We were approached by The Exeter, a member-owned mutual society, to evaluate the user experience of both their website and member benefits app.The Exeter
is a reputable, established insurance company with policies covering life insurance, income protection and private medical insurance, but how does it come across to customers and advisers?Part I: The website
Our client wanted to focus initially on insurance advisers:
Working with People for Research
to source independent insurance advisers, the client and u.exe specified the exact type of adviser required. PFR were diligent and precise in their search, leaving no stone unturned to find participants who were a perfect match for The Exeter’s typical adviser.
We created a scenario to set the scene for our adviser participants, designed to present a real-world situation an adviser might come across that would require them to fully investigate the website.
Conducting a series of moderated online user tests, we were able to record advisers from across the country using The Exeter website to complete the set tasks and gather insights on their experience.
Insights were enlightening for both us and the client. Many positives were identified, which is always heartening for a client; together with repeat experiences which we were able to turn into specific, actionable recommendations for website improvements.
It is always fascinating to find out the experiences that users have with a client’s website, and not always predictable. Recruiting participants as close to a perfect match to your target audience (in this case, independent advisers in this area of the industry) is key to getting really good insights, which is why we use People For Research, who are skilled professionals at sourcing participants for user research.
We produced specific recommendations to improve and resolve issues uncovered during the user testing. Presenting these to the client enabled a full discussion and explanation of the issues identified, resulting in a positive connection and understanding of the findings which they could then take back to stakeholders and their website provider.
Part II: The app
Concurrently with the website user testing, we worked with the team at The Exeter who look run the member benefits app, called Healthwise.
When customers take out a policy with The Exeter they have access to the Healthwise app, which enables them to book consultations with GPs, physiotherapists, mental health specialists, nutrition consultants and more.
The Healthwise team were aware of some technical issues that users had experienced with the app previously, and wanted to explore the user journeys that users would take using the app as well as assess the experience on different devices.
We ran two days of moderated user tests, firstly on Apple iPhone and iPad devices, and secondly on Android devices. Using the same script and tasks, designed by us to ensure a level playing field across mobile types, we were able to see how the users interacted with the services and functions offered by the app and the experiences and impressions they had.
Adjusting for Android and coping with Covid
We ran the iPhone testing online, but were required to change tack when it came to Android devices as screen sharing functionality was unavailable. We have our own user research lab in Exeter
and when restrictions were eased, we were able to run in-person testing for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
We have appropriate Covid-19 precautions in place, including:
Most of the participants preferred to keep their face covering on during the user test, which we were happy to accommodate. Mask-wearing does make the audio and visual analysis of user behaviour a little harder, but it’s a small price to pay for everybody’s comfort and safety. As we were testing in-person, we could film exactly where they were tapping on the mobile phone while using the app, which was additional insight not visible during remote testing.
Following this period of user experience research, The Exeter and Healthwise teams now have a comprehensive set of insights and improvements that they can begin to implement to further develop the app and the adviser website. The teams’ understanding of specific user journeys gained from this testing, plus witnessing users’ experiences in real time is invaluable for developing the website and app, supported by evidence.