My initial charge when I started at Aetna was building a healthcare pricing application. We had one client, Nordstrom and not yet an application or a design. As you may be aware, engagement with healthcare insurance applications is low. The approach for many years had been design by committee and the mindset was “if we just beat out <cigna, united> we’ll be fine.” Furthermore, the design approach mirrored the sales approach. Since healthcare insurance is typically sold to large employers, the mindset was that the employers will just get their employees to utilize it.

The good news with WellMatch was we had an opportunity to do something different. We had a partner with Nordstrom who was eager to build a product that was meaningful for their employees and ultimately change behavior to make them healthcare consumers.

The Challenge

We utilized a behavioral design approach.

We first had 4 key mantras we were looking for with the initial research.

  • What specific behaviors are we designing for?
  • What triggers each behavior?
  • How do we make it easy for people to use?
  • What motivates each behavior?

The Solution

To do this, we conducted a large scale ethnography of 74 employees from 6 states and locations. We brought several concepts which were iterated on.

This research effort combined with stakeholder interviews, competitive analysis and a deep dive into products that had changed behavior informed our initial design approach, personas, use cases, wireframes, branding aesthetic, our company name (WellMatch) and our approach with how we would position and sell this product.

We started working on WellMatch with doing an ethnography of 74 potential users.


We wireframed the whole interaction.


Then we iterated with users to determine the final solution.


The result was astounding. Within 6 months of rolling out WellMatch, 35% of the Nordstrom population was utilizing WellMatch (previous efforts were around 3% of the employee population). Most importantly, the ultimate savings with the first year for Nordstrom with the cohort that utilized WellMatch was $500,000 far exceeding the investment in WellMatch.