The client

RSA Digital was the in-house design team of Royal Sun Alliance, an insurance company that has major operations in the UK and Ireland, Scandinavia and Canada. RSA Digital create and maintain digital products for insurance providers in more than 100 countries.


The creation of an insurance product that was designed 100% from the users perspective. Reviewing how users’ data is collected, why this information is needed and how to structure a product to supply the correct insurance protection when needed most.

My role

As Lead Product/UX Designer on the project, I was responsible for questioning every aspect of home insurance products. This included what makes up the products and what technologies were being used. We wanted to challenge what had become the industry norm and to push the boundaries of what was possible. To help achieve this we applied the essential Pillars of Design Thinking to our process.

  • Empathy — Understanding the needs of those you’re designing for
  • Ideation — Generating ideas
  • Experimentation — Testing those ideas with prototyping

I utilised UX methodologies to explain and guide decision making. This included, but was not limited to:

  • Competitor analysis
  • Exploring influences from outside of the insurance world
  • Card sorts
  • Surveys
  • User interviews
  • Customer Journey mapping
  • Information Architecture (IA)
  • Prototyping

The challenges

With an open brief, there is a temptation to dream big. However, we needed to make sure not to lose sight of the key requirement, creating a product that could actually work and be legally compliant.

The project was sponsored by the head of design and head of digital. However, with team members already juggling multiple projects that could not be impacted, time management was going to be a big challenge. We needed to create a project roadmap enabling us to combine ideas and research wherever possible and to deliver the requirements.

Due to constraints, face to face access with the target audience was always going to be difficult. With little or no time to recruit and minimal budget, we needed to use other ways of testing ideas and gather insights.

The process

With a project that has minimal limits, one of the most important things we needed to do was to define the strategy. What was the vision for the product and what were achievable goals? This would help direct us to the desired outcome: the ultimate user experience.

Competitors analysis results

To help gain an understanding of what we were trying to build and why I scheduled a kickoff meeting. The kick off brought all the key players together to set expectations for both the team and stakeholders. We covered a high-level outline of the product’s purpose and what the stakeholders’ expectations were, such as timescales, what we would be delivering and what success would look like.

Card sort results

The next stage was to define the product’s journey. We used a simple technique ‘Working backwards’ to plan the route toward the desired outcome. We started with the target market and worked our way back until we got to the minimum set of requirements to satisfy what we were trying to achieve.

Storyboards sketches

Once the product vision and strategy was defined, we started product research, which naturally includes user and market research. We used online questionnaires, using open-ended questions and card sorts to gain qualitative information. We added this information with analytics and understandings we already knew for a more detailed analysis.

Ideation workshop for progress bars

For competitive research, we gathered a comprehensive analysis of competitor products and grouped the results in a comparable way. We looked at direct and indirect competitors. During this time I also looked outside of the industry (e-commerce) to gain further knowledge on product structure and presentation.

I then started ideation by brainstorming on a range of creative ideas that addressed the project goals. Using techniques including sketching, user journey mapping for visualising concepts and the overall interactions with a product and job stories (from jobs-to-be-done) to define a problem without being prescriptive of a solution.


During this phase, it was critical not only to generate ideas but also to confirm that the most important design assumptions were valid. To do this, we ran a series of workshops using techniques from design sprints. Once concepts were created we turned these into wireframes as a visual guide to represent page structure, as well as its hierarchy and key elements. The wireframes were then used to discuss ideas with the wider design team and stakeholders, and to assist the work on the visual designs.

Usability testing

After the ideation phase, we had a clear understanding of what we were creating and it was time to start prototyping. Starting small, we designed a few core screens of the product, making iterations as required. To test the product and gather validation we undertook guerrilla testing. This ensured that the design concept worked as intended. Due to constraints, we conducted testing on the product using resources we already had.

Picture of the affinity mapping taking place from the usability testing High fidelity table design

The outcomes

Throughout this project, we constantly pushed boundaries and ways of working in order to gain knowledge and improve our methods. Using online remote tools, such as Optimal Workshop, gave us the ability to test and gain insights quickly. This allowed us to showcase results in design reviews to our stakeholders, eventually giving the design team wider access to online remote tools. It also increased the team’s ability to test theories.

During the research, we looked into Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to see what data already existed. By using an API we could reduce the question set and therefore the load on the user. For example, by inputting an address we could gather information about the property, (number of bedrooms and bathrooms etc) — the users just needed to confirm this information rather than enter it. This enabled us to design a journey that was like telling a story and used written language in a friendly and easily understood way.

Desktop high fidelity designs

The downside to our lean approach was the lack of direct interaction with users during usability testing. Putting the prototype into a formal lab session would have helped us to gain further insights and buy-in from other stakeholders. With more time it would have been exciting to explore Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) in greater depth, which could possibly help discover a way to reduce the cognitive load and to push data capture away from the norm, a simple online form.

Overall, Blue Sky was a great success. The designs were used as a starting point to help the company win a large contract with a new brand. The overall approach and learnings were then adopted and used as part of an ongoing transformation project, saving both time and money.

Mobile high fidelity designs


“Dickon is a unicorn. He's a hugely talented designer that can move between high level strategic thinking and beautifully crafted UI. Since joining the team at RSA he has quickly had a positive impact on the team, gained a great reputation amongst his stakeholders and impressed on every level. I can highly recommend Dickon and look forward to any opportunity to work with him in the future.”

Martyn Reding, Design + Leadership

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