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UI, EMAIL, & PROCESS UPDATES

CONTEXT 

Background: A nonprofit that facilitates the sharing of more than $30,000,000 in medical expenses per month launched a UI featuring online bill submissions around 2015. It had never been prioritized for updating.

Problem: Bill validators were frustrated with the limitations of their primary tool, while members endured excessive and unclear communications about their bills. The system limitations created the need for complicated, redundant workflows that led to costly inefficiencies across internal and external user experiences.

 

Objective: Bill validators needed the ability to select accurate reasons for rejecting bills. External users needed to receive accurate and appropriate messaging about the status of their bills. Call center staff needed to be freed to serve members more effectively and efficiently.

What I did: Significantly influencing
 the project's overall trajectory and velocity, I collaborated with business leaders, PMs, engineers, designers, and BI in requirements gathering, implementation, UAT planning, troubleshooting, and QA testing of user flows, API emails, and UI changes. I also partnered with Call Center and training leadership to aid in the implementation of related process changes.

I used Lucidchart to illustrate to leaders the pain points and costly inefficiencies.

process map prior to staff and member UI changes

TIMELINE

This project lasted 23 months from the time I began researching the problems to project completion. The amount of time this project took reflects the resource constraints nonprofits commonly face, a global pandemic and resulting prioritization strains in a healthcare setting, and business requirements that necessitated a broader scope to the project than leadership originally expected.

frustrated person at laptop

Staff and members were
constantly frustrated by the confusion and inefficiencies.

STARTING OFF

  • On my own, I conducted informal one-on-one generative conversations with internal users.
     

  • I collected qualitative data from direct external user feedback (member-initiated emails, member responses to confusing automated emails, call center interaction notes, and complaints), allowing me to empathize with each person involved (staff-side and member-side).
     

  • Over time, I studied the quantity of automated and call center staff emails we sent daily, weekly, and monthly.
     

  • As an SME, I understood the issue on both micro and macro levels and provided insight to the team based on this knowledge for the duration of the project, from initiation to closing.

CHALLENGES

  • What leaders originally thought would only be internal tooling changes and updated email content necessitated UI updates that would coincide with email notifications. 

  • With the global pandemic in full swing, priorities for nonprofits remained a tough balancing act, lengthening the time to project completion. This project was no exception to that.
     

  • Prioritizing clear communications while following legal constraints regarding PII and PHI required ingenuity.
     

  • Translating some requirements from a functional group to engineers where the terminology was easily misaligned required additional patience, active listening, and clarity in communication.
     

  • Testing limitations required several days of tedious manual testing.

interim explanation email

We had to initiate some interim process changes while the cross-functional project team was spread thin due to the pandemic and common nonprofit constraints. It was not at all ideal, but it was still an improvement.

Requirements gathering

Aligning on requirements was a cross-functional effort.

CONTENT STRATEGY

One unique challenge for me was in convincing the team to change how we approached the language of the problem itself. Members were being sent alarming "Problem Alerts" for issues that many times were not actually problems. Additionally, the same vague email was used at totally different phases of the bill's lifecycle in the system, leading to complex layers of confusion for members and staff.

 

Referring to bills that had to be rejected as "submission errors" allowed us to begin differentiating this issue from other problems with the bill that could arise later. It also reduced user anxiety significantly.

 

The change allowed us to better quantify the number of bills rejected by validators, which in turn would allow us a better stage from which to make iterative improvements further down the road.

old bill problem email

Before: vague and frequently wrong information caused unneccesary alarm for users.

new bill problem email

After: Clear explanation, details user needs to understand the issue, improved CTA.

Hover to pause

outgoing email trends presentation cover

MEASURING RESULTS

Addressing this multi-dimensional issue resulted in the reduction of confusing and redundant touchpoints with members by tens of thousands per month.
 

  • Qualitative-focused follow-up conversations with internal users and call center leaders
     

  • Quantitative data from our automated email service over a period of several weeks following the changes
     

  • Quantitative and qualitative data from CRM regarding contacts made about this issue following the changes.

  • What are user expectations when onboarding with a complex developer tool, whether they use it for work or personal projects?
     

  • Where are users experiencing confusion?
     

  • How do new-to-platform users interpret the terminology we use in the onboarding flow and within the UI? Are these intuitive, too abstract, or misaligned with their mental models?
     

  • Where are users getting stuck? How do they find help? At what point do they give up?
     

  • Where are the moments of delight?

"We've been waiting 7.5 years for this! I'm almost in tears. Thank you!" 

Bill Validator

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