Full UCD Process for a Financial Company

In 2013, we worked on a project for a large national financial company that did insurance, employee benefits, investments, and a number of other related things. The client was a huge company, 18 stakeholders from different departments, all sure their department was the most important at the company and therefore needed the most play on every web page.

This was a complete website redo in every area you can imagine. Ptype CEO Debbie Levitt was the only UX practitioner the agency brought in so all of the work was hers.

Ultimately, everything user-tested well. She even had 18 stakeholders fighting less and loving the other agency more. After a six-month project that required commuting to Lincoln, Nebraska, we delivered all the finalized files. The website has since been redesigned again (by an unknown party).

Some of the Process and Deliverables

UX Research and Personas

Debbie started with competitive analyses and then user research and personas. They wouldn’t let her speak to customers, so she spoke to 30 customer service reps and registered insurance agents.

She created six personas representing customers, agents, HR plan admins, and potential employees.


As there is a limit of six personas (standard best practice), sometimes you write scenarios to account for behavioral differences you didn’t want represented in personas.

Based on input from the client that some of their agents are lifelong and some are just now transitioning into the job, Debbie wrote three scenarios for the “Tom” persona (insurance agent).

1) He is a lifelong agent of this company.
2) He is an agent but not yet representing this company or its products.
3) He is a math teacher thinking of transitioning to being an insurance agent.


This is just part of the huge sitemap this website required. With so many insurance, annuity, and other offerings to end users and HR admins, plus all of the typical “find a provider” pages, the sitemap was a bear. 18 stakeholders were on edge about where their pages and sections would end up.

The color represented which department would be responsible for the content on that page. As the website would be made of templates in a CMS, the number in the circle represented which template this page would use.

Content Map

The sitemap didn’t communicate granularly enough where information would end up. Debbie created a very simple content map showing each section, the sub-pages, and where stakeholders could expect their information to end up.

Annotated Template Wireframes

Debbie created annotated, medium-fidelity wireframes of each of the page templates she had defined.

Entire Site as a Click-Through Prototype

The client had a hard time visualizing the templates combined with their content. Using a lot of Lorem Ipsum and placeholders, Debbie created a click-through Axure prototype with nearly 170 web pages, representing nearly the entire new website.