Your financial situation when you are retiring is important to be thinking about, even when you are in your twenties. In 2018, Nationale Nederlanden organised a Battle of Concepts to gather ideas how they could inspire customers to think about their retiring plans. Nationale Nederlanden has an online pension environment, but customers did not seem to care about it. They rarely logged in and had no insights in their situations.

The problem

But..who can blame them? Taking care of your pension is complicated. It takes a lot of time and it seems so far away. Many people just open their online pension environment once, only to never look back. But why?

It's almost intimidating when I open my pension environment.

Many online pension environments bombard the user with information: there is no overview! The participant must have control. He must be the center of attention. After all, it is about his future. When the participant can see at a glance what the current status of his pension is, you give him that oh-so important control and he can take action himself. These actions should then be supported by the online environment with relevant information.

The solution

After researching the current online pension environment of Nationale Nederlanden and talking to many customers, all in different age groups, I proposed a solution. The environment had to be redesigned, according to the following philosophy:

The redesign has to give a transparent and clear overview of the progress the user is making with his pension. It has to put, and let the user feel, in control. It has to motivate the user to come back more often so that he can check what has improved.

Time for clarity

Focus is the main goal. The new dashboard uses card design. Each card shows a concrete summary of a specific part of pension management. This way, the user is presented with concentrated pieces of information that are relevant to him at that time. The user must be able to see at a glance what his current situation is.

The tone of voice has to be positive but straightforward. The user sees what is going well and what can be improved. The environment then gives the user the possibilty to take direct action.

Lack of clear explanations, confusing annual reports and a sense of getting lost prevented participants from logging in. This new dashboard provides participants with an actual overview when logging into the environment.

Mock-up of the online environment.

When designing the online environment, I set up a list of design criteria:

  1. Personalization
    The whole environment is user-centered designed. Various options compliment this, like uploading a profile picture and header image. The user can make changes in this environment that can heavily impact his life. So make it look and feel like it is only about them.
  2. Trusted environment
    Big changes like a redesign can be uncomfortable for people. Make them feel safe by consistently using the branding of Nationale Nederlanden and making it part of their main site.
  3. Searching and filtering
    When there are many cards, the user will lose overview. A search engine solves this. The search function directly filters the cards that match the search. A number of filters replace the tabs from the old online pension environment. Presets determine which cards are displayed a first glance to keep the information on screen minimal but effective. The cards that are shown to the user are selected based on his personal situation.

The feedback

In 2018, I send in a more detailed version of this concept to Nationale Nederlanden via Battle of Concepts. My concept was chosen as the best idea out of 126 other concepts. Nationale Nederlanden described my work (in Dutch) as follows:

Unaniem door de jury gekozen als winnaar. Een mooi concept hoe wij de informatie veel toegankelijker kunnen presenteren. In één oogopslag zie je wat de complete portal te bieden heeft. Het is duidelijk, simpel, overzichtelijk en je kunt het persoonlijk maken. Het voordeel van de kaartenbak is dat het ook makkelijk op een mobiele telefoon zichtbaar is. Hier zijn we heel positief over! De presentatie van gegevens is erg belangrijk en dat wordt hier zelfs bijna leuk gemaakt. De jury had direct zin om zelf te gaan kijken wat het voor hen zou betekenen.

Om in de AD-oliebollentest te spreken: Een perfect gaar bolletje, met liefde voor het vak gemaakt!

This project was one of my first big concept designs. At the time, I was in my second year at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, studying Communication and Multimediadesign. I learned a lot since this project, but I am still standing by my core solution today.

I will always remember the moment I heard that I won the competition. I was traveling with the metro, underground with really bad cell signal. Friends were
congratulating me but the signal was too weak to anwser or even investigate why they were sending those kind messages. Good times.