Enhancing the user experience through a dashboard redesign

With all digital products, first impressions are key. We partnered with Vhi to redesign the dashboard feature of their core customer-facing app.

A photo of someone using the Vhi app on their smartphone

Working with Vhi Healthcare

Our client, Vhi Healthcare, is one of the most well-known and established insurance providers in the Irish healthcare market, having been operational since 1957 and with over 50% market share. 

In recent years, they’ve turned their attention to making sure their key digital products — their app, and website — are effective, engaging and align with the needs and changing demographics of their customers. We came on board as their key design partner, focusing primarily on optimising their multifaceted app. 

The challenge

For this project, we set out to revamp the dashboard — or homepage — of the Vhi app. The dashboard is the first touchpoint for customers using the app and functions as the gateway to access all additional information and features. 

The analytics data that we had collected showed that users weren’t interacting with the dashboard in the way Vhi wanted them to. Many features were going unnoticed, or unused. 

We set out to redesign it in a way that would help people complete the task they set out to do and offer a strong first impression and experience for the user. 

We also wanted to create an opportunity to engage with customers in new ways through highlighting features they may not yet be aware of and integrating carefully selected promotional content. 

Phase 1: Research 

Data and analytics 

We exported data gathered over a 1 year period from customers accessing the app on both iOS and Android devices. This data showed the number of successful logins, as well as the usage data around 12 specific features of the app. 

Key findings 

  • Features aren’t being used: Most of the features and sections within the app have very low usage compared to the top performers, such as Online Doctor or Parkrun Rewards
  • The design was overcrowded and lacked consistency: There were lots of individual elements that had been designed separately. 
  • ‘Snap and Send’ is king: The ‘Snap and Send’ feature is by far the most-used section of the application across all user groups. This should be the most prominent feature.

User research

We conducted user research to enable us to create a dashboard that was truly based on user needs. User interviews help us to better understand the ‘why’ behind the analytical findings. Our findings were categorised into three categories — needs, wants, and current pain points

  • The primary need for all users was to be able to complete a specific task. They initially downloaded the app when they had a task to complete and were often unaware of other features.
  • Pain points were centered around the need to re-enter information causing frustration; not knowing certain features existed or understanding how to use them; and too much space being dedicated to features that are irrelevant for them. 
  • Among some users, there was also a ‘want’ for greater personalisation in terms of only seeing features and information on their home screen that was relevant to their needs and how they used the app. 

Goal setting 

Based on our quantitative and qualitative research, we defined a set of goals for the dashboard in terms of its usability — to be a functional space; to promote the benefits of the various Vhi app features; to be relevant for each user. 

These goals had to align with the dashboard goals already set by Vhi and their business needs — to be expandable; to enable discovery.

Phase 2: Concept creation and testing  

Vhi app planning wire frames

After our research and initial design exploration, we came up with 3 distinct concepts that aligned with both sets of goals defined above. 

  • Concept A: focused on getting users to the right place quickly
  • Concept B: focused on simplifying the dashboard 
  • Concept C: removed the dashboard function completely from the overall app structure and gave more prominence to the ‘Account’ page 

What did the Vhi team think? 

Before showcasing the concepts to users, we held a Q&A session with Vhi’s app stakeholders to find out what they thought of the concepts from a business perspective, and to make sure our goals and objectives were aligned. This was also the chance to make sure our UX was feasible for the Vhi tech team. Each Vhi member voted on their concept of choice and shared any other thoughts they had.

The verdict 

Concept B was the clear winner. The Vhi team liked its quick access to tasks, personal notifications, and bold promotional area. A concern raised was around empty states and lack of promotional content leaving the concept feeling bare for some users. 

What did real-life app users think? 

To validate our first low-fi concepts we conducted a round of concept testing with current Vhi app users to understand what features and ideas worked well with returning users. This feedback would help us move forward with a user-centred solution.

