Technology Tuesdays: Designed for Success: Exchanges Can Offer A First Class User Experience

By Guest Blogger

This blog was written by Terri Shaw, Enroll UX 2014 Project Director and is part of Enroll America’s Technology Tuesdays blog series.

Many followers of the Enroll America blog are familiar with the work of the Enroll UX 2014 project. The project has been extremely busy through the winter, and with spring upon us, it’s time for an update.

Enroll UX 2014 is a public-private partnership that is developing a first class user experience design for exchanges. Eleven states and the federal government are participating in the design effort. The final design will be available for every health insurance exchange to use in its operations. The project will offer design standards and detailed design specifications for an online health insurance portal. This is not the “back end” technology that will support eligibility determinations or the actual language a state may ultimately use in its exchange website and application. Rather, it’s the look and feel of the site, the layout and navigation options, and the tools consumers will find useful in making enrollment and coverage decisions. This human-centered design will make it easier for people to understand the coverage they may be eligible for, and it will support their enrollment decision-making. The project, supported by eight state and national foundations, has been active since last spring and is now in its home stretch.

Design Refinement Workshop

One of the UX 2014 project’s most exciting (and fun) aspects has been the collaboration among so many people from different places. In January, the project held a Design Refinement Workshop in San Francisco to gather feedback on key eligibility and plan selection design interactions, and on the preliminary visual design. Some 90 representatives from CMS and 18 states participated. Forty iMacs were set up in a big room, and over the two days, small inter-state teams pored over a Design Evaluation Prototype. They provided input on everything, from how to navigate from page to page to the design for income calculations, and all of this feedback is now being integrated into the design by the team at IDEO.

Final Deliverables Due at the End of May!

Given the amount of feedback received, the design refinement phase was extended by a month, and final deliverables will be ready at the end of May 2012. They will include two major items:

1. A Design Implementation Manual, which will allow state implementers to customize the design as needed. The manual will include detailed information on:

  • Information architecture
  • Design principles
  • Detailed design specifications, including page annotations and wireframe illustrations
  • Visual design style guide: typography, color schemes, iconography, and graphics
  • Design elements to support assisters and incorporate the use of mobile tools
  • Communications materials for sharing the design
  • Policy-related annotations to help identify aspects of the design that state and federal implementers may want to customize to address differing and evolving state and federal policies

2. An expanded Design Reference Prototype, which will include a scenario-based illustration of the end-to-end, self-service insurance affordability eligibility and enrollment experience.

All the final materials will be publicly available at no cost. To sign up for further updates, register at


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