looked at Klarity Health, a health data management platform that claims to offer AI-powered personalization, which is of great interest to the client.
However, after a thorough investigation, we concluded that the feature set was not robust enough for our app, and we were more confident in designing the app features ourselves. Based on our report, the PM decided that we should redesign the entire app.
Decision: app overhaul project
We worked together with PM and PO to define the app overhaul scope and requirements. We aimed to balance client desires with essential roadmap enhancements for sustainable product growth.

See next section for what we have changed to the app.
Design Process
Project management
Based on our major touchpoint schedule with the client, the project was naturally divided into 3 phases.  Given the tight design timeline, it was crucial to create a plan to ensure we were prepared with everything. This case study is a summary of the first 2 phases (phase 3 will be Q4 2023-Q2 2024).
Information architecture
Feature evaluation and redefine
To establish the information architecture, we must decide which features to remove, alter, retain, or add, along with the reasons for these decisions. We began by documenting all the current app features and evaluated them based on past user feedback. Subsequently, we shared the file with stakeholders and the content admin for their input. In line with the overall app overhaul approach, we reached a consensus on a set of features for the new app after several rounds of discussions.
Building IA
To explore a logical way of navigation and help visualize the entry points of each feature for design, we created mind maps of the app structure across 3 phases, which also reflects our decision making with stakeholders on feature updates.
Feature UI/UX design
For the first 2 phases, during each client presentation we needed to showcase concept designs (HiFi but not ready for handoff) in client branding to illustrate our ideas for the app redesign. We decided to create designs for all main screens and features under them, with new navigation and visual style.
Major changes of the app
Create cohesive storytelling
• Retain core functionalities but integrate them into a meaningful, cohesive set of features, which involves removing distracting and under performing features, as well as updating and creating new features when necessary.
• Explore creating further distinctions between different user groups: policyholder,  beneficiary and public user.
Improve overall UI/UX
• Refresh the UI with a modern and clean look.
• Redesign user onboarding to immediately engage users when they first land on the app ( this is a separate project (see case study here) that has been completed. We will revisit it after this project is done to make sure it suits the new app).
• Redesign navigation to better convey the app's purpose and improve feature discoverability.
Ensure comprehensive engagement
• Personalization: implement a rule-based, micro user-segmentation approach to tailor features for a cohesive and personalized user experience.
• Gamification: add game elements into proper features and create a diverse and organized reward system to add fun and motivators into user experience.
Feature Highlight: Goal Journeys
Problem: In the current app, we have a basic goal tracker feature that users can set goals on running, biking and climbing stairs, which is one of the core and most popular features to keep users healthy. Users have been asking for more types of fitness & wellness goal tracking, better to be personalized based on their preference.

Solution: Diversify goals and expand the goal-achieving process into “pathways” - a user can choose from a set of pre-defined goals under the themes of financial, mental and physical wellness. When a user chooses a goal, the app will lead them through the pathway to complete the goal. Activities and content will be recommended to the user based on the chosen goal.
Design process
Brainstorm and finalize the goal - pathway framework
We needed to figure out a framework to define a general pathway for the goal-achievement journey, which should answer following questions:
• How long a goal pathway should last?
• What activities are included?
• How can users personalize their goals?
• What goals should we provide?
• How does goal completion validated?
• How to motivate users and deal with abandonment?
• How do we gamify the experience?

I did secondary research to understand habit building and theories on how people work with goals, then came up with a general strategy on goal journeys. With these initial thoughts as a starter, we hosted two brainstorming sessions and invited another 2 designers who had overlapping experience with the product to contribute from a fresher perspective.
User research & Define goals
We did user research to understand what goals people usually work on across physical, mental and financial health. Because we only had one week to complete research, sending out surveys was the most effective and efficient way.

We collected 49 responses from target users and I generated word clouds for each question, then summarized common activities and common goals for physical, mental and financial health, as well as pain points and success when users pursuing these goals:
We planned to provide 7-10 goals in the app as different pathways for users to choose from. Based on these findings and the SMART principle of creating goals, we came up with 28 potential goals and would pick a few from them to make mockups for client presentation:
Create mockup designs
We sketched wireframes, developed a user flow for the goal journey, and organized sketches according to the flow. We also defined requirements for each screen so we were clear on functionalities.
We then iterated on conceptual mockups based on these sketches, had them critiqued with the whole design team to get visual, usability and feature logic feedback, which helped us finalize the designs to showcase to our client.

Conceptual designs for client presentation (not ready for hand-off):
• Users enter the Goal feature from the Home page of the app. They can view a list of goals or go directly into the goals they they are currently working on. The user can participate in max 3 goals at the same time.
• There are 4 types of goals based on how the goal is validated. Validation method requires careful thinking, as the validation of a goal ties into the rewards a user can get, which determines reward expenses on the carrier. Thus, we aimed to provide fair measurement on goal completion to prevent users from cheating the system.
• We added recommended goals and related articles to personalize the user experience.
Outcome & Learnings
Client’s approval
At the end of both Phase 1 and Phase 2, we each delivered a successful presentation to our client, receiving the green light for the app overhaul. The client expressed a desire to renew their contract with us, and we were pleased to see that our client and our team were aligned regarding the app's vision and our proposal overall. This marks an exciting moment for us designers as we are working towards creating an app that serves a clear purpose and provides genuine benefits to end users while still achieving business goals.
Next steps
• We plan to release the new app in an incrementally manner. So the team and our client should agree on the MVP scope.
• Decide the sequence of feature development.
• Have in-depth discussions with Eng team to get comments on the feasibility of our designs, as well as the technical architecture and constraints.
• Start designing the HiFi for the first feature for hand off and create a design system for the app.
Learnings
Bridging collaboration gaps for design excellence
Previously, designers worked in isolation, primarily interacting with the PM, leading to communication gaps and decisions made without designer involvement. Prior to and during this project, the design team made an effort improving team operations and became more actively engaged in discussions with PM, Eng and client team. Through new cadences established we collaboratively made decisions about the product roadmap, advocating for a more robust design perspective in product initiatives.
Designing with business in mind
Working with a client on the mobile app brought the business goals of the product to the forefront during decision-making, more so than in other projects I've undertaken. It provided a great opportunity to closely collaborate with PM and PO, establishing the product's direction and strategy with both business and client perspectives in mind. For instance, while designing features, I had to consider not only the UX but also the user data the client intended to collect from these features. It was also a valuable exercise to draft a business case with another designer after reading the book 'Inspire' and learning about what makes a product successful.
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