HealthEquity - Website Woes

When I was hired by HealthEquity in 2010, I had one clear purpose - to bring their website and infrastructure into the new decade.

The Challenge

In 2010, the public facing website needed some help. It was built around 2005, and it had not aged gracefully. It was managed through a CMS that was clunky and difficult to update, and the templates were not fast or flexible. The shared server did not contribute any speed or agility to the the website, either. I was tasked with not only finding a solution to the website issues, but with building an entirely new infrastructure for the site. The site needed to be speedy to load, accessible, and have the capability to eventually be able to interface with the internal customer website, which was built in C++ and ASP.net. Another primary requirement was that the CMS be easy to manage and the site be simple for non-technical employees to be able to update with content. Finally, the new system had to be a long-term solution that would allow IT to update and manage it from an integrated system.

The Process

First, acknowledging that putting the solution in place would take some time, the very first task was to do some updates on that clunky CMS to make the templates slightly easier to use and to put out some much needed information. These updates were critical to allowing continuing website use while research and planning was taking place.

After exhaustively researching the solutions available, I recommended three CMS systems, and after deliberations with the management team, the commercial CMS Sitecore was chosen. Once the system was chosen, I had to study the Sitecore environment in preparation for certification. As per the rules of the Sitecore system, a technician was not even allowed to contact the help desk unless they had gone through certification. Fortunately, once the system was chosen, I was able to get in to a weeklong certification course fairly quickly. Having been hired in December of 2010, I was pleased to have two major goals completed in under four months and to have the ability to start development within the new system very quickly. Once certification was attained, I worked with the systems team to set up two new dedicated servers to host the site and the database, and was able to begin working with the Marketing team on the tasks required to begin creating the new website.

The User Experience

Once the technical infrastructure was in place, I turned my attention to creating the best experience for the user base, not only for the external site, but also for the internally-used customer site. I began to gather research and formulated several user personas which were then used to refine the approach to the website. I determined that our users were split into four main types and then those types had two subtypes in each one. These types were then used to create verticals for all the branding, including the website. This reseach began to impact many decisions company-wide, and was important to many processes, not just the new public facing website.

For instance, Health Equity is a major provider of HSA accounts to the employees of their customers. There is a lot of user research that indicates that women are overwhelmingly the healthcare administrators for their families. So one of the major changes that was implemented in the internal site was a clear process for the HSA onboarding that was originally buried in a confusing menu hierarchy. My data said that many women, when they tried to find this link, would get frustrated and end up calling our customer service team to find it. So exposing this information up front and ensuring that the steps were clear and conscise led to a measurable decrease in this specific type of customer service call.

The Launch

After months of development and research, the new website was finally completed and featured everything that was called for in the original challenge. I then began the process of training the Marketing team to update the site, add new sections and content, and manage the integrated shopping component. I also was able to train our internal IT team on the configuration and development of the templates and assets.