State Farm, well known for being a "good neighbor" by "being there" for their customers, was founded in 1922 by retired farmer and insurance salesman George Jacob "G.J." Mecherle.
From humble beginnings as a single-line auto insurance company, today they offer over 100 different products and services to their clients across five unique business types, including telematics.
The Future of Telematics
While the term 'telematics' may be unfamiliar, most auto insurance providers have a "telematics product" in one form or another. These usually manifest in the market as Progressive's "SnapShot" or State Farm's "Drive Safe and Save" program. But with the ever-evolving state of technology, specifically with the ability and soon prevalence of 5G, even these relatively new products/programs are on the verge of antiquity. Because of this, State Farm reached out to T3 to provide a future-state vision for a customer-focused telematics experience that redefines the category and establishes the as a leader in the industry.
"What is telematics?"
Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems.
Specifically, the intersection of electrical engineering as it relates to telecommunication, the networking systems within vehicles, and IoT devices.
This includes a variety of industries, for instance, road transportation services (including freight and/or cargo logistics and management), and road safety data (i.e. NHTSA and Dept. of Transportation,).
While we are used to seeing a certain aspect of 'computer science' in vehicles, the idea of creating algorithms to predict and influence safety is untapped.
The Road to a Future-state
As a Vision Engagement, our goal was to quickly dive deep into a subject matter and develop a "Northstar" perspective. This meant having a lean and agile team that can solve the problem quickly and effectively. As the sole product designer for the team, I either spearheaded or heavily collaborated on the following workstreams:
01. Research & Discovery
02. Strategy & IA
03. UX/UI Design
04. User Testing
RESEARCH & DISCOVERY
Insights & Emerging Tech
As part of the Discovery phase of this project, the team engaged in a deep-dive of existing State Farm research as well as conducting analysis on new or emerging technologies and their potential as they pertain to telematics. Concurrently, we were able to run qualitative user interviews to identify user archetypes, the key Jobs-to-be-done within the future-state, and their respective enabling factors.
We explored and reviewed 327 different technologies and reduced them to six areas of opportunity.
HUMAN MACHINE INTERFACE
The team interviewed 18 existing State Farm clients, totaling in over 30 hours of research, in order to define archetypes as they related to telematics.
In addition to archetypes, we established four main
Jobs-to-be-Done that became pillars for this vision product.
Offer me tools that allow me to make better use of my time.
Leverage data to improve or give assistance while I’m in transit for peace of mind and efficiency.
Remove barriers or any elements of doubt moving me towards enrollment and beyond.
Offer tools or support in safe driving and family management.
STRATEGY & IA
Planning the road ahead
After further workshopping with key stakeholders, those JTBDs translated into six features that would create bulk of the product experience. This began as interesting ideas for screens from both internal and client teams, which turned into distinct flows, and then our six features that we would design and prototype out.
UX & UI DESIGN
Map, design, test (repeat)
Because of the "vision" nature of this project, we had a rigorous 8-week timeline from when design started to project end. In order to get the most exploration, I'd focus on one feature per week with the end goal of each week be a testable prototype. I'd then collaborate with our Design Researcher to create a test script and we'd conduct three user testing sessions the next week. After the six features were prototyped and tested, I spent a week implementing user feedback, then created a master prototype as our final deliverable.
I'd start each "design week" by mapping out the flow I was going to be focusing on. This would range from a full logic map to listing out and organizing possible information to display.
It was "quick and dirty" at it's finest!
These varying diagrams would provide the foundation for me to start designing. Sometimes I'd do a short sketch session to explore different component or layout options, but for the most part I was always producing high-fidelity mocks. While I was able to leverage State Farm's existing design system for typography, iconography, and some components, it did not account for a mobile app experience and I expanded it.
PROTOTYPE & TESTING
The weekly prototypes were created using InVision and shared with the Design Researcher and together we crafted the testing plan for each feature. Each test was typically 30–45 minutes and consisted of a combination of user exploration, task-oriented, and guided question sections. Our goal in these were to validate feature value/desirability, usability, and any design decisions that were made.
State Farm's favorite features
At the end of the 8-week project, both internal and client teams were blown away by the breadth of exploration we were able to accomplish in that short time.
Six features with individual flows, 100+ unique screens, and no less than 24 user testing sessions resulted in a holistic vision for the future of telematics at State Farm.
State Farm was looking to cross-verticalize its existing customers into other parts of its business and partnerships. Through a series of surveys, we found that incentivizing a user's positive action in a gamified way and rewarding not only provided a positive and continued experience, they learned more about what all State Farm could offer them.
The concept was to use telemetry technology to measure and rank a user's driving in three different categories: acceleration, breaking, and cornering. Based on the performance within a policy period, the user would have their choice of rewards ranging from policy discounts to gas cards or car washes. We created a full system of possible achievements and leaderboards that would make being a safer driver a fun game with with your Circle.
The concept behind the vehicle management feature was to provide more value to State Farm auto insurance customers, specifically with more maintenance insights for the longevity of their vehicle. Some of the gamification measurements are featured, which was fun to explore from a data visualization perspective. This idea leaned heavily into integrating with a vehicle's diagnostic computer, which is becoming a market standard today with products like Ford Pass.
If I could...
Looking back on this project, I'm incredibly proud of all myself and the team were able to accomplish. From a craft perspective it was one of the first times I worked to expand a well-established design system and really honed in my clean design aesthetic.
Since it was just a quick vision project, I would have loved more time to explore how some of these features translate into an infotainment device like Apple Car Play. Additionally, feature validation and user testing with State Farm clients would have been ideal (we tested with co-workers given the frequency and availability we needed).