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User Experience and User Design
In human-computer interaction, the goal is to bridge the gap between a user mental model with the product conceptual model. For a simplified explanation, the mental model is the representation of how users represent real-world objects and its usage in the mind. The conceptual model is the actual representation of the actual product. To create an intuitive user experience, the conceptual model must match closely with the mental model of users, to create a positive, useful and easy user experience. Ultimately, a product should require low learning for usage or if required, to have a simplistic training procedure to follow.
User experience is a person’s emotions and attitudes towards products, systems or services and is enabled through good user design of a product/service. These methodologies affect the way user interface in systems are designed, according to the demographics it is intended to serve. In insurance, the design for customers-facing applications adopt user-centric design elements.
This can be observed in mobile apps for user-managed insurance portals. Insurance portal systems are defined as a system which allow policyholders to view, purchase insurance, submit claims, pay and monitor coverage. There is varying degree of usability, platform type and design, and user journey design implemented into the system’s workflow, differing between insurers and geographies.
The Mobile Experience
In Asia, Sompo Insurance, Aviva and AIA are examples of mobile apps serving as insurance portals. Portal functions include life, wellness, medical, motor cover, and on-demand purchase of commercial (including travel, property, cyber, construction and engineering) insurance. The integration of health and wellness into life insurance mobile apps are common today, with functions such as AIA Vitality and wellness advertising displayed into the mobile apps. Going further, apps can serve as data collection points with mobile phones’ sensors acting as parametric data collection and gamification front-end to engage customers for health and wellness features.
The apps provide low learning for users and allows biometrics, which tapped on existing phones biometric features, to be authenticated into the app. Biometrics can replace user names and passwords which can be forgotten and pose fraudulent risks. For additional security, an SMS or email one-time password (OTP) is sent to the user’s mobile phone for further authentication. The apps will take the colour scheme of the insurers and uses simple icons to display functions, mostly displayed on the main screen. A hamburger button on the side will lead to additional menu items such as settings and user profiles.
Below is a summarized look at the workflow and icongraphy included in insurance portal mobile apps today:
Why Design Matters
The mass adoption of mobile phones in most economies has resulted in various initiatives to empower citizens in a digital-forward world. Mobile phones and the internet have allowed financial inclusion through micro-financing and provided mobile services for the masses, enabling financial institutions to not be limited by physical locations. The usage of mobile services has provided an avenue for convenient user experience for the masses.
Although an established knowledge, it is good to have a reminder and to understand design principles when developing digital services for the future. Design principles are guidelines for design considerations and include varied disciplines, such as behavioural science, sociology, physics and ergonomics. The goal is to provide the fundamentals for creating easy-to-use and pleasant design, and to minimize users’ cognitive load and decision-making time. Hence, in the examples above, a mobile portal with a list of icons and common functions after login allow quick selection of insurance services for the user.
The design of such services requires a strong understanding of users’ problems and acceptance of solution – an insurance portal must be practical and allow quick claims submission for instance. Design principles can include visibility for controls, mappings of outcome, feedbacks from functions, consistency of functions across different portals, affordances on functions and have constraints as guide rails for users. Keeping these in mind, insurance appliances will need good user design to achieve customer satisfaction, promoting customer empowerment and self-service.
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Below are related reports to this blog:
Health and Insurance: Health Informatics, Internet of Things, and Integrated Electronic Health Records
Integrated Insurance Ecosystem: The Next Generation Insurer