Guiding a health care leader through a digital transformation

To prepare a giant health care provider for health care reform, my team researched, digitized, designed, and launched a B2C health insurance site that saved $5 million in the first year. 


Digital Transformation
Prior to the health care reform law of 2010, health insurance was not a direct B2C product and at the time, was reliant on analog channels such as paper and telephone conversations. To prepare for this market shift, my team designed and launched a responsive, online experience for customers to shop, buy, and use health insurance including planning for and tracking of healthcare and related health savings account(s).

Personal Contribution
+ User research: generative & evaluative
+ Synthesis: insights, opportunities, design implications & strategy
+ Iterative design of responsive web-based software: sketches, user flows, low and high fidelity wireframes, information architecture diagrams, prototypes, design patterns
+ Workshop facilitation
+ Relationship management within multi-vendor project
+ Capacity building of human-centered design methods within the client organization
+ Management and mentorship of interns

User flows & scenarios, information architecture diagrams, low & high fidelity wireframes, low & high fidelity prototypes, design patterns, design pattern library


Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

MAYA Design

Project Length
6 months

My Role

Interaction Designer + Intern Manager

The Team
+ Project Manager
+ 2 Researchers
+ 3 Interaction Designers
+ 2 Software Engineers
+ 2 Interns

Shifting to a consumer-centric vision

Personal Contribution:

  1. Contextual Interviews
    Interviewed consumers about their experiences identify pain points, unmet needs, and potential barriers.
  2. Participatory Design
    Created participatory design materials & facilitated participatory design sessions
  3. Usability Testing 
    Created paper and interactive prototypes & facilitated usability testing

Building a shared vision through storytelling

Personal Contribution:

  • Synthesized customer research into findings, opportunities & design implications

Theme: Understanding What I Really Owe

Example Finding
Consumers feel unsure about what any procedure will cost them and have difficulty doing the calculations with certainty, so they call ahead to budget for procedures and call afterward to understand the bills. "It took me nearly a year to get the final bills and understand what my portion of the total cost was."

Provide worksheets or cost calculators so consumers can look up the cost of their service and how much they’d be expected to pay based on their utilization, coverage, co-pays, etc.
Provide a way for consumers to “game out” the available treatment options and compare them along standard dimensions.

Empowering consumers with information

One key to the future of health insurance is the pervasive transparency of information that empowers people to take control of their health care. We worked with Highmark to create a system for delivering both printed and digital access to health information to help consumers make sense of their coverage.

Personal Contribution

  1. sketches
  2. user flows
  3. wireframes
  4. prototypes
  5. design system


An early sketch of the cost calculator


A screen shot of the live cost calculator

Design System: building a consistent and scalable brand

To bring consistency and coherence across the many people, agencies, departments and leaders responsible for making Highmark’s vision a reality for consumers, we created a design language system for member communications. We built an architecturally-based digital brand that included a responsive grid system, a modular information system, and consistent interaction and layout patterns across digital and print properties.


Interaction design for design patterns


Examples of 4 and 8 column modules using progressive disclosure


Design pattern library in-progress


The responsive grid system establishes a framework for the consistent arrangement of interface elements and content across display sizes and devices. As a result we are able to deliver quality experiences (and consistent access to information) without concern for the size of the users display.


We created an online resource to house and show practical applications for the design system. This helped reinforce our design principles. Teams now have access to code and brand assets that can be used across projects and refined as their needs evolve.

The outcome: $5 million saved

With the launch of this product, Highmark experienced $5 million in savings in just the first year.
–> See the live Highmark BCBS site


The live product, a responsive web application for customers to shop, buy, and use health insurance including planning for and tracking of healthcare and related health savings account(s).