Purple Ant

Demystifying Life Insurance in one swipe.


About the Project 


Purple Ant is an IoT-based SaaS platform that ingests, normalizes, aggregates, and integrates data from different sensors.

The business will be expanding into the life insurance sector and needs to better understand the space and users to properly understand the value proposition and how to position themselves.


How Might We...

Determine the viability of expanding the current business from "smart home sensor technology" into the life & disability insurance sector while incorporating a "B2B2C" model.


Produce A Market Research Report that validates the opportunity space and defines who the customer is & their needs.

Prioritizing the growing business needs by presenting a solution based on multiple ideas and concepts to produce an initial prototype.

What I Did

As the main UX/UI designer on a team of 4, I was involved in all phases of the project.


UX Research

  • Domain Research
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Initial User Interviews
  • Synthesize Research

UX Design

  • Stakeholder Contact
  • Workshop Facilitator
  • Data Strategist
  • Ideation
  • Concept Sketching
  • Concept Wireframes
  • Prototyping in Figma
  • Concept Testing & Usability Testing


  • Zoom
  • Otter.ai
  • Mural 
  • Figma


I chose to follow the Human-Centered Design Process.  It starts with the people you're designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their needs and help validate decision making. 

DISCOVERY - Learning, Understanding, Researching, Stakeholder Alignment, Kickoff Meetings

DEFINE - Gain Insights & Define the Problem

DEVELOP - Develop Possible Ideas & Concepts. Rapid Iterating.

DELIVER - Prototyping & Testing. Continuously Improving & Optimizing



Market Trends

Exploratory Research was conducted to discover new and emerging industry trends, take a pulse check on the market landscape, leverage insights found in existing research.

  • Emerging Markets: Gig Workers & Millenials (the who)
  • Increase in User Expectations: Simplicity & Self Service Options (what the who expect)
  • About 50% of all Americans currently hold a Life Insurance Policy (shows the size of the market)
  • Increased Concern: Secure Infomation & Data Sharing / Manipulation (a motivation or motive)

Analyze Competition

This competitive analysis helped as an aid to present different companies involved in Insurance and Consumer Technology that collect data to monitor and predict user wants and needs.

Direct & Indirect competitors highlighted the strengths and opportunities of the current market offerings.

  • All competitors are dedicated to superior customer service.
  • Share the goal of transparency with their brand and products.
  • Give more flexibility and personalization to individuals.
  • Provide “All in One” or “Centralized” platforms.
  • Use technology to increase user confidence & inclusivity.

Initial User Interviews

We interviewed a total of 10 individuals.

This was a mix of Insurance Agents, Industry Professionals, and Policyholders. The interviews would highlight user thoughts, pain points, and processes to properly discover areas of improvement. 


“Most people just don't know how much insurance they actually need. People are extremely underinsured from life insurance and long term care.”


Franchise Owner Ameriprise


“My insurance company is horrendous. They have changed hands 3 or 4 times. They don't even know what payments I’ve made. I have to go back and show proof.
It doesn't make me feel comfortable. 
How do I know they are taking care of what they need to as well as managing my money correctly?


Life Insurance Policyholder


“... People are starting to obtain more coverage than what they had in the past, even if it's not what they want... at least they have something in place.
Since COVID-19 more people are open to chatting with me...”


Northwestern Agent

Research Insights

The qualitative and quantitative research results directed us to a: 

Business to Consumer instead of Business to Business to Consumer. 

A B2C platform improves the education and transparency between life insurance companies and policyholders (current and prospecting).

Summary of  Takeaways from Insights:

  • Current Events, like COVID-19, increase the need for future planning.
  • Policyholders lack understanding of life insurance policies.
  • Users are interested in sharing wearable data.
  • Data security is a concern.
  • Customers don't trust life insurance companies.
  • Focus on B2C - Current Policyholders and Prospective Users, First!



We created two personas that embodied the users from our research:

Ayana and John

The primary persona, Ayana, is proactive in planning her future. John wants change. but is more likely to conform and doesn't challenge the status quo.


Empathy Map

Moving forward with Ayana.

Her thoughts and actions will help to better assess and design a solution for the target user's needs. This can then evolve into an adaptable option for someone like John.



Current and prospective life insurance policyholders who are

willing to share personal data need a platform through which

they can manage/modify their insurance plans and

control the data they are sharing because

transparency and accessibility to their plans would build trust in the organization.


