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!
Everything flows nicely, and I had barely any problems going through the task of finding pet insurance quotes. Here are some things that I discovered:
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.
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.
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.
There are a few examples of mappings throughout the page, such as sliders and drop down options.
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)
Over the past few weeks, I’ve explored nearly every insurance company’s website out there. …Oh, I’m glad you asked, it was as exciting as it sounds.
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.
This site is intended for occasional use, so the learnability and memorability really need to work together for a smooth user experience. The consistency of the page in its navigation and visual feedback really play a key role in accomplishing this.
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 and “dead ends” were met with visual cues and/or instructions on how to resolve the issue.
The standard way to measure satisfaction is to ask your customer if they would recommend the product to someone else, and seeing that I’ve already recommended Policygenius to not one, but two friends, I’d say I’m satisfied!
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.