I went to GradGuard in 2011 when it was still really getting off the ground. A V1 of the B2C site existed, but was mostly a brochure site that linked off to carrier sites. The full ecommerce potential of the site had yet to be tapped. Our two main products, renters insurance and tuition refund insurance, presented two completely different problems. Renters insurance was a fairly straight forward product that people understood, we just needed to create an easy way for people to buy it on their own. Tuition refund insurance on the other hand was a relatively new product that required a fair amount of handholding and education to get people to understand their risk and how we could help. Also being in the college space meant we were potentially talking to two very different demographic groups, either being the students or their parents, depending on channel. We were able to solve most of these problems by creating several different enrollment paths that did the same thing.

Setting out to create different ways to do the same thing forced me to take a huge step back in my process of just designing what I was given and instead I focused on understand the product and all its nuance to figure out where I could assume information or tease it out from other bits of data. This really helped hone my problem solving skills and appreciation of understanding the full problem before heading off into design land.

All those different enrollment paths meant we had a solution no matter the partnership. We also set out to partner with as many colleges and universities as we could to gain direct access to their student populations. All those contracts meant co-branded websites, brochures, buck slips, postcards and anything else we could think to create. I created over 200 co-branded sites in my time at GradGuard and countless print pieces to accompany them.

Given the seasonality of working with colleges meant we had a lot of built in time once school started to examine all the aspects of our pitch and enrollment funnels. Prior to GradGuard I had a basic understanding of analytics purely from an advertising perspective, the more unique page views the better. Now, I had to dive deeper into our analytics and understand our pain points and drop-off to help refine our enrollment paths. Nothing was off limits from a redesign or reexamination perspective. As a result we came to market with a fresh look and better user experience that lead GradGuard to steady growth year over year all the time I was there. GradGuard has kept that spirit of continual reexamination and kept moving forward. The mock ups below are the last iteration of GradGuard site I worked on.