From form filling to life fulfilment

Mark Russell
Oct 2, 2020 · 4 min read
Some hard UX happening at Compare the Market, before COVID-19

If you live in the UK and I asked you to think of Compare the Market, you’d probably spend some time working out if we’re the one with the meerkats or the one with the opera singer.

Next, you’d probably think of filling out forms to sort out your insurance, and then get a bit bored and move off to speak to someone more interesting than me.

I suspect this is probably what a lot of UX and product designers do when they see adverts for roles in our UX team (I know I did).

If, on the other hand, you asked me who Compare the Market are, I would tell you that we’re the biggest price comparison site in the UK, and that our purpose is to help customers worry less about their finances (am I paying too much? Do I have the right products? Is it time to switch providers?), and spend more time enjoying their lives — which we also help them do, through our meals, movies and music rewards.

I can see how easy it is to look at what we do and think the job of a Designer is to decide which combination of form fields to use today. But there’s so much more to it than that.

By working together with our product, research, marketing and engineering chums, we’re understanding the difference we make to people’s lives — and how much more we need to do.

A designer working on some customer journey mapping
A designer working on some customer journey mapping
Definitely some UX going on here

We’re also learning that these seemingly mundane products are actually symbolic of the things that really matter to people, the things that keep them awake at night and get them out of bed in the morning. For example:

Car insurance isn’t always about just making sure you can drive legally — sometimes it’s about protecting one of your most treasured possessions, or about making sure the legal headaches you had after an accident two years ago never happen again.

Home insurance isn’t just about protecting yourself when stuff in your house breaks, sometimes, it’s about protecting the collection of guitars you’ve built up over the years, or the jewellery your grandmother gave you a long time ago.

Comparing gas and electricity isn’t always about finding the cheapest deal — sometimes it’s about making sure you find a sustainable supplier.

And for some people, it’s about every pound and penny you can save, and every hour and minute you don’t spend thinking about the general expense of just living.

These are all genuine things I have heard from our customers in research, and I could go on — how finding a first mortgage meant freedom and security for first time buyers, how life insurance means sleeping well at night knowing loved ones are protected, how finding the right broadband deal means being able to enjoy movie night, uninterrupted, with family, or how using our meals and movies rewards becomes a habitual act of enjoying food and films with friends every Tuesday, or a great way to occupy the kids during holidays.

And I believe that thinking about UX at Compare the Market in this way makes it one of the greatest opportunities to fall in love with customer problems that a designer could ever find.

The fantastic aftermath of some intense UX-ing

Of course, we still have forms to fill out — but we’re working to reduce the amount of effort and strain involved.

If I asked you what your roof is made of, or if there’s a tree over 10 metres tall near your house, or how many kilowatt hours of gas you use every month, or whether your car alarm was Thatcham approved — do you think you’d be able to answer accurately off the top of your head?

But what if, as a designer, your task was to find out how we could use data, technology, content, and smart UX to make sure a customer never really has to worry about any of that?

We’ve not changed what we do substantially in the last decade or so. And if we were building a price comparison service from scratch today, we might not end up in the same place that we have. But we’re thinking differently about customer experience now — all our teams are working together to change the face of price comparison and put good outcomes for customers at the heart of that change.

And yes, we are the ones with the meerkats.

Big news – we’re hiring for UX designers right now. If you’re interested, take a look:

Designers holding meerkat toys
Designers holding meerkat toys
We have no shortage of meerkats

Compare the Market

The people behind and the Meerkat App