architectural designs

Website and CMS Redesign


Project Type: New Product

Platform: Responsive Web Application

Sectors: Insurance, e-Commerce

Skills used: Collaborative Design Exercises, Information Architecture, Wireframing,  Prototyping, User Testing, UI/UX design, Strategy, Team Management 


The Freelancers Union is a 250,000+ nationwide membership organization dedicated to helping empower independent workers. They had also offered health insurance to New York residents, but due to Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ObamaCare), they needed to change their business model. In early April of 2014, they decided to create a nationwide benefits platform to sell health insurance as well as a variety of other insurance services that would be difficult to get as a freelancer. Just three months later, the founder of the Freelancers Union announced the benefits platform at the Clinton Global Initiative. The platform launched the same day. 


As User Experience lead, I worked collaboratively across the organization as well as with third party vendors to create a product that met the requirements from all the stakeholders. I created user flows, wireframes, and prototypes as well as supervised the visual design and development teams on the day-to-day creation and development of the platform.


To expedite the discovery process, I assembled members of the organization representing leadership, business, marketing, customer service, visual design, and development. I facilitated a day-long workshop utilizing white boarding, affinity mapping, and group sketching exercises to quickly create the look and feel of the platform, the technical requirements, and the information architecture.

The main take-away from the workshop was that the experience should be fun and unique. Additionally, the workshop encourages users to learn about the Freelancers Union's terminology and concepts. The first mockup I created drew upon the concept of "The Self Actualization Pyramid," which was a term the founder of the company had dubbed to signify the transition from working for others to being a successful, self-reliant, independent worker. To fulfill the fun and unique requirement, I designed the shopping experience to give the user the feeling of climbing the "Self Actualization Pyramid."

Please note this mockup was design to be viewed from the bottom up.

The validation testing from our members determined that while the idea was fun and clever, it was a little too out there. Based on the feedback, I created a more user-friendly interface.

Below is the search result page.


Once the overall framework of the application design was approved, we moved into creating a cohesive look for the platform. I supervised the visual designers and front-end developers to ensure design and architecture would both look and function properly on any device. One big challenge was to figure out how to show the cost tables on the plan detail pages as the tables didn't translate correctly onto smaller screens. The front-end developers and I came up with a solution using a jQuery plugin that automatically stacks the tables to proper screen view.

The desktop version is shown on the left and mobile on the right. 


Billing and Enrollment was the most complex part of the platform. Due to HIPPA guidelines, we had to create a completely separate secure environment from the main website. To further complicate things, our third party vendor's turn-around time to process an application could be up to 30 days. This meant that once a user hit the submit button, it was not possible to change any user information, nor to know the status of the application. And if that wasn't enough, the vendor also had some serious character length restrictions, such as a maximum of 30 characters for an email address. The data requirements varied based upon user type, another complexity. 

Using Axure, I made user flows and prototypes of the form fields and conducted user testing to create forms that would minimize the chance of a user incorrectly inputting data. These prototypes also served to help the developers properly code for the various use cases.

Click here to view Axure prototype

NOTE: The prototype is responsive, but depending on your device, you may have to close the sitemap on the left hand side of the screen.