User research guides solid strategy and compelling redesign
ICBC is the largest insurance provider in Canada. Although ICBC well known as being the sole provider of compulsory automobile insurance in British Columbia, it actually provides a broad range of automobile related services to the citizens of BC. It also provides optional insurance, driver licensing services, and road safety programs.
ICBC asked OpenRoad to lead the redesign of its primary website property, icbc.com, in Dec 2007. OpenRoad worked with partners Karo (visual design) and Performance By Design (usability testing) on the project.
As part of the redesign process, OpenRoad engaged with ICBC executive, management, and customers to produce a comprehensive web channel strategy and vision. Several methods were used to inform the strategy including one-on-one interviews with C-level, Sr VP, and VP-level executives at ICBC; workshops with senior management; customer surveys; web analytics; comparative and competitive website analysis; in-depth interviews with customers; call-centre listen-ins; observational research in ICBC Claim Centres, Driver Licensing Centres, and partner brokerages; and usability testing.
The information gathered in this process was then transformed into a series of strategic insights and actionable design implications which were then carried through to the resulting website design. Key Performance Indicators were developed with ICBC and were used to define success for the site and measure the performance of the site at re-launch and into the future. Our comprehensive strategy laid out several key challenges that were tackled during design, including:
- Many tasks that customers need to complete with ICBC are mandatory in nature. Failure to address them on the website will force customers to use other channels until the task is complete.
- Giving customers clear guidance (in the form of numbered steps and checklists) will be important for their confidence and comfort with ICBC.
- A balance must be struck between using legally precise language and language that customers will understand.
To ensure even tighter adherence to user needs, OpenRoad created personas which guided the navigation and interaction design of the site. A primary persona was also assigned for each page of the site to make the copywriting targeted and focused.
The site re-launched in May 2009 and immediately saw a 50% decrease in the number of customers that needed to consult the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of the site. OpenRoad continues to work with ICBC as they further refine areas of the site, improve their Google Analytics implementation, and build their continuous improvement program.