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Redesign the retirement public website

I had the chance to redesign the pensions and retirement section of the UK website for Aviva. The previous one was confusing to the users and not structured consistently, with plenty of duplicated content and jargon. This old site was structured from the business point of view, listing out the products like a menu. Problem is, most people have no idea what pension they have or how to use it.

The products themselves are quite complicated, so they needed to be explained in as simple terms as possible to people who are very distrusting of financial institutions.

What I did

As the lead UX designer assigned to the project, I was responsible for the user experience. I worked together with Jahnavee who had extensive knowledge on how to get money out of a pension. With the help of our wonderful colleagues, we were able to craft a simpler and friendlier experience.


This phase took a long time as we mapped the user journeys and mental models. We also found the sheer number of products and how they related to one another to be quite confusing. In fact, we seemed to get some conflicting information from the business experts themselves. So I Drew up a product map so we could all agree on the same thing using it as a discussion piece.

Aviva Retirement products map

Workshops with stakeholders and SMEs were conducted to understand both the users and the products themselves.

We needed to run several workshops on this project, simply due to the massive scope. What became most apparent from those sessions was that we needed to shift the focus to how the users approached retirement.

Then we continued the discovery phase with several techniques (the images below are blurred for NDA purposes)

Finding solutions

Then we started exploring solutions with drafts and wireframes

Eventually, we settled on considering how our clients deal with their pensions throughout their lives. After all, it’s something that’s a part of your life from when you start working (ideally) to after you leave it for your spouse or family.

Retirement timeline, from the user’s perspective

Testing Assumptions

Our confidence in this assumption got verified when we went into the user testing labs. Participants understood the above as a timeline and found it easier to navigate.

Each of these stages worked as a category with multiple products inside. These, in turn, had their own hierarchy.

On this page, for instance, is the category page for the 1st stage, Saving and Planning. Our primary product is the SIPP, then we have transfers, which we know a lot of people use, and the workplace pensions.

Though we know plenty of people are interested in the latter as well, they can’t take it out. These pensions can only be taken out by the employer, so this is just an informational section.

Saving and Planning category products

Finally, there are the personal and stakeholder pensions which are products which can only be taken out through an advisor. They sit lower in the online hierarchy so the user can focus on the immediately actionable products online.

Another thing we found to work quite well was embedding tools and calculators directly on the pages.

Using the analytics available we found out conversion went up whenever we had a tool, so we tested the pages with the tools embedded. The results validated what we assumed, and users were delighted to engage with them.

There was a lot of back and forth on this project, but in the end, it all came together.