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The Design Philosophy Behind the New Betterview UI 


Jul 2023
Mike Zimmer

Mike Zimmer details the design philosophy that led to Betterview's complete UI refresh

Jul 2023
Mike Zimmer

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Since this post was originally published, Betterview was acquired by Nearmap. References to Betterview, the company, or its products have been maintained for historical accuracy. Betterview is now the primary solution for the insurance industry at Nearmap.
Design is never static. It must always stay on the edge of the latest innovations, shifting and changing to meet the demands of the user and the world around them. Betterview has always prioritized design and design thinking to deliver the most powerful and intuitive user interface (UI). With the incredible success of our early Partner Connect additions, and a roadmap full of new Betterview tools, we decided to look forward and invest design time in a substantial rethinking of our overall information architecture.
Underwriter Driven Feedback
Our design evolution – which led directly to our new UI – was driven by our response to user feedback. We interviewed underwriters across multiple dedicated sessions, included coordination with our Customer Success team, and organized our efforts around the common themes we heard:
To address underwriter needs, we defined some of the goals for our solution. We sought to design an intuitive, predictive interface that:
  1. Underwriters want granularity in scoring and benchmarking across different datasets.  
  2. Underwriters consume imagery - a lot! And they want a good balance of high-quality imagery and wide imagery coverage.   
  3. Underwriters are looking for a place where they can see all their property data in one screen.  
  4. Underwriters know and use COPE (Construction, Occupancy, Protection, and Exposure), an industry standard used to evaluate and assess property risk.  
  5. The most successful underwriters prioritize a range of key indicators that they like to evaluate first.  
  6. Underwriters often want to drill deep into individual data points. 
To address underwriter needs, we defined some of the goals for our solution. We sought to design an intuitive, predictive interface that: 
  1. Delivers summarized and prioritized data such that a user can spend as little time as possible evaluating the overall risk.  
  2. Supports intuitive navigation of the possible thousands of data points on any property, with the ability to get to any data point within three clicks.  
  3. Grants the ability to easily interact with interrelated data, such as the intersection of structural vulnerability and regional hazards, in a cohesive structure.  
  4. Makes geospatial augmentations rich, clear, and intuitively tailored to what facet of risk a user is exploring.
The result of our efforts was a well-organized and intuitive UI, highly responsive to interaction.
Centering Design Around Users
The new UI has evolved into more of a design system than a simple interface, allowing us to include far more features in this release than anticipated because of our accelerated ability to develop new products. In the rapidly evolving world of tech, it's crucial for every company to adapt and grow. This design system allows us to test and launch features to market with far greater speed, such as our new GPT-based virtual underwriting assistant, Copilot.
We want our tool not only to perform its tasks impeccably, but also to be a pleasure to interact with. A well-designed tool is one that users can navigate intuitively, making their work not only more efficient but also more enjoyable.
Our UI redesign is a testament to our belief that design is about more than just good looks. It's about aligning form and function, aesthetics and efficiency, to create a tool that truly serves its users. This reflects our overarching mission at Betterview, to always innovate in service to our users.