Second User Interviews - Concept Testing


Design & Test 4 Concepts, to explore for the stakeholder and help prioritize ideas.

Concepts & Ideas helped to scope possible solutions even further to focus on one problem.

The Goal is to Produce:

One Converged Concept, Low-Fi Wireframes, and a Clickable Prototype.


Refine the Scope from Concept Testing

Concept testing was a valuable tool to determine the product/market fit. By asking participants what they think about the different concepts, it mitigates the risk of moving forward with an idea falls flat on user expectations.

Certain solutions were not feasible based on the constraints of the project, while others like a familiar fitness watch visual proved to not be useful.


CONCEPT A - Familiar Fitness Interface.

CONCEPT B - Calendar Feature, Transparent, Easy Onboarding 

CONCEPT C - Dashboard, Manage/Share Options, Centralized

CONCEPT D - Timeline, Guided Information, Estimator tool



CONCEPT A - Too similar to a fitness tracker

CONCEPT B - No option to research, view plans, compare prices

CONCEPT C - No explanation of why sharing data. What Benefits?

CONCEPT D - Uncomfortable with data requests. Context issues 


Synthesizing the data from Concept Testing, kept the project focused on the main objective, and even helped prioritize the vision for a Minimum Viable Porotype.

Takeaways Gathered

  • 100% of Test Participants varied in what they were comfortable sharing.
  • When Test Participants feel a product has made an attempt to educate them, they feel more confident.
  • Concepts A & C focused on fitness metrics that were out of scope based on the Participant's understanding of the goal.
  • In Concept D, Participants valued context and education around how data will be used.
  • Concept A - fitness familiar but not engaging.
  • Concept B - straightforward but not customizable.
  • Concept C - the best "All in One" of sharing and managing options.
  • Concept D - most intriguing idea but pushed boundaries.

Information Architecture

Taking into account WHAT WORKED and DIDN'T WORK, a site map was sketched to help build wireframes. It aligned the team on the high-level view and flow of the application before diving straight into details of the screens.


Low-Fidelity Wireframes

The low fidelity of the wireframes gives the space to test tasks, feasibility, and user flows before incorporating further details and context.


Usability Testing of Converged Concept


Is the platform understandable?

Managing Shared Data

Ease of use

Is the user frustrated?

Navigate Policy Information


Can the user navigate the interface?

Onboarding & Sharing Data

Usability Testing Takeaways

For Usability Testing 7 participants were asked questions to learn their opinions and observe any challenges.

100% of the participants completed all tasks. 

Despite the successful completion rates, the qualitative feedback said otherwise. 


Handoff Materials such as annotations, specifications, and all research data were prepared and distributed to the Stakeholder to start the next phase of iterations and development. 

Suggested Next Steps

  • Continue testing to investigate churn rates of users who will share data without logging in.
  • Offer users a comparison tool for quotes, plans, features, and prices, and test iterations.

  • Enhance explanations. Provide more guidance throughout the process.

Future Recommdantions

  • Create a framework for a potential B2B user-facing side of the platform.
  • Investigate potential blockers (security, privacy) before further development.
  • Conduct additional concept testing with both B2B and B2C users.
  • Explore & Research AI/ML to stay competitive & current in the industry.


Skewed Results

In our initial interviews, we had more Users that had availability for interviews than SMEs. It is possible that their comments and feedback skewed our research in which we created a B2C solution first.

Time Constraints

The time we devoted to research did not feel like an adequate amount to do a comprehensive amount of research for a new product. We stated this to the client for certain areas to be revisited and noted areas for further exploration.

Team Success

We were all nervous about this project. Most of us had limited experience with Life Insurance. The team and I struggled with what success would look like for this client. The more we interviewed users and worked with the client we were able to strengthen our knowledge and help the client make decisions with confidence. 

Team Success wasn’t about being perfect, it was about the momentum and reactions we garner from both the client-side and the end-user.  


To date, Purple Ant has not shipped a Life and Disability product or service.

The Team and I hope the stakeholder continues with our suggestions for more research and testing to further develop this new venture for their business. 

Till then I took it upon myself to address some of the feedback given and implement a few of our recommendations into a more stylized version of the original prototype. 


© 2020 Sandie Starr

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