Lead Product Designer (04/18 – 03/20)
Sr. Product Designer (03/20 – 01/21)
Provide self-employed Americans the accessible, affordable, effective safety net they need. Create modern, personalized solutions for savings, investments, and insurance so that users can get back to doing whatever it is they do best.
April 2018 – February 2021
Andrew Ambrosino (Founder and CTO)
Misha Bove (Design Director)
Kate Mook (Sr. Product Designer)
Freelancers, contractors, sole proprieters, gig workers... They go by many names, but the number of Americans engaging in some degree of self-employment has been steadily climbing since 2008. A 2019 Gallup poll found that over 28% of Americans identify as at least partially self-employed.
More so than their W-2 counterparts, these independent workers enjoy a sense of purpose, increased control, and more flexible work arrangements. On the flip side, independent work brings with it a set of very real challenges: unpredictable income, opaque tax situations, and a lack of crucial benefits like health insurance that are largely still shackled to traditional employment.
This leaves self-employed individuals out on their own, walking a tightrope with no safety net. Very few have the time, money, and motivation to confidently tackle taxes, plan for retirement, or navigate the health insurance market. And even if they do, most existing solutions are archaic and disparate. If you’re self-employed, benefits are hard to find and expensive to enroll in; Their distributed nature makes them a headache to manage and ultimately less effective than they could be.
Focus on the individual. Meet each person where they are. Earn their trust, understand their needs, and serve their whole selves — not just a job title or tax form. Bring the pillars of financial stability together under one roof, where info can be shared to paint a more complete picture of someone’s life. Offer guidance to those who might not even know what they’re missing.
Chisel these benefits down to be approachable and intuitive, so everyone has a seat at the table. Be more like a camp counselor than a robo-advisor. Build a design language that feels more like Headspace than Bank of America. Treat a paycheck like a paycheck, regardless of where it came from. Combine what we know with a little automation magic to keep things chugging along behind the scenes.
Empower everyone to spend their time and energy on literally anything but insurance, taxes, and retirement. Because whether you’re a gig driver today or a YouTube sensation a few months down the line, you deserve to live life with confidence.
I joined Catch fresh out of school in 2018, a few months before its beta launch. I hit the ground running and for three years, never looked back.
My first two years were spent working in tandem with the Design Director, Misha Bove. Together, we worked with Catch’s founding team to sharpen its vision, define the brand, design the core UX, support the app’s beta release, iterate post-launch based on user feedback, and much more.
When Misha left Catch at the end of 2019, I stepped into the role of Lead Product Designer. In addition to hiring and coaching a second full-time designer, I led end-to-end design for Catch’s entire health insurance vertical, our first suite of paid features, a full visual refresh of the product, and extensive support for growth initiatives leading up to our Series A.
After years of work, Catch had finally been approved to enroll users in Marketplace health insurance plans. We were one of only five such web brokers in the country.
As you may imagine, the enrollment process came with a mile-long list of constraints and federal regulations. These guardrails drastically narrowed the scope for meaningful innovation within the actual health insurance enrollment flow. Anything before or after that core flow, though, was largely fair game.
How could I deliver on users’ job to be done (find the right health plan) and use that as a motivator for the lengthy enrollment process that lay ahead?
Only industry wonks care about health insurance. The average person cares much more about the material implications of health insurance. Can I pay my premium and still make ends meet? Do I have access to a doctor when I need one? Could I make it through a car accident without going bankrupt?
I conducted a 10-question survey to better understand how people relate to their health insurance. What motivates people to get covered in the first place? Of those without coverage, what are the barriers? When comparing plans, what information is most important? Are there other stakeholders in the decision-making process?
Unsurprisingly, I found that decision-making ultimately boiled down to premium prices. If a user could afford coverage, plans would then be compared based on total deductible, provider networks, prescription coverage, and co-pays for recurring care (e.g. therapy visits). Worth highlighting is that most people felt confident forecasting their health for the year ahead.
Based on a blend of research findings and knowledge of our existing userbase, I created three user personas. I kept these personas at the center of my process to help ensure I was solving problems for real people, not just relying on API limitations and business requirements.
Based on research findings and API constraints, I gathered all possible user inputs. Some (like zip code) were required, while others (like prescriptions) were optional.
I created a basic user flow, situated within the overarching user journey. I was confident that leading with plan exploration would improve the overall enrollment experience, but it was an addition to an already lengthy process.
Health Explorer had to be fast, lightweight, and approachable. I went wide exploring all possible inputs for plan comparison, then ruthlessly pared the flow down using research findings and personas as a north star.
To deliver on Catch’s promise of offering personalized guidance, I worked with our Biz Ops lead, Dan, to outline a health plan recommendation system.
Aligning with themes from my initial research, we weighted various plan factors to highlight up to three health plans based on user needs and preferences. I created a basic matrix as a design artifact, and wrote copy for each potential outcome.
With upwards of 100 health plans to sift through in some states, this recommendation system helped mitigate decision paralysis while giving Catch a competitive edge. Win win.
I became intimately familiar with peoples' needs. I analyzed the competition. I created a basic user flow using existing components then pushed it further, exploring alternate inputs and new design patterns.
With guiding principles of speed, simplicity, and clarity in mind, I began paring down and iterating. Health Explorer had to be fast, lightweight, and approachable. Here are some final designs.