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state farm internship

ux research

overview

State Farm (or more specifically, State farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company) is the parent company of several affiliates and subsidiaries that provide property and life insurance, banking products, and mutual funds. The company’s mission is to help people manage the risks of everyday life and recover from the unexpected by providing solutions for all of life’s moments. 

contributions

I joined the Enterprise Research team as a UX Research Intern during the summer of 2020. I primarily worked with the Shopping and Service team under UX Research. Throughout the summer, I had the opportunity to utilize both generative and evaluative research methods on a variety of different projects. 

projects at a glance

Below are high-level descriptions for four projects I completed while on the UX Research team at State Farm. Due to the nature of these projects, I cannot share specific insights or results from these activities. 

Methods:

Analysis of Existing Systems

Stakeholder Interviews (25)

Information Architecture Diagramming

Low-Fidelity Prototyping

Evaluations of Prototype (3)

UX Research Site

The UX Research team gathers qualitative and quantitative data from users and business partners, providing insights to help inform design solutions across various products and services at State Farm. There was a need to develop an internal site to showcase the team’s work and ongoing projects.

For this project, I did the following activities:

 

  • Gathered user requirements to determine how the overall site should be organized, along with what features and content can be included.

  • Created artifacts to illustrate the structure of the site based on research findings.

Methods:

Analysis of Existing Systems

User Interviews (15)

Task Analysis

Communities Self-Service Portal

State Farm agents have multiple platforms and systems they can reference to seek additional help. The company wants to build a self-service portal for agents to be able to reduce the call volume by deflecting calls as much as possible. Users’ specific pain points, challenges, and anxieties in this context were unknown, and the current process may not provide the best user experience. 

For this project, I did the following activities:

  • Assisted design and business partners in gathering requirements regarding agents’ workflows with their current knowledge system, as well as the relationship between agents and call centers.

  • Used findings collected from research activities to inform and influence how the self-service portal for agents should be designed.

Auto Quote Usability Testing

Methods:

Moderated Remote Usability Testing (7)

Data Analysis

This project involved testing two prototypes that were part of the Customer Auto Quote Experience. Prototype 1 included an end-to-end experience of obtaining an auto quote, purchasing the quote, and completing any appropriate onboarding tasks. Prototype 2 allowed customers to retrieve previously saved quotes. 

For this project, I did the following activities:

  • Draft moderator guides and scenarios for participants based on research objectives

  • Moderate remote usability tests with participants to receive feedback on their overall experience – editing information in the quote, changing dependent coverages on vehicles, onboarding, and retrieving saved quotes.

  • Share research insights and propose recommendations to design and business partners.

Branding Position Paper

Methods:

Literature Review

State Farm recently developed a new brand system, and there is interest in determining how this modified system impacts the user experience. Rather than conducting research to test brand elements with users, this project involved hypothesizing how the new system could affect the user experience and collecting evidence from previous studies done by researchers on the team. 

For this project, I did the following activities:

 

  • Conducted a literature review of existing research on the new brand system and collected any appropriate findings.

  • Developed a potential framework for the position paper – potential topics, areas of focus, and interest. 

reflection

At the start of this internship, my main goals were to familiarize myself with a plethora of research methods and gain industry experience. With guidance from the Enterprise Research team at State Farm, I had the opportunity to meet these goals and expand my skill sets in other areas. Not only did I form a better understanding of how to perform certain methods but I also learned how to justify why one method may be more beneficial than another depending on the team’s research objectives for a given project.

 

Throughout the summer, I lead research efforts for two projects (UX Research Site and Communities Self-Service Portal) while assisting researchers on two other projects (Auto Quote Usability Testing and Branding Position Paper). I learned the importance of staying flexible as a project changes, especially when there are feasibility and time constraints. This involved developing guides to provide structure but being open to changes depending on the participants and stakeholders. In one instance, a designer observing my user interview sessions even messaged me her own follow-up questions, so I had to quickly figure out how to incorporate those while keeping track of time and any remaining questions on the guide. Along with further developing research skills, I learned how vital it is to cater to your audience when communicating, whether that be users, researchers, designers, business partners, developers, or any other stakeholders.

 

I was surprised by both the breadth and depth of research activities occurring at State Farm and am grateful I had the chance to work with and learn from an amazing team of researchers. I admit that I was skeptical of how a completely virtual internship would pan out, as I would be missing out on those organic, spontaneous interactions that would happen in the office. However, since the beginning, I was provided the necessary equipment for a successful summer and received a warm welcome from the team. It’s safe to say that I learned a lot throughout those few months, from research methodologies and user-centered design processes to industry practices and even the world of insurance. This internship solidified my interest in pursuing user experience research as a career, and I am excited to see where this experience will take me!

contact

Interested in learning more about my work? Or just want to grab a coffee and chat about design, research, or literally anything else? Drop me a line!

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