I helped develop consensus between four different business units and their existing websites by designing a modular and unified website experience.
Trustmark, an employee benefits company, wanted to unify its customer experience. It was fragmented across four websites corresponding to four business units.
Each of Trustmark’s business units differed in their approach to employee benefits. They structured their benefits differently, described them using different language and often addressed their audiences differently.
Much of the repeat traffic users to the business unit websites came to access tools and resources as part of their workflows. Minimizing disruption of these workflows and wayfinding was an important consideration.
As one of two UX designers in the team, I conducted research, designed and prototyped the Sitemap, Navigation framework, and several key Landing and Detail Pages. I also built and maintained our Design Delivery Portal.
- Conceptual Design
- Detailed Design
The major challenge was developing consensus between the business units while maintaining consistency in the experience and brand, minimizing workflow disruptions and also expressing the individuality of each business unit.
Starting with an all-day workshop to kickstart consensus building, we iterated on conceptual and detailed design prototypes over six sprints, finally delivering a flexible IA and Navigation system and a modular design system.
Phase 1Research & Analysis
Phase 2Conceptual Design
Phase 3Detailed Design
Understanding the Service
Using what we’d learnt during the content audit and interviews, I created and ran a card sorting exercise to collectively organize products and product categories.
We learned immediately that there was limited appetite in bringing the products together across business units.
We quickly pivoted to use the card sorting exercise to more clearly define products, product categories and product features within each of the business units.
Using input from the interviews with the primary stakeholders, the content audit, competitor analyses and surveys revealed the primary audiences for the Trustmark website to be:
- Distribution Partners (aka Broker, MGA)
I created a series of scenarios which exemplified the needs of the above users, tying their needs back to features of the website.
We discovered that the business units were apprehensive about losing their identities and approaches in a single unified experience. We helped them find common ground by aligning on user needs and scenarios.
The varied product organization strategies and product descriptions used by the four business units were both confusing and inaccessible to lay consumers (Individuals and Employers especially). In order to bring consistency across business units and greater accessibility to the products themselves, I, in collaboration with the team, proposed several alternative product taxonomies to encourage them to think about how their products could coexist.
We learned through this exercise that the organization was just not ready for this level of change.
Understanding this, we mitigated these issues through the use of smaller product organization changes, user-focused navigation to set appropriate context, content templates for product organization, etc.
The merging of the four business units combined with the change in their names would result in the disruption in the workflows of many people. Ensuring that these people would be able to accomplish their tasks was a primary consideration in the design of the navigation system.
In the navigation menu, I provided a direct path for those who are looking for a specific business unit. In addition, audience-type navigation paths revealed landing pages and resources that would be customized for that audience type.
The homepage serves both as an introduction to Trustmark as a single entity, and as the navigational starting point for any visitor. I presented two homepage designs:
- Explore - a page that offered several navigation choices and allowed the user to choose their own path
- Guided - a page that offered a user-type choice and used that to guide the user to content customized for them
The final homepage combined ideas from both these options. We surfaced business unit navigation in the homepage and moved the guided, user-type navigation to the site navigation bar.
Organizational constraints prevented us from radically changing the product portfolio. However, we were able to counterbalance this by using user-focused navigation and standardized but flexible content templates to bring consistency and understandability across the diversity of products to be showcased.
The Landing Pages were crucial to each of the business units to communicate their particular individuality. They also needed to surface different information for each audience type.
In order to balance this need for individuality while not sacrificing consistent architecture, we designed these pages to be flexible and modular. The templates provided basic navigational and content-structure scaffolding, allowing the rest of the space to be customized per each business unit’s desire. The components we designed allowed for flexibility and variety of page styles.
Rather than deliver a set of static PDFs, we delivered our work using a Design Delivery Portal.
I created and maintained the Design Delivery Portal which combined team and project background, with all our detailed design documentation along with a cross-linked component library.
While relatively simple from a straight design perspective, offered many lessons in working within business constraints, while still focusing on the user experience. Furthermore, I learnt a great deal about how design, and design process could help develop consensus between disparate powers (in an organization), and how it can help manage fear of change within an organization.
The detailed design of the website was succesfully completed and handed over to the client. It was built using AEM and has just launched.