Could Natural Language Forms transform how people purchase insurance online?

Author
  • Date May 20, 2016
  • Reading Time 3 minutes

We are always looking for design solutions that are going to combine delighting users with aesthetics and ease of use while delivering the business outcomes our clients need.

UX has lots of challenges but the web pattern that every UX designer needs to master for the insurance industry are forms. The client will always need information from the user and the user is likely to resist. No one enjoys filling in forms.

It gets especially difficult when we are designing insurance purchase journeys which have a requirement for gathering a large amount of data. When a client asks for many fields, as a UX designer I become concerned... How am I going to make this a pleasure to use? Without it looking like they suddenly feel empowered to get as much information from the user as possible?

The first thing to ask is “Do you really need this information?”. If the answer is yes the second question to ask is “why do you need it and how is this going to benefit the user?” This helps to remind the client of the risk but also helps me explain to the user the benefit they will get if they go the extra mile to give us that information. They will be more likely to disclose information if they understand the need for it.

It’s true though, despite asking those questions, adding calculators; sliders, inline validation, etc, the form may still feel uninviting.

That’s why here at Dock9 we’re curious about how Natural Language Forms are going to improve the user experience of insurance applications. Natural Language Forms differ from traditional label/input formats of web forms and instead consist of input fields that are contained within sentences. In insurance terms the user is in effect completing a Statement of Fact in a natural way.

A good example of this can be seen on the US-based health insurance provider Oscar:

insurance-naturallanguage1

The form reveals itself as the user fills each field, there are dropdowns helping only when they do help and the animation is delightful.

While still relatively rare we are noticing Natural Language Forms increasingly appearing on financial websites. MoneySuperMarket.com's mortgage criteria search is another recent example:

insurance-naturallanguageform2

But you’re probably thinking “Where’s the research?”

Luke Wroblewski tested a natural language form and he discovered it increased conversion by 25-40% (http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?1007). There are other reports of improved user experience on the web. (http://www.jroehm.com/2014/01/ui-pattern-natural-language-form/).

Of course, they are not a guarantee that they will always work. But it’s probably a good bet for usability or A/B testing with your users.

Prototype

We were interested in how Natural Language Forms could work for our insurance clients so built out an experimental prototype for a Public Liability Insurance quotation process:

dock9-prototype

Click here to open the prototype in a new window.

This process mirrors the questions asked in a live quotation process we have built for one of our clients using a standard web form and we will be taking this to the lab for usability testing in the coming weeks. Watch this space!

Are you interested in how Natural Language Forms could improve the conversion rates on your website? Contact us at hello@dock9.com or 020 7977 9230 and we would be happy to explore how they could benefit your business.