Usability Testing of Designs Against User Expectations

Customer expectations - Comparative review - Design optimisation


A major insurer was developing an online tool that allowed customers to specify the type and location of damage to their vehicle following a motor incident, as part of making an online insurance claim. There was considerable internal disagreement over the best way to implement this.


We conducted two focus groups with customers of the insurer who had recently been involved in a minor car accident. Four different models of how the damage to a vehicle could be specified were mocked-up, essentially with plan and elevation views and offering different levels of detail.  Users were given a series of pre-determined scenarios for an incident in which they had to specify vehicle damage. The four models were presented in randomised order and users rated each on a range of criteria, followed by group discussion.


One particular model was a clear favourite with all users, and it was one that actually offered them the ability to specify the most detail about the location and type of damage to their vehicles. This was a surprise to the development team, many of who believed a simpler version would prevail. It appears that customers want to be precise and detailed when making a claim, particularly as they think the level of detail might somehow affect the assessment of that claim. The sessions gave the developers a clear choice and some of the features of less-favoured models were also included in a final version.