Company Portal Case study

Improving Usability of the Portal and Findability of Content

Our Challenge: Redesign the legacy Portal to improve usability and increase understanding of available content using a design thinking methodology.

ROLE: Research, UI Design, UX Design

TOOLS: Paper/Pen, Miro, Figma, Webex (for concept testing)

TIMELINE: 7 weeks

TOOLS: Paper/Pen, Miro, Figma, Webex (for concept testing)

TIMELINE: 7 weeks


The Company Portal

The Portal was first launched in 2009 to facilitate access to data available to license users. Since then, classes of business have been added but the Portal has not modernized, improved user experience, or updated overall data presentation.

To provide the best possible outcome for both business and users, we employed the design thinking methodology in our redesign efforts.

Just a few of the issues to solve with this update: findability, unclear content taxonomy, and cognitive overload. Users found the portal confusing and unintuitive, and the content within the portal felt overwhelming and disorganized.


Understanding the Users Mental Model

Card sorting helped us better understand how our users categorized information, how they grouped that information, and what content, features, and services were most important to them so we could define a content hierarchy that was helpful and intuitive.


100% of participants wanted to sort by Classes and were interested in specific classes.


75% of participants thought there should be a category for Help, Learning, and Admin.


75% of participants wanted a News category, but within the context of their classes.


50% want personalization in the portal to spend less time sorting through unneeded data.

We learned how those using the portal think in terms of navigation, where they expected to find things, and what they would look for to complete a task.


Success Points

Qualitative measures will allow us to say we’re successful if we do the following…

Make the Portal more intuitive and easier to use.

Reduce the time it takes to download data visit over visit.

Provide background context on Loss Cost data.

Reduce the training time needed to navigate the portal


From Inputs to Concepts to Defined Screens

Designs evolved through several iterations of critical thinking exercises on how users could interact with, engage, filter, and download data. We ideated and sketched concepts around onboarding users to personalizing their experience and reduce cognitive load; and landed on a concept we were ready to design in Figma.


Creating a clickable concept to test hypotheses

Hopefully the updates eliminated pain-points found in our brief discovery. We would see if these new designs proved helpful:

A way to personalize the classes/Lines of Business in which they work.

Alerts when new data is available on the portal, eliminating a manual search through data sets for updates.

Provide users contextual content such as updates, articles, and help – all centrally located – while doing their tasks.

Provide the Company Wording, a big reason for accessing the portal, pinned within a widget for easy access.


The prototype was tested on Actuaries

Our hypotheses and designs were tested on current users of portal. We tested 3 scenarios, documenting how intuitive and easy the tasks were to complete.

Scenario 1: Onboarding

Onboarding proved to be one of the biggest issues—every participant had trouble completing this task. Some weren’t aware they were being onboarded; others were distracted by other choices within the interface.

Adding an onboarding modal effectively removed all other choices, focusing participants on the task at hand. The screenshots on the right show this update.

"I really liked the ability to have user preferences, that seems so obvious now."

— Actuary

Scenario 2: Centralized Relevant Data

All participants wanted related data and definitions in a centralized area and voiced a desire for supporting documents and data on the same page, saving them a substantial amount of time on task while make their jobs easier. The first designs helped, but testing showed they needed improvement.

Updates, provided supporting documents based on the filter in the right rail, as well as modals for settings and assumptions and factors, without having to leave the page they’re working in.

"If I'm looking at a specific class of business, the more I can find about that class – links, a related Circular, a video, or the wording – the more I can find in that page the better."


Scenario 3: Notifying Users

Surfacing updated data was one of our goals from the ideating sessions.

Our original design alerted people to updates, but testing showed 80% of participants weren’t aware they were viewing new or updated data.

In the screenshots on the right, you can see the update puts that information front and center. We modified the tables and related data, making updated data more prominent and easier to access.

"There's confusion in knowing which states are updated. Currently we download the entire data set and compare manually."

— Actuary

Additional outcomes and results

We learned other things when testing our designs

100% of participants said the portal looks more modern and was more user friendly

100% were able to reset filters to get data from other classes after the initial choices were made.

100% of participants were aware of and able to toggle between the map view and the table view of the data.

60% wanted to see examples of the data in use, to ensure correct usage.

"A worked example would be very, very useful just to ensure the user is interpreting the use-case in the right way."

— Actuary

Final thoughts

Additional Recommendations and Future Research

The portal was built years ago, and updates to the UX and UI happened rarely. The changes we propose for this iteration of the product will improve usability, but much more needs to be done to bring the Portal up to current expectations modern users of digital products. Below are some recommendations for future iterations.

Test all Users

Understand the needs of all people using the portal

Jobs To Be Done

Speak to and test on different job functions

Comparative Analysis

Provide a way to compare data sets in the portal.