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Consumer-Grade Design: How Jiff Does It

Consumers have come to expect great design.  With the rise of B2C mass distribution platforms like the Apple Store, word-of-mouth travels fast, and distinctive products can explode overnight. On the flip side, sub-par products face a quick death.

Design is now a competitive advantage for some of the most successful companies in existence. Most famously, Apple’s renowned design philosophy has delivered iconic products that are both beautiful and functional.

Design is often about the small stuff. Billions of dollars can hinge on a few, seemingly tiny choices. For example, Square, a credit card scanning device and app, has disrupted the massive point-of-sale industry, in large part by removing a few steps from the merchant’s workflow, and by giving consumers an intuitive mobile experience.

And most importantly, design drives engagement. Consumers frequently return to well-designed products, while they let poorly designed ones fall by the wayside.

Great design often means seeing an old problem in a new way.

Great design often means seeing an old problem in a new way.

Needless to say, great design has yet to fully penetrate the enterprise benefits space. Many employers still utilize clunky intranet portals developed in the early 2000’s that pay little regard to the mobile experience.

At the same time, a new crop of well-designed healthcare apps and services have recently flooded the market. While each of these solutions often delivers a delightful mobile experience on its own, when taken together, they are highly fragmented. And from an employee perspective, the experience interacting with various different apps simultaneously can be terrible. Employees are bombarded with logins, reminders, and push notifications, a veritable cacophony of point solutions that don’t talk to one another.

How Jiff Does It

At Jiff, we believe the same design principles that drove success of popular consumer products should be applied to the health benefits space. Furthermore, these design principles should not just be applied to the spokes of our platform, but to the hub itself, where all the pieces fit together.  And our team is well positioned to execute on this mission. We have roots in gaming, consumer tech, and e-commerce. Design is in our DNA.

1) Mobile-first philosophy

Mobile-first philosophy dictates that the mobile experience should drive design decisions. By contrast, many companies in the health benefits space still employ a desktop-first mentality. At Jiff, we are mobile-first, which provides us with three key advantages.

First, mobile-first design creates better experiences overall, both on desktop and on mobile. The limited real estate of the mobile screen forces designers to eliminate superfluous information and distill an application down to its core essence. In other words, designers must rigorously identify the few key steps needed to drive a desired behavior, and cut away everything else. By contrast, larger screens invite sloppy design. Frequently, traditional desktop-centric benefits portals are crowded with excessive images, menus, and content. Critical pieces of information get lost, and users become quickly frustrated.

Mobile-first design creates better experiences overall.

Mobile-first design creates better experiences overall.

Second, mobile-first products are designed to be more engaging for people who are on-the-go. Consumers today are huge multi-taskers, with numerous media competing for their attention–email, Facebook, texts, news alerts. Great mobile designers know how to attract attention from the busiest end-users through small but frequent interactions. For example, they deploy bite-size chunks of content, and utilize game mechanics such as progress updates to keep people checking-in daily.

Finally, mobile products are more accessible. According to a 2015 survey by Pew Research, two out of three Americans now own a smartphone, and for 40% of them, their smartphone is the primary means by which they access the internet. Mobility is critical to access these people, especially since healthcare decisions are made in the context of their busy lives, wherever they are, whether at the doctor’s office, the grocery store, or home. Mobile-first design is vital to reach employees at these critical moments.

2) Core Design Principles

Through our extensive experience in the consumer tech space, Jiff has synthesized the lessons for driving engagement into a set of core design principles. These principles are based on what works, derived from thousands of A/B tests as well as observational studies of user behavior.

While the list below is not exhaustive, it provides a sampling of some of the core principles we hold dear. Well-designed products are characterized by the following:

Our team has baked these concepts into the thousands of product decisions we’ve made cumulatively to date. The end result–a product that is fun, addictive, and beautiful — is difficult if not impossible to replicate.

3) Game Mechanics

Game designers are some of the early pioneers in consumer engagement. The best games are truly addictive, attracting millions of users, many of whom spend thousands of hours logging in and leveling up.

Recently, game design best-practices have filtered down from world of serious arcade-style games, into casual and mobile games, and finally into other types of products that aim to engage busy end-users. At Jiff, we have incorporated many of the most impactful lessons-learned into our own product. Here are a few examples:


Great design makes a tangible, measurable impact. With better design, users are onboarded more quickly, and they come back to our platform more often. These improvements in engagement help HR realize their longer term goals of modifying behaviors, improving outcomes, and ultimately delivering ROI.  To get more information or guides about building effective health benefits platforms, please visit our resources page or contact us.

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