Problem: Many people do not add beneficiaries to their eligible accounts or do not finish the process because they don’t understand why it’s important, it’s not part of the account opening process, and the process itself is very old and hard to follow correctly to a successful completion. How might we reimagine beneficiary enrollment to be part of a larger strategy, including improved education and communication, to empower people to make smart choices with their accounts?

Solution: Redesign of the experience, highlighting the following changes: bring the old design into the new design system, which affords more white space and cleaner UI; break the process down into more manageable pieces that include education in context of the action; include the ability to “know you” and use the data we have on file to minimize redundancy; and make it harder to make a mistake by trimming the basic flow down to most common use cases, with “escape” links for unique cases.

Method: Before diving into a redesign, even one where it feels like the problems are obvious, we need to level set with where we are and develop a targeted “right problem” statement. Working with the UX research department, we deployed a baseline study of the current experience, then combined that feedback with prior research studies, a competitive analysis, and research highlights from products that were solving similar problems.

Too many action items on the page makes it hard to know what to do next. If the user gets this far without knowing what a contingent is, they won’t know it’s important.

With data pointing us in the right direction, and powerful verbatims to support our prioritization of the work, I held a short design activity to engage our developers and business partners in thinking about how we might move forward. With differing expertise in the room we were able to develop ideas and features that were true customer problem solvers as well as feasible to build within our current tech ecosystem.


As I often do, I started moving into design flows by sitting with a small group of stakeholders and putting boxes on a page. As we talked through ideas I designed on the screen, adding text and moving pieces around to collaboratively create the experience backbone.

Once I had something I knew my team could react to, I started bi-weekly design sessions. Design sessions are open to anyone, but my business partners and developers are required since they are the closest to the work. That’s where we get into the nitty gritty of creation the solution, asking “Why?” until we can come to a balance of functional, feasible, and necessary.

In between work with my team, I pulled together groups of design colleagues to help sharpen the design and to get fresh perspective, as well as to help keep the rest of the design department informed about the work happening in my space.

A beginning that welcomes then guides through the process with relevant education along the way.
What’s the minimum amount of information someone needs to take the
next best step?

I also conducted a focus group with call center representatives, who not only know better than most where the user pain points lie but also have to use the system themselves when someone calls. I also deployed an online study with UserZoom; online unmoderated studies are often conducted by designers to leave heavier lifts for the UX research department.

The cycle of iterate and test, iterate and test brought us to a set of sprint-ready designs for our first MVP. As part of our MVP I’m also conducting a content audit of the current experience to see where we can make changes quickly to reduce error and call volume.

Our ‘North star” includes moving into a design framework that’s still being rolled out.

Future designs will move the “Beneficiaries” experience into a person-centric “Relationships” experience to help a user see the variety of roles their loved ones play across accounts and business units.