Transforming corporate culture with UX awareness and training, teaching strategy and persona creation for ongoing design and new business endeavors.
Offering both enterprise and consumer-facing products, Guidewire delivers property and casualty insurance software to hundreds of user types around the world. The company had a principal goal of “defining and supporting specific user journeys”, yet they didn’t have a clear, shared understanding of the behaviors, motivations, and needs of their many different users. Guidewire approached EchoUser with a three-month engagement to create personas to deepen empathy for their diverse user base.
As we developed personas, Guidewire decided to expand EchoUser’s involvement to support organizational adoption of the personas, which we achieved over the following 10 months. By the end of our engagement, EchoUser had not only provided key UX deliverables, but also enabled Guidewire’s UX team to conduct research, design assets, and achieve more visibility within the company.
“The real value in working with EchoUser was the team transformation that they helped ignite, directing all of us on the path of UX maturity within the company”
– Design team member, Guidewire.
At the end of this 10-month project the UX team was more engaged, collaborative, and skillful at showing and promoting the value of UX across the broader organization. Achieving higher UX maturity has enabled Guidewire to better understand their users and design better products that target their needs.
The UX team demonstrated growth by adopting new UX practices and leading research initiatives:
- After moderating the persona launch workshop, many noted a renewed enthusiasm and engagement from working more collaboratively and trying out new methods. They continued the shift from individual to collaborative working styles afterwards, posting their work on the wall to enhance visibility.
- The team owned their role in promoting the voice of users. They commonly shared stories of helping to resolve design dilemmas by asking what would work best for the persona.
- A few UX leaders emerged, taking action to spread of value of UX throughout the organization. They started presenting their work to broad, internal audiences and became more active contributors on product teams. Specifically, they started asking more questions, sharing their perspectives, and challenging teams to define the problem before coming up with solutions.
- They demonstrated an improved understanding of fundamental research concepts by transforming unplanned user observations into intentional interactions. They started to define research goals, create moderator guides, synthesize findings, and share what they learned with others.
- UX designers put their persona and journey mapping skills to practice, initiating research studies and producing artifacts and insights to inform product decisions.
C-level executives and cross-functional teams demonstrated support for persona adoption and promoted a user-centered design approach to product development:
- One product team became aware of incorrect assumptions about users and redesigned their product to align with research findings.
- Another product team decided to expand their product offering to target a different persona and address their unmet needs.
- One Product Manager showed a shift in her thinking about users as she acted out one of the personas that her product targets in a presentation to internal stakeholders.
- The UX team accessed funding to hire their first full-time user researcher.
- The Chief Product Officer presented our persona and journey mapping work to internal stakeholders to set expectations for adoption, and to external prospects and customers (insurers) to illustrate Guidewire’s user-centered approach. Several customers reached out to learn more from the UX team, positioning them as educators and mentors on user experience within the insurance industry. Our flexible team was able to evolve the scope of the project to address Guidewire’s needs.
We delivered high fidelity personas and journey maps, but more importantly, we increased UX visibility throughout the company, enabling the broader organization to understand and drive knowledge surrounding their user base and how their products are being used.
We’re glad to have contributed to Guidewire’s changed perception of what UX can do and what a dedicated UX team is capable of.