Isobar Digital Agency

From 2016 to 2017, Isobar digital agency helped FWD Group rapidly refresh their digital presence as the insurance company expanded across Pan-Asia.

In accordance with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted confidential information in this case story. The information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of Isobar or FWD Group.

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My Role

I led the Discovery phase of FWD Group's website refresh to improve customer decision-making and the search experience.

I worked with the UX Design Director at Isobar digital agency to interview stakeholder needs, present findings, prototype and iterate wireframes for UI developers.

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Discovering Stakeholder Needs

I conducted 10 one-hour semi-structured interviews with cross-functional executives to understand internal needs from the Group's corporate website, from the CEO, to Operations, Sales, and Strategy. I also dove into Google Analytics and presenting competitive analysis within and outside of the insurance industry to the client.

Developing User Stories

I visualized the user journeys based on research findings and presented them to the client to confirm target audience with stakeholders.

Designing Sitemaps and Wireframes

After presenting initial findings and incorporating feedback from the client, I reorganized the information architecture using card sorting to understand user goals. Then I designed wireframes using Sketch and Adobe to present navigation to help investors, media, and end consumers find relevant content.

Iterating Prototypes after User Evaluation

Forrester Research and usability testing identified the need for quicker access to product offerings, so I created more iterations of wireframes that used toolbar drawers for more mobile-friendly Search, Recently Viewed and 24-hour Chat features.

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We need to figure out what IS the differentiator and where the right place is for all the information we currently have. How can we stand out?
— VP Strategy, FWD Group

The Challenge

Harmonizing customer experience across countries

Rapidly-growing businesses face cross-functional communication challenges. This was an opportunity for the agency to understand internal stakeholder needs, while comparing them with external competitor offerings. We shared our research upwards and across the teams.

Three main challenges could be summarized as:
  • Finding the customer value proposition and competitive advantage across strong external competitors
  • Cross-functional communication focused on the customers
  • Harmonizing a unified visual identity and strategy across multiple countries

The Roadmap

Building Trust and Proving Differentiation

The strategy from client to consumer was mirrored in the way we interacted from agency to client. Understand how to empathize with the client needs, and then help get them where they want to go.

  • Using quantitative and qualitative research to better understand stakeholder needs
    • Internal and external benchmarking
    • Google Analytics research
    • Expert interviews
  • Integrating multidisciplinary frameworks to make holistic design recommendations

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Discovery Insights

Finding Focus

Four main stakeholder groups became apparent through perusing entry and exit behaviour flow on Google Analytics, page views, and click event-tracking.

The most important commonality across all functions, from Product to Marketing to Sales and Operations, as well as the CEO, was that consumers would be able to find what they were looking for and be directed down the sales funnel when needed.

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An interesting discovery was how separate the paths were for different user groups. The end customer didn't browse the site after the first click. Many would exit after the landing to look for the country site, and continue to look for quick access to products, for example, travel insurance. As well, those who downloaded financial reports existed after one click.

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Developing Vision

Shaping Opinions

We want to focus on giving people a seamless and consistent experience across the brand. Being edgy may not be what it takes to get a customer from point A to B, we want to funnel them down the sales funnel.
— VP Operations, FWD Group

Sharing my discovery findings internally, and then with the C-level executives including the new CEO, opinions started being guided towards design-centric solutions across the organization. Just because the broader target market was geared towards Millennials, did not mean that the Corporate Group website needed to have a 'quirkiness' that the client's brand and marketing teams was developing as their individual voice and style.

Instead, our data analysis from desk research and trends from our agency's other clients found that for shareholders and investors, trust and technology investment were important elements on the Management Team. Media also looked at technology, and would look at details about the company, news, and the history of the company.

  Customer Value Proposition Model

After establishing that investor and media user groups were the primary target for the Corporate Group site, and that end consumers were the secondary target, we used the Customer Value Proposition Model to present and establish a common strategy for the project moving forward.

We also leaned on card sorting to further understand the consumer's point of view with focus groups in order to start building sitemaps, navigation, and information architecture. User pain points with the websites included clunky service and a lack of understanding, common in the insurance and financial industry. We proceeded to go back to the whiteboard once we confirmed the same vision.

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Initial Design

Show and Tell

From hand-drawn sketches, to low-fidelity wireframes, to high-fidelity mock-ups, I presented iterations internally in the agency to the UX Director and Business Strategy Officer before presenting to the client at their office.

We looked at other Country sites and their branding kits as well, through our agency's other locations in Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines to draw elements that would eventually be put into a visual pattern library for all countries to draw from, like the five circular product icons and immediate call-to-action buttons to purchase.

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Iterating Prototypes

Incorporating Feedback

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After initial designs were quickly implemented after wireframes were perfected by the graphic and development teams, the client and agency purchased custom Forrester CX research to test the design. We needed to improve and support customer decision making.

We also went back to Google Analytics to statistically inform our next proposals.

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Millennial Inspiration

We looked at direct competitors and external benchmarks outside the insurance industry for quick inspiration, including Tesla, Ray-Ban, Nike, and other e-commerce stores that our target audience would be browsing on a daily basis.

We opted for drawers based on Google's Material Components pattern library, and placed them on the right-hand side of the screen according to F and Z-patterns for desktop versions. Responsive mobile versions moved these tools up to the top right-hand side.

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The Launch

Criss-crossing functions

The main qualitative lesson in this project for me was to design fast, and let ideas die fast. With many stakeholders within the agency and in the client's multi-national organization, rapid growth means abandoning any initial ideas in order to blend business results with client satisfaction. Plus, time is finite.

We were able to guide vision and strategy based on quantitative information.
  • Clients can be convinced with number-crunching and data insights (Google Analytics has become my go-to buddy)
  • Design does not need to re-invent the wheel - in fact, developers and designers were emphatically happy to work and lend ideas when material components were repeated and inspired from other places. In a way, proof is in the pudding applies in cross-functional design.
  • Finding unity across the countries helped increase client and customer experience.

Priscilla showed patience during bumps in the project, and she also demonstrated flexibility on adapting to client’s needs.
— A. Yu, UX Director at Isobar (2016)