Braeanne Oribello

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Improving the checkout experience for Blend Insurance Agency

Product Design Intern
Jihern Baek— Mentor
Trijeet Mukhopadhyay — Manager
Amy Guo / Stanley Hsing — Product Managers
Dario Marcato — Engineering Manager
Hairol Ma — Content Designer
Victoria Rossi — UX Researcher
Anagha Krishnan / Eric Draper / Ava Geupel / Shawn Blythe — Legal + Compliance Team
Annie Wang — Brand Designer

Blend is a fintech company that champions transforming the mortgage and consumer banking industry. Their goal is to simplify and improve transparency within financial services for better access. This summer was able to witness their IPO, and was part of their premiere design intern cohort.

What I worked on

The Home Insurance product is an example of a space they are trying to improve, and my main project this summer, "Standalone Policy Checkout," is an MVP that will retarget consumers who may have dropped off in the existing workflow.

I also had the opportunity to take part in initiatives within their Design Systems, optimize for engagement for Blend Insurance Agency, and participate in their annual hackathon.

My responsibilities

— Collaborate and implement feedback from cross-functional partners
— Design multiple iterations of the mockups to optimize the visual design
— Develop and discuss the product strategy alongside product managers

The problem
Increase policy acceptance rates

How might we retarget consumers who have previously opted-in to see insurance options with Blend Insurance Agency, but didn’t follow through with accepting a policy?

Final designs
From email to checkout

Email is the main method of communication to retarget the consumer back into the funnel, introducing an insurance quote chosen by an agent.

We then take the consumer to a Standalone Webapp to review the quote, and confirm any assumptions made while preparing the quote.

We end off with informing the user of their next steps to complete the process of accepting this home insurance policy.

Why is this important for Blend?
As a B2B2C,

a majority of Blend's products currently live within the lenders' platform. With retargeting consumers, we also wanted to learn about how we could create touch points with the consumer, across Blend's different services, beyond the lenders' platform.

Product strategy
Breaking down information

The first step was deciding how we could balance the cognitive load for the consumer, and lay down the information we are including to receive Security clearance.

I utilized sketches to test information hierarchy, leading us to develop a format that allows the consumer to move through each step in isolation for reduced cognitive load.

User research
Informing content design and user flow

To gain insight as to what the user expectation would be throughout this workflow, and since content design played an important role in this project we wanted to be intentional about the language we used within the designs.

The process for finalizing an insurance quote requires a bit more screening from an agent, but we found 80% users expecting to purchase the policy after reviewing the quote.

This was expected since the typical mental model for a checkout experience follows this flow:

1. Choosing a product
2. Reviewing the product(s)
3. Purchasing the product

To reduce this confusion, we decided to adjust the copy to alleviate the expectations of the users:
Design iterations
Dissecting existing marketing emails
To inform the layout of the email, I looked to existing marketing emails, determining what attributes make them compelling to open.
Design iterations
Sparking curiosity
Previously, we only had the insurance carrier logo and pricing, but to provide more information and to get the consumer to start questioning what the pricing meant for their property, we expanded to include coverage details.
Design iterations
Developing trust towards Blend Insurance Agency
We also include small bios about the agent for a touch of personalization, and to let the consumer know that a real agent is going to be guiding them throughout the process.
Legal + Compliance
Keeping track of heavy regulations
Due to the heavily regulated nature of the finance industry, I ensured to keep our Legal + Compliance team in the loop after major changes. In order to provide the consumer with the same in-depth experience, it's important for us to make sure we're asking them questions that will provide them with the most optimal option we can give.
Throughout the workflow, it is important to be very unbiased since we wanted to highlight the informational aspect in order to build trust with consumers.
Revisiting product requirements
Decreasing engineering efforts
Towards the end of the project we ran into the issue that dynamic pages and increased user inputs widened the engineering scope for this MVP. The devised solution was to use one insurance carrier, rather than multiple since each insurance carrier has their own set of assumptions.
This became an opportunity to increase efficiency, since Lemonade Insurance only asks about four main assumptions from our insurance agents.
Next steps

If this MVP is proven to be successful, there are a few areas I would want to advocate the team to invest in:

1. Optimizing for personalization in the insurance quote shopping experience to allow for real-time tailoring and price adjustments based on a consumer's needs.

2. Exploring other opportunity areas and trigger points for other Blend services to increase revenue and engagement with the Blend brand.


— Processes are messy! Designing in industry is not as linear as it can be in class projects, due to the multitude of decisions made by different partners of the project.

—Don't be afraid to ask questions. It was intimidating at first to step into my first industry role, but I was fortunate to be surrounded with supportive mentors and peers who helped me achieve a successful internship.

If you'd like to know more about my experience and other projects I worked on free to connect or chat with me!

Crafted by Braeanne Oribello, 2023