Boris is a product designer and researcher working the San Francisco Bay Area


Delta Dental-AARP : Shopping Experience Redesign

research / strategy / wireframes / experience design


The Problem

Delta Dental has a very successful group insurance business. Their individual insurance business on the other hand was struggling to meet sales goals. The online shopping experience responsible for selling insurance to individual buyers, measured poorly across multiple KPI's;  problems included low conversion rate, high task flow variation, and a low NPS score. 

The root of the problem was that individual customers online were not given the same guidance that group customers are from their group providers. In the absence of this guidance users were not able to understand the complex information needed in order to effectively compare plans and build the necessary trust and confidence to make a purchasing decision. 

The previous shopping experience was contained on this single page where users were expected to shop and make a decision right away.  This design performed very poorly across all KPI's and user feedback highlighted lack of transparency, guidance, and trust. 

"Your website and dishonest pricing gimmicks is a perfect example of why insurance companies are truly evil!!"

My Role

I joined the Delta Dental CX group as a lead product designer for the online shopping team. 
I was responsible for:

  • Conducting research research to uncover why the online experience was failing to meet goals. 
  • Refining a design strategy for an improved online shopping flow through ideation sessions and wire framing. 
  • Sharing out and operationalizing the new design strategy to executives and the greater product teams through workshops and presentations. 
  • Crafting high fidelity designs in Sketch and prepping them for production via Invision and Zeplin. 

Customer Insight

To understand the cause of high abandonment in the online shopping experience I conducted a contextual inquiry into how customers shop for insurance on and offline. 

I found that when shopping for insurance offline, customers were able to build a far greater sense of trust and reliability that was totally missing in the online experience. 

Personal conversations with coworkers, brokers, and HR managers served to guide customers through complex insurance information to a confident purchasing decision.


Using the insights I uncovered through research I was able to define a design strategy that focused on 3 key points for the experience. 

  1.  Sell relationships, NOT products:  Customers should see Delta Dental as a trusted source of insurance wisdom instead of just an online shop.  They will return next time they need to buy insurance if Delta is that trusted source.  This principle drove a large scale rework of the written copy to be more educational with a warmer and more personal tone.  

  2. Focus on purpose, NOT price: Guide customers to a purchasing decision by speaking to their needs instead of focusing on numbers. Customers are willing to pay for quality peace of mind when it comes to health, and that is the essence of insurance.  Using this principle, the new design highlighted which needs the different insurance plans served best. 

  3. Offer recommendations, NOT options. Having tons of options can be overwhelming, especially with products as complex as insurance. Our job was to simply the shopping process and let users find the right option for them, not give them a list of every possibility.  We used this principle to progressively reveal complex plan details based on customers selections, not all at once.

This is the core of the new online shopping flow I designed for the Delta Dental / AARP partnership.  This flow focuses on showcasing the different types of insurance plans Delta offers. Plans are shown by category and their individual strengths and weakness are highlighted, allowing customers to see at a glance which plan addresses their specific needs.    


The release of the first iteration of the redesign was very successful, seeing an increase across all major KPI's that were targeted for improvement.  

  • Conversion rose by 2 points across both the shopping and the following buying experience.
  • User satisfaction surveys showed an average 1 point increase in NPS score. 
  • The redesign brought attention to the CX department and was featured in a company newsletter. 

Challenges and Future Iterations

While the redesign was a success there were challenges throughout the process. Working on a time constrained agile schedule allowed us to release only the simplest of MVP's initially. Future iterations will include developing out more fully some of the principles set out for the project.