A smooth digital customer experience with service design

Retiring or starting a rehabilitation process is a big life change. Applying for a benefit and tracking the progress of the application process should be as easy and smooth as possible. Our client Varma, a Finnish pension insurance company, wanted to improve the customer experience of their beneficiaries, so together we embarked on a journey to develop the user experience, usability, and accessibility of their online service.

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Aiming for a smooth customer experience

When the users’ needs and premise are properly taken into account in the service, finding the necessary information is easy and you can monitor the progress of your case without having to contact customer service.

A smooth customer experience not only makes using the service enjoyable, but it also frees up the resources of the customer service representatives for more demanding help desk work, when customers can check the basics through the online service. Getting customers to switch to online services also brings cost savings.

With these goals in mind, we set out to improve the online customer experience for the application process of working-age rehabilitation and pensions together with Varma.

Project workflow


    • Expert interviews
    • User interviews
    • Analysis of the existing service

    • Content structure
    • Wireframe models
    • Prototypes and testing

    • Documentation of the findings
    • User interface views
    • Recommendations for further development

Mapping out the pain points 

We began to build an overall understanding of the current situation of the customer service by interviewing Varma's experts as well as customer service representatives and pension processors about their daily work. This way we could find out the matters that caused the most contacts and thus congested the customer service.

We mapped out the biggest challenges and key content of the existing service, and in particular the application process, by interviewing the beneficiaries. In addition, we studied the overall usability of the current service by testing it with different customer profiles.

Based on the background work, we identified and prioritized the targets for development in the service. Then we brainstormed solutions to them using co-design methods in a workshop together with Varma’s experts.

Finally, we listed our main recommendations, some of which were related to the usability and layout of the service, others to the naming and structuring of different types of content. One important observation was that the progress of the application process should be communicated more accurately in the online service.

Based on the development targets that were observed in the mapping phase, we created various user interface solutions. To test them, we built a prototype of the service and invited representatives of different user groups to try it out. The identified development needs were then worked on iteratively in the design phase.

Comment from the client

"Our collaboration with Frantic was uncomplicated, and strong mutual trust was present throughout the project. Frantic’s experts exuded a sincere desire to listen and understand us as a client, as well as our customers. As a result, the observation that increasing customer understanding must play a greater role in the development of our transaction services was further strengthened for us in Varma."

"The frantimones crystallized the problem areas of our current service package and brought well-structured solutions to the discussion. Frantic’s materials offered us a good baseline for our service entity renewal. Thanks for the cooperation!"

-Kristiina Viinanen, Scrum Master, Varma

Less effort for the user, more time for the experts

We carried out the design work in close cooperation with Varma's project team and various stakeholders. We redesigned and clarified the navigation and content structure of the service to make the user experience smoother and cater better for different user groups that need to be offered different contents.

In the revamped service it is possible to bring out content more dynamically, allowing the user to find new and relevant information at a glance. Varma's visual look and element library provided the framework for designing the service's layout, and we paid special attention to the fact that the service must be accessible to all user groups. Examples of this are the logical division of content into sections, clarity of navigation, scalable text size, adequate visual contrasts, and clarity of element functionalities.

With the renewed service, customers can easily and quickly find important information about their own situation, and can more closely monitor the progress of their application process. On the other hand, customer service’s time has been freed up for customer help desk work, which has also increased job satisfaction as the amount of routine tasks has decreased.

Comment from the expert

The service renewal was done by genuinely listening to Varma's customers and their needs. Through the interviews, we gained valuable information about the pain points for benefit applicants at different stages of the process. The same pain points were also reflected in the work of Varma's experts. The improvements gained from the design phase were ultimately simple: visualizing the application process and communicating its progress more accurately online, clarifying the content structure of the service, removing duplicate content and clearly naming sections in the navigation, and bringing relevant and up-to-date information to the front page. 

-Emma Laiho, Design Director, Frantic


  • Digital service design
  • User interface design
  • User experience design
  • Visual design
  • Accessibility


  • Information structure redesign
  • User needs analysis and definition of business objectives
  • Expert interviews
  • Prioritization of functionalities
  • Prototyping
  • Usability testing
  • Accessibility assessment and recommendations

Contact us for more info

Myynti sales@frantic.com