The Genius of Policygenius: A Usability Analysis

For a bonus project in my Designlab UX Academy bootcamp, the course proposes that we students analyze a competing website’s usability heuristics, or its LEMErS. Otherwise known as the website’s learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors, and satisfaction.

I have been conducting user research for a fictitious insurance company, Kaus, which offers prepackaged deals to its customers, allowing them to offer great coverage at low prices. I chose to analyze Policygenius’ website even though it’s a marketplace and not an insurance company, because the format of the website is incredibly… well, usable!

Learnability

Visual Feedback

Every step of the process was rewarded with visual feedback that something was working and that I was on the right path. There were ample visuals for loading, and there was even a minute by minute countdown for the quote process (pictured below). As you made selections, you could see how it affected the price of your policies.

(L) Loading notification with copy. (R) Copy at the bottom lets users know where they are in the process. Both use fun, human language for the copy.
(Left) Loading bar in upper right corner. (Right) Shows users how their choices affect the prices.

Affordances

Every interactive object has a clear purpose. Input fields are clearly labeled, and usually are complimented with suggested text inside the field. Buttons and links pop out with a drop shadow in hover state, &/or are highlighted in orange.

Brief pause to admire this pup photo. I mean, wow wow wow. Adorable.

(L) Input fields are labeled, plus the suggested text in the input field itself. (R) Clickable buttons have a hover state animation

Constraints

Policygenius makes it clear when the user cannot access certain features. The consistent theme on the site is to mute out the button with a gray tone.

(L) Other options are not available, which is reiterated in the copy as well. (R) User cannot continue until they answer the question

Mappings

There are a few examples of mappings throughout the page, such as sliders and drop down options.

Consistency

Everything from the branding, to the light & fun language used in the copy, to affordances, to the beautifully responsive layout, to that bright, bold orange accent — Policygenius nailed consistency.

Help & Documentation

They did an excellent job of presenting the immense amount of information baggage that comes with the insurance train in a clear & concise way.

Instead of leaving you feeling innundated with information, they direct you to answers via various routes:

  • Top menu with well-organized categories
  • Clear direction to specific topics for help via that menu
  • “Read More” options on many pages
  • Breakdowns of different features into succint bullet points
  • Talk to a human (Online chat option, phone number, email)
(L) Read more link opens up the pop up (R).

Efficiency

Policygenius’ website was the first one that was simple, fast, unintrusive, and informative. I was able to acquire a pet insurance quote in under five minutes, including some time spent comparing my options.

Unfortunately, there were some technical issues when I was on the final page that shows the quotes. It suggested that there were not many policy matches because of the options I chose, so I wanted to see what would become available if I changed the limits or plan features. However, it didn’t change the matches, even after clicking “Show All Plans.” I had to backtrack to the beginning to change those settings. I was disappointed that I had to leave the screen to compare these options even though it seemed otherwise.

Options/selections on the left of this page suggested that different matches would appear, but even after clicking “Show All Plans.” Nothing changed. I had to go back to the start to select the different options through that process to get different plans.

Memorability

For example, the links “Life” — “Will & Trusts” in the top menu all drop down to the same format, broken up into “Find a policy,” “Get advice,” “Best of,” and “Reviews.”

Con: The problem I mentioned in the Efficiency section is also a Memorability problem. In addition to the technical issues, it would just be nice to have all those options in the same page, because I’d forgotten some by the time I reached the end. I had to put in just that tiny extra effort to go back and re-do my answers.

Errors

Satisfaction

Albeit, I only pursued a quote for pet insurance, which is probably the least complicated type of insurance, but it was a near purrrfect experience. Despite the few hiccups I mentioned, I found Policygenius’ website to be very usable.