Experience Solutions, a UK-based user-experience research company, did a cracking bit of research on online insurance UX recently. They reviewed more than 70 quote-and-buy processes. The study was international in scope and featured usability tests with people actively seeking new policies. Below is a quick run-down of some of their top findings.
1. Do not ask for personal details at the beginning of the quote process
Move sections requesting personal details later in the process to keep users invested and to cultivate trust. A good alternative is to start the process with details about the area users are looking to get insured.
2. Improve the look and feel of your quote form
Large text fields, more white space, and less clutter in forms is perceived as being easier to use; people make fewer mistakes and work more quickly. Of course, we would also suggest using form validation to shorten the length of your forms and improve the user experience.
3. Make forms more engaging with icons and images
Pictures, graphics, charts, or tables break up lengthy, text-based content and keep users’ attention. Creativity increases users’ ability to persevere through the whole form and submit it.
4. Reduce the number of available options in drop-down menus
Users prefer more questions with fewer drop-down items to sort through. They complete forms more quickly with fewer errors.
5. Do not make assumptions
Users would rather answer a series of questions than read a single block of text. Sites that tested well with users displayed each assumption as a question, providing a default answer which allowed the users to scan the page before clicking ‘next’.
6. Provide tools and calculators to help users complete forms
Some questions require the user to complete calculations. Online tools and calculators placed within the quote process help users get an accurate quote while providing them with confidence that they are fully covered. This reduces the number of calls to the call centre or users abandoning the form to seek out answers to these questions.
7. Ensure help text is written for users (and not by the compliance team)
Write help text with your target user in mind. It should be concise, helpful, and well-written, free from technical and legal jargon. The help message is also a great opportunity to convey personality and warmth.
8. Only ask relevant questions during the quote process
Users are understandably irritated by questions they perceive as irrelevant or unimportant (“How did you hear about us?”). If a question is not required to get a quote, consider removing it. If the question is deemed important to the business, ask it during the application process, once the user has already committed to using your services.
9. Make it easy to enter a job title and industry
A persistent usability issue arises when users are asked to enter their job title and industry; they don’t notice the drop-down list, started typing, and get an error message. Display the list automatically when users click into the field.
10. Display a prominent free phone number and live chat service on all pages
Users distrust a lack of prominent contact information, and dislike being asked to pay for a call that may result in giving a company business.
Cost remains the primary factor in choosing an insurance provider, however Experience Solution’s study clearly indicates how poor UX design can lose you business.