Monday, April 8, 2013

Design Lessons - iPad Application for Supplemental Insurance Agents

Lately, I designed an iPad app for supplemental insurance agents for a global client based out of Chicago. Designing for mobile is always fun because of its connectivity and size constraints. Below are some of the design lessons from the insurance domain that I would like to share.

Supplemental Insurance Industry Context

  • The retention rate for sales agents is very low, at least for this client. Every year 2000 new sales agents are recruited to maintain an average of 1300 agents on payroll.
  • For effective selling, agent training is a significant part of the hiring process. Due to low retention rate, the training costs are pretty high.

Sales Agent Usage Context

  • Uses heavy paper binders for references on medications, sickness, product related brochures, during sales process
  • Spends significant time prospecting – customer conversion rate is less than 10%
  • Services customers in various locations; therefore, internet connectivity on iPad cannot be taken for granted
  • Works with both office and residential customers
  • Works at variety of locations: parks, coffee shops, fairs, homes, offices, inside the car, etc.

Design Considerations

  • Design for portrait mode (default) to accommodate more content (long forms, brochures, etc.).

  • Divide the content (long forms) in multiple sections and sub sections with expand and collapse functionality  For e.g. create a master section with expand/collapse functionality and create nested sub-sections with their own expand/collapse controls.

  • Use lookups with both alphabetical (A -> Z) navigation and search capabilities to reduce errors. List of medications and health conditions can be pretty long; their names are confusing and homo-phonic.

  • Reduce key strokes wherever possible, typing on iPad is not very user friendly. For e.g. Carry over the information that’s already entered in the form; e.g. names, addresses, etc.

  • Use wizards, wherever possible, to ensure 100% form completion and reduce training costs. Do not create a linear wizard; instead, allow the agent to hop back and forth between various steps – sales process is highly dynamic and unpredictable. A customer may demand an agent to show something from a step which may not be the next.

  • Allow the agent to save incomplete forms for future use. Sometimes prospect takes couple of days before making the final decision to pay for the insurance.

  • Make the forms editable as long as they are not submitted to the system for final processing.

  • Create effortless payment steps. Customers could use different payment methods or multiple payors for same or different policies – consider edge case scenarios.

  • Create an easy to read and sign payment summary screen. Customers like to read the application summary before approval.

  •  Create large area for signatures with a finger on touchscreen

  • Provide clear directions on every step if the agent needs to switch to paper for some reason

  • Use two or three column layouts for side-by-side comparison of rates and policies.

  • Agents need to know – just in time – if the customer doesn't qualify for insurance. The disqualification cue on the UI has to be subtle enough to not catch the customer’s eye.  Disqualification from one insurance type doesn't disqualify the customer from other insurances. Therefore, customer relationship, even with a disqualified customer, is really important – he can always refer the agent to his friends and family.

Of course, every project is unique and brings its own set of problems and challenges. Irrespective, we should try to leverage device or OS’s guidelines and patterns as much as possible for better user adoption.

No comments:

Post a Comment