I recently worked on a redesign proposal for an insurance company’s website and I learned about the young ambitious company, Lemonade. Lemonada, founded in 2015 and the service launched in the fall of 2016, raised $120 million from SoftBank in late 2017. The company keeps its service “free-from-legacy systems” and makes its interfaces mobile-first, in order to appeal to younger demographics.
I have always avoided insurance sites or kept contact as minimal as possible due to preconceptions that I have about insurance products. My first preconception is that insurance companies come up with excuses not to pay even with incidents that appear to be covered by their terms. My second preconception is that insurance products are confusing and the burden is on the consumer to read carefully to find products that are a good match for them. Therefore, consumers don’t know what they are actually covered for and they won’t get proper returns as they are advertised.
For the first point, Lemonade takes a consistent 20% of what customers pay as its profit and payout coverages come from the remaining 80%. In the way that the conventional insurance industry is structured, companies and consumers are in direct-conflict when incidents happen; The money that customers pay is both companies’ profits and a source for consumers’ coverages. Dan Ariely, Behavioral Economics Expert and Lemonade’s Chief Behavioral Officer explains that Lemonade’s transparency with money is to overcome their distrust in insurance companies in general. Lemonade also advertises that all claims can be made in the app, and that too helps with the transparency of the process.
On top of explanatory videos and websites, Lemonade invested a lot on the onboarding process to make it as user-friendly as possible to solve above issues. The clearer onboarding explanations make consumers comfortable with persung products. At the same time, the frictionless onboarding process promises that its claim process will be also seamless. In this essay, I explore its onboarding process on both web and mobile to learn how complex products can be explained in the user-friendly manner.
Less Inquiry in Human-Esque Manner
When customers first arrive at the home page, they are welcomed with modern illustrations and bold copy (“Forget Everything You Know About Insurance” at the time when I viewed). The look is refreshing comparing to other competitors’ websites which often use photos of family and friends with a lot of options to choose from. A simple “CHECK OUR PRICES” button at the center of the site shows how straight-forward Lemonade’s service is, instead of having many options with roundabout explanations.
Lemonade’s focus is housing coverage, so I think that the website could make that a little clearer to help first visitors not to get confused with health, life or others.
After “CHECK OUR PRICES” button is clicked, customers are asked to answer questions that help narrow their coverage needs to find prices. Lemonade staged the entire questionnaires as if it’s handled by a human concierge, instead of using conventional forms. It even introduces a virtual character, Maya, to help move the survey along. All questions are conversational and short, comparing to the formal and roundabout language we see on other insurance company sites. In addition, backed by a multitude of user testing, having single questions at each page is getting more and more popular to onboard users. It’s not as overwhelming, and the page also translates better in mobile view. For example, radio buttons in Lemonade’s site are big and easy to tap in mobile.
In addition to the conversational effect, a lot of subtle interaction details can be seen in the site to ease customers in and keep them on the site for the long questionnaire process. For example, when customers need to fill their addresses, the form auto-suggests as they type, and a map is shown to reconfirm their addresses. Also, “Next” buttons are grayed out until they have input or selected the form, and after tapping it a loading spinner appears within the CTA to ensure it processes as requested. It is small enough that it does not distract customers too much, but still catches the their eyes by showing it next to recent action.
In the process, housing owners have to answer more questions than renters. The process is not that painful due to the thoughtful efforts put into interaction details, but I was wondering how many questions I needed to answer throughout. Although a progress bar or paginations may be counter-effective by revealing how long the process really is, I would still give an overview or table of contents, so they will have a better understanding of where they are.
In addition, when there is no offering based on what customers have chosen, they will see the page where they can learn why there are no specific products for them. However, there is no option to go back and change settings. Some customers might have answered the questions just to get ideas on pricing or some others might have simply made mistakes. Providing a way to go back without starting over to modify would be helpful for those customers.
Web (Simplified form) v.s. Mobile (Chat platform)
Lemonade’s mobile apps pushed the conversational aspect even further by adopting a chat platform UI. In order to make the conversation even more personalized, customers are prompted to sign in using either their facebook accounts or with emails. In the app, Maya calls their name in the conversation as if it was a conversation between friends. The customer journey is similar to the one on the web; customers are asked to input their addresses, properties, and security amenities at their houses. One strong benefit for using the chat ui is its scannability for a conversation history. When customers make mistakes or when they want to compare pricing, it’s easy to go back and edit simply by tapping little pencil icons next to each chat bubble.
Lemonade greatly advertises its ease to make a claim. The chat UI is extremely effective to create a seamless experience to claim damages. Customers are asked to describe their damages and to text the descriptions and recorded videos explaining their situation. All can be done within the same chat flow.
While a lot of services seem to misuse chat UIs, Lemonade’s attempt is interesting and may be logical. When I think about the insurance industry, after signing up, I would never take a look again until I need to claim (or maybe to check on my conditions once in a while). Having said that, it is useful if our entire dialogue is in one place. Checking my signup choices is simple by going back