A screenshot of a UX Insights box from a recent CI update
UX Insights Box

CI recently began including more insights from our in-house UX research team into our subscription research. If you are a subscriber, you may have noticed these green UX Insights boxes in some of our updates and reports.

One trend we’ve noticed so far in our UX Insights: Across the 19 industries we cover, firms do best when they remain mindful of their audience.

Below are just three recent cross-industry UX insights that highlight best practices applicable to any firm.

Tip 1: Avoid industry jargon . . . even if it doesn’t seem like jargon

Firms shouldn’t expert users to be industry experts. This example, from our latest Medicare Monitor report on mail-order prescriptions, serves as a reminder that one person’s vernacular is another person’s jargon.

Two common sources of confusion we found when user testing these prescription platforms both related to industry language:

    1. Drug names – Users struggled to find generic options when platforms lacked any cross-labeling. Brand names (Ambien, Flonase, Glucophage, Prilosec) are often more memorable than their generic counterparts (zolpidem, fluticasone, metformin, omeprazole). Without any assistance from the platform, users grew confused as to which generics aligned with which brand names. Firms best serve users when all options are outlined together. CVS Caremark, for example, compares the cost of the brand name, generic and therapeutic alternatives on the same page.
This screenshot shows how CVS Caremark compares the cost of the brand name, generic, and therapeutic alternatives.
CVS Caremark Drug Cost and Coverage Comparison Page
  1. Healthcare terms – Even common healthcare terms can cause confusion for users. For example, many users in our testing found the term “prescriber” confusing. Users assumed that they, as they person ordering the prescription, were the prescriber.

Even common industry terms can potentially be confusing. What passes for common knowledge for a 30-year-old healthcare platform designer will differ greatly from common knowledge for a 70-year-old Medicare member who uses a platform four times a year to reorder prescription medication. Platforms should use language with which users will be familiar.

Tip 2: Offer customization options to experienced users

Customization options are valuable, but only to certain users.

CI’s Mobile Monitor team recently noted that TD Ameritrade added a customizable dashboard screen to its thinkorswim trading app. The new dashboard allows users to select widgets to display (options include market updates, available funds, impending orders, and chatrooms, to name a few), customize what’s displayed within certain account widgets, and even set the new dashboard screen as the app’s homescreen.

This screenshot shows TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim App's customization options across three screenshots.
TD Ameritrade thinkorswim App – Dashboard Customization Options

Customization options can be a risk. Options that one user finds valuable may confuse or distract another. New users can quickly become overwhelmed. But CI’s UX Team liked this customization update from TD, noting:

Novice users generally do not prioritize—or even notice—customizability features, so it is not uncommon for these features to go unused. TD thinkorswim, however, is designed for more advanced traders who will likely benefit from features that enable them to optimize their dashboard with information they need for trading.

Customization options work best when offered to experienced users.

Tip 3: Be mindful of your audience’s screen

The final tip from our cross-industry UX insights comes from our P&C insurance vertical, which recently broke down GEICO’s new mobile-first navigation design. In the redesigned navigation, GEICO moved its menu link to the top right corner.

As our UX Team notes:

While GEICO’s entire site is designed and optimized for viewing on a mobile device, this design choice has the potential to disorient and confuse prospects who access the public site on a desktop. Customers accustomed to a left-orientated menu may take longer to adjust to opening the menu on the right side of the page. We have not specifically asked user testers which side they prefer for hamburger-style menus, but typically we see them look to the left side for the menu icon.

GEICO may be looking to the future with this design choice. Mobile usage continues to outpace desktop traffic, a trend that shows no sign of stopping. And while desktops remain responsible for 36% of visits to U.S. websites, GEICO may have data that indicates its users are even more likely to use mobile devices, perhaps informing this choice.

Such design choices should cater to the audience’s expectations, and firms do best when they know what those expectations are. When it comes to customization, language, or even menu placement, firms should put their users first.

See more Insights here. And for more about CI’s UX Research Services, see here.