The Task-Based UX Benchmark Study.

UserZoom ran a quick competitive UX benchmark study between Axa and Aviva, two top international insurance companies, to see how users experienced navigational and core tasks, as well as how they rate their overall experience on these websites.

  • We ran an unmoderated remote task-based benchmark study with 60 in-the-wild users on their own devices over the course of a single day
  • Participants were equally divided between the brands’ UK sites so that 30 went to Axa.co.uk and 30 went to Aviva.co.uk
  • They completed several tasks while on the site: a screenshot click test, a tree test on their main menu, and a task-based test where we asked them to find out more information on how to continue with a healthcare policy when leaving a company
  • We also measured their brand perception and how they rated their overall experience


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First impressions are lasting impressions

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To begin we wanted to know the users’ first impression to both of the contenders’ sites. We showed all 60 participants images of the Axa and Aviva homepages and asked them to choose which site they associated with several UX attributes.

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Participant’s opinions towards this week’s contender’s homepages seem to be pretty much balanced. Both sites are almost equally liked on the terms Trustworthy, Informational and Helpful.

The Axa site was chosen as the most Organized and Easy, while the Aviva site was seen as Welcoming, Lively and Overwhelming.

So, for round one… let’s call it a draw!

Screenshot Click Test

Modern insurance companies rely on their websites for more than just branding and communication. These sites have become information hubs, purchase points, resource centers, and management platforms for their clients.

For this test, we showed participants an image of the contenders’ homepages and asked them to complete the following task: “Pretend you just signed up with this company for a new health insurance and you want to review & edit your policy information. Where would you first click to modify the preferences on your account?

Axa

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Aviva

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90% of the Aviva visitors correctly clicked on one of the two options on the homepage that provides access to the customers’ account, 57% clicked on the “Log in or register” button that is shown as a featured shortcut for clients on the homepage, and another 33% clicked on the “Existing Customers” button on the top menu bar while the rest clicked on other areas of the homepage.

Axa website visitors did not have that much success with this task. Only 37% of the participants successfully clicked on the “Log in” button located on the top menu bar of the homepage. 13% of the users clicked on the “Health” menu category, 3% on the “Insurance” menu category and the rest were drawn to click elsewhere.

Round 2 goes to Aviva!

Tree Test

Good information architecture is necessary for providing a good search experience. To evaluate the findability, labelling and organization of the sites’ structures we placed participants in a plausible scenario for someone who is looking for a healthcare insurance policy: “Let’s say you are moving abroad and want to have medical coverage while living there.

Participants were shown the site’s menu structure as a list of topics and were asked to select the area where they think they would find information about a health insurance program that will fit cover these needs. Once finished they would mark the task as completed and if they reached the requested info the task would be rated as Success.

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Both companies have an International Healthcare Insurance product on their portfolio that would fit perfectly with the requirements for this task. Also, both companies include them under the Health category.

On the Axa test, 40% of the participants succeeded on the task selecting the “International Health Cover” option. On the Aviva test only 33% of the participants reached the correct option: “International Health Insurance.”

An interesting observation is that on the Axa site healthcare insurances are contained under the “Health” category and excluded from the “Insurance” one, while the Aviva site include a link in the “Insurance” category that redirects to the “Health” category home. As a result, it seems that having this option mislead 37% of the Aviva visitors to select that option for the test, without looking further under the “Health” category options.

Round 3 goes to Axa!

Online Task-Based Test

Many companies are keeping personnel at their jobs and attracting new talent by providing perks on their compensation plans, and a very popular perk offered is private healthcare insurance. But what happens when an employee who has a private health insurance through a company plan leaves his/her job? Since insurance companies already know this person and have them as a customer, they have created ways to migrate from a company plan to a personal policy to help them get through the transition.

For Round 4 we asked visitors to pretend they were in the situation described above – leaving a company and needing to find information on how to transition after leaving.

To evaluate the success of the task, validation through an URL was used so that only participants who reached the correct page would have the task be rated as success and then be redirected to further questions.

A Non-Success result meant that the participant decided to abandon the task.

So, how did the two challengers do?

Task Results

Results show that more visitors on the Axa site were able to find the information requested than those on the Aviva website.

There was not a big difference on the time it took all participants to complete the task. It took Axa participants an average of 1 min and 34 seconds to reach the information and the Aviva participants an average of 1 min and 44 seconds to find it. There were some participants that actually excelled in finding it fast, like the following videos show.

Axa

 

Aviva

 

The results also show that almost half of this week’s participants decided to abandon the task. When a participant abandons a task we asked them to explain as detailed as possible the reasons for leaving by asking an open comment question.

On the UserZoom software, open questions go along with an analysis of the words mostly used. It shows the words with the most frequency and varying the size of the word depending on how frequently it came up.

Here are some examples:

  • “I couldn’t find a page that talked about changing from employer sponsored plans to personal plans. When I clicked on the personal plan, that didn’t lead me to the page I wanted to find.” (Axa)
  • “It is not clear where I can find the information required & in which web page.” (Aviva)

After the task we asked all the users who were able to complete the task successfully to rate how easy or difficult it was to accomplish, with 1 = Very Difficult, 4 = Neutral and 7 = Very Easy.

There is no doubt which contender won on this task. Results show that the Axa site was able to lead more participants to the correct page, doing it in a shorter time and in an easier way.

That is why round 4 goes to Axa!

Problems & Frustrations

After the study, we asked all participants if they encountered any problems or frustrations and their responses are here:

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The “Problem & Frustrations” analysis show that more visitors to the Axa site seem to be happy with the experience they had, having 50% of them selecting the “I did not encounter any problems and frustrations”, while 50% of the Aviva visitors stated they felt insecure where to begin the tasks and another 43% felt they needed to click too many times to find information.

Brand Perception

We asked participants to rate the perception they had of the challenging brands before and after their experience on sites.

For the rating scale: 1 = Very Negative, 4 = Neutral, and 7 = Very Positive. In the pre-test survey we also included the option for participants to say they’re not familiar with the brand.

Before participants interacted with the websites, both contenders had an average brand perception rating of 5.3 out of 7. Axa had 17% of users saying they were not familiar with the brand while 40% of the Aviva participants said they were unfamiliar with the brand.

After the participants completed the different tasks, we asked if their brand perception changed. For Axa, brand perception slightly fell 0.1 points while the Aviva brand perception decreased 0.8 points.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

As the final part of the study, once the participants have interacted with the sites, we asked everyone to rate how likely it was they would recommend the brands’ sites to friends, family or colleagues.

The results show that even though both brands have a negative NPS, more people would be comfortable recommending Axa based on their experience with their homepage.

And the winner is…

Both contenders performed well, Aviva had a good start with the Screenshot click test but Axa pulled off every other round. That is why this week’s trophy goes to Axa. Not only did it get better results on the different tasks, but also provided a better digital experience as judged by this week’s participants on NPS and ease of use.