Some key findings: 

  • History and activity: users are looking for ongoing activity within their policy and a place to see all “documents”, in one experience.
  • A dashboard in some capacity is wanted: most users felt that having a dashboard is needed as it's a place to greet the user and would be unsure where to start if it was missing.
  • Minimal and clear: most users preferred a minimal and clean layout, with only the “bare bones” of what they needed.
  • Personal, not personalised: whilst users agree that personal data is what makes the app feel personal, they see the content as being set by Vhi and don’t want to waste time setting up the customised homepage themselves. A friendly tone of voice, along with their individual policy number and name, would be enough.

This early concept testing was particularly insightful around the topic of personalisation. The Vhi team originally thought that they would have to develop complex functionality to allow all users to build their own custom dashboard and fine-tune exactly what features they would see. Speaking to real users highlighted that this level of personalisation was not required, saving a significant amount of time and budget on design and development. 

The verdict 

When it came to the user concept testing, Concept A came out on top with 78% of the vote. Users liked the clear and minimalistic design, ease of access to repeatable tasks, guided user journey and structured content. 

"Feels that it is quick access and the features are a few clicks away"

“What can we help you with? You're on board with me." 

"I like the way the buttons guided you through a route" 

Insights to action 

Based on the insights from this phase of user testing, we moved forward with developing further iterations of Concept A — with certain elements from concept B — to help us achieve the business goals. 

Final concept iteration 

Taking our action from concept testing, while reviewing business feedback, we began to build out our final dashboard concept, looking at areas in finer detail and making sure every scenario has been considered.

We researched and experimented with different options for layout, activity types, content structures, and visual styles. 

The end result was a clear, uncluttered layout that was packed with useful features. It was friendly and personal yet primarily functional and task-based. It also included spaces to subtly promote benefits and new features. 

Vhi app concept screens

Phase 3: Final user testing and validation 

The new and improved Vhi dashboard design was updated and shipped in Summer 2021. 

Recent usability testing conducted by Vhi showed higher SUS scores for the new dashboard design compared to the old one, indicating that the overall usability had improved. The average increase in score across 2 sets of testing for the old dashboard design vs. new ones was +12.6% points.  

We wanted to validate this through a final round of additional moderated usability testing and interviews with real Vhi App users. By doing this, we would be able to provide supporting evidence for the SUS results and further investigate the behaviours that remained unclear.

We focused on the user knowledge of app features and how the dashboard redesign affects feature discovery. 
Crucially, this process helped us to further build our understanding of Vhi customers’ needs, pain points and behaviours to inform future projects. 

What is a SUS Test?

System Usability Scale (SUS) provides a “quick”, reliable tool for measuring the usability of a product. It consists of a 10 item questionnaire with five response options for respondents from Strongly agree to Strongly disagree. It allows you to evaluate a wide variety of products and services, including hardware, software, mobile devices, websites and applications. It allows us to benchmark our app and web experiences. 

Vhi app concept screens


4 months after the launch of the new dashboard… 

  • 90% of users preferred the new dashboard style, describing the aesthetics, colour and ‘feel’ of the interface positively, along with the fact that features of interest were laid out in one place. 
  • Users perceive the new dashboard to be easier to use than the old one and were able to easily find services and features.
  • Users believe that it would be easy to receive the support they need using the new dashboard
  • 83% of users have a positive perception of the Vhi app, liking the simple, clean design, easy access to features, and ability to complete tasks quickly 
  • Great user feedback and reviews for the Vhi app — Apple app store rating of 4,7, and Google Play rating of 4.6
  • Average SUS scores increased 12.6% for old vs. new designs 
  • Embracing user research at start of the process saved Vhi time and money by avoiding design and development of unnecessary features

User feedback

“You're not getting bogged down in too much information on the screen, so you can find what you're looking for and it’s just kind of straight-up which is what I like.” 

“It seems quite intuitive. To be honest, I was able to find where to go fairly easily.” 

“It's gotten a lot better. I remember using it at the beginning and it was very, just bland and empty, but like I used it a few weeks ago and it seems like it's got way more information. I don't really have the time to look at things, but if I needed to, I know there’s more information there.”