Blue Shield
Client: Blue Shield of California
Industry: Health Care
Type of project: Website redesign
Design Challenge: Blue Shield of California (BSC) had three Medicare-related websites, each catering to Medicare audiences with slightly different needs. Making things messier, each site had navigation linking to the other sites, causing confusion among users. BSC asked us to untangle this part of their digital ecosystem and create a single Medicare website to serve all their audiences and campaigns.

“… catering to Medicare audiences…”

Sounds straightforward enough on the surface, but the real challenges were:
1. Designing for audiences aging into Medicare (65+), ensuring everything from the IA to the icons we used was intuitive and worked for this audience; and
2. Creating a site using dynamic content that would adapt to audience needs.

Our game plan

We created a unified Medicare site that worked across BSC’s audience segments and allowed the company to more clearly and effectively communicate with them on the site and through other campaigns.

First, we made sense of the different websites in the Blue Shield ecosystem. We analyzed the sites’ individual goals, what audiences they served, and how relevant each piece of content still was. Then, we identified the overlapping areas among the sites, identified what needed to remain unique, and crafted a single site that didn’t leave any audience feeling abandoned while serving the current business needs (e.g., supporting an ongoing campaign, getting sign-ups, directing people to call a number, etc.) and getting people where they needed to go.

Design strategy

We took a systems approach to handling a complex series of business needs and user goals. This fed into BSC’s digital roadmap and provided multiple business units a clear vision for how their work could be unified in a simple but effective user experience.

Turns out, as people change, websites need to change, too, to keep up with them. Each part of a digital ecosystem reflects the business’s needs at the moment it was created. Over time, those needs evolve, leaving multiple sites or pieces of content behind. So you need a systems approach to managing an ecosystem. It’s a top-down process that, once in place, can still grow organically—but logically, too. If you don’t have that systems thinking approach, you can easily end up with a collection of websites competing with one another and providing a fragmented experience that turns off users.

What we did

Circle

Discovery

Stakeholder interviews
Content audit

We faced several challenges with the existing sites:

  1. BSC didn’t have a clear picture of how the various sites interacted with one another.
  2. In some cases, existing sites had not been updated or reviewed in several months.
  3. Each site had its own set of stakeholders with its own set of campaign needs.
Circle

Design

Information architecture
User flows
Wireframes

Circle

Research

Planning
Recruiting
Moderation
Analysis

We also faced constraints—namely, we could only do one round of research before launching the new design as we had to get the new site launched before open enrollment.

Circle

Design
iteration

Information architecture
Wireframes

Fortunately, the team worked collaboratively, with the agency team providing the high-fidelity visual designs to sync with the campaign work and allowing us to focus on the IA, flow, wireframes, and research.

Deliverable summary

How we worked together

We collaborated closely with the agency visual design team, providing the grounding and rationale behind every design aspect and giving them the creative space to bring it to life in ways that synchronized with the brand work.

In addition to design, we provided end-to-end research services, traveling to LA to conduct a live study and share insights with the client and agency teams in person.

We were unified throughout with the agency and client teams, owning the design challenge by gathering all stakeholder requirements, suggesting ways we could pressure-test the design decisions and be transparent with what we learned, and guiding the team to even better designs.

In a nutshell

The original ask was for a website redesign where we could clean things up and improve the experience — but we ended up delivering not just a new website, but also a nuanced understanding of BSC’s Medicare audiences and stakeholder needs, as well as a roadmap to eliminate the gap between them.

We not only loved empowering the client with the tactical design solutions to make their work have the impact they wanted, but we also really enjoyed giving them the platform to serve the unique differences in their audiences with a single dynamic site that adapts content to keep the experience feeling tailored and relevant. We also gave the agency design team firsthand knowledge of designing for aging audiences which they could apply to subsequent projects.  

What we created

Blue Shield

One-on-one interviews with key project stakeholders to understand the story behind the requirements and dive deeper into the data.

Stakeholder interviews

Blue Shield

Cataloging and analyzing existing content to use as a worksheet to understand what content needs to stay, be edited, or be removed.

Content audit

Blue Shield

A structure for the new design that ensures every piece of content and functionality has a logical home that can scale as needs grow.

Information architecture

Blue Shield

Diagrams including the step-by-step experience users take through the design, articulating key interactions and user goals.

User flows

Blue Shield

The user interface blueprints for the design, representing UI elements, their hierarchy, and their behaviors.

Wireframes

Blue Shield

Interactive designs that simulate what the finished experience will be like, including user interface interactions, content, and behaviors.

Prototypes

Blue Shield

A research method to test the design’s performance with actual users who give verbal and behavioral feedback. This includes everything from the research plan, recruiting, moderation, and analysis and recommendations to make the design even better for users.

Usability testing

Blue Shield

Space to make the design even better. We address issues uncovered by research data and new creative ideas sparked by research participants.

Design iteration

Reach out and say, “Hello!”