How to conquer a document mountain

A 60 minute Case Study by:

Nik Lazell


Rob Brewer


Stu Charlton


Theme: Design in practice: case studies, tools & techniques

About this Case Study

Zurich was suffering internally from maintaining piles of printed documents. What's more, the people on the receiving end of them found them overwhelming and unhelpful.

Taking a service design approach and mixing it with other methodologies, we discovered the root problems and the related, unanticipated symptoms. We then created an innovative solution that is delighting its users - a custom digital document creator.

This is a tool that allows Zurich staff to create custom literature for financial advisors. This tool is making Zurich staff’s job easier and financial advisors receive documents that are more concise and more relevant. But it’s much more than this - it’s an organisational transition from static PDFs and printed documents to digital, dynamic documents. These new documents are easier to create, quicker to approve, more efficient to maintain. As the tool and the related workflows and processes roll out throughout the business, new efficiencies are being delivered.

We knew that service design research programmes can be lengthy, with outputs that can get forgotten. We wanted to make sure that we produced a solution that could deliver visible benefits in as short a time as possible.

Cxpartners’ service design lead and Zurich's internal service design team will show how we squeezed down our discovery research process using a range of techniques adapted from new methodologies like Google Sprints and Jobs To Be Done.

We'll describe how we used an alpha phase to develop and test a range of prototypes in a matter of weeks and how this informed our strategy (rather than the other way around). We’ll discuss how to balance a focus on both user experiences and backstage processes when under time pressure. We'll also explain how to use this phase to demonstrate value to the business before asking for further investment.

Cxpartners’ technical lead will then talk about the transition from alpha to beta and how we launched a working product in a fast-paced timeframe. We'll discuss how to avoid the organisation obstacles that can get in the way of actual delivery, which will be familiar to many people. We'll also talk about the change in skillset required during the different phases of projects and how you can maintain a user-centred approach through an agile production process.

Of course, we'll demo our tool. We'll show how it is helping:

  • creators, by reducing the need to carry a stack of leaflets with them wherever they go
  • readers, by producing documents that are more relevant to them as well as shorter to read
  • the wider business, by reducing the document mountain and introducing efficiencies by making it easier to create and maintain documents through new backstage processes

We'll end by talking about how this tool is being rolled out to the wider organisation, revolutionising how documents are used throughout the business.

About the Speakers

Nik Lazell

Nik is a senior consultant at cxpartners. With a creative and development background he has delivered a wide range of successful experience design projects, from complex systems to service and digital product design. With focus on the financial services sector, he seeks a healthy blend of user research and idea generation. It’s all about design sprints and prototypes.

Rob Brewer

Rob is a service designer at Zurich Financial Services. As a member of Zurich's service design team, he works across the different areas of the business, helping the business shift towards insight-driven thinking and the use of service design methodology. He has a keen interest in understanding people's behaviours and how you turn them in to tangible business solutions.

Rob has 7 years' experience in the financial sector. He currently taking part in Zurich's rising talent scheme.

Stu Charlton

Stu is Head of Development at cxpartners. Since 2004 he’s worked freelance, as director of a digital studio and now as head of the development team at a leading UX design consultancy. He enjoys building and working with small teams to tackle interesting challenges and is in his element talking about interface design and front-end development. He likes to work in a variety of roles and has a strong all-round skillset.

Stu heads up a new development team building modular front-end frameworks for cxpartners’ global client list. His team crafts UIs that realise the visions of our user-centred design team, supporting business goals and enhancing brand values.


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