Universal Credit

A project to refresh Universal Credit communication

Universal Credit is a national service that was thought to support citizens with jobs or financially struggling. The current data show that an important sector of the population does not see in this institution a good service or human support.

Many people prefer to use private support before to deal with a boring and bureaucratic system that not reflect their values.


UX Designer, User Researcher


10 people / Mail Metro Media


Sketch, Figma

Initial problem

Users don’t feel engaged with the service and need to do many disruptive steps to get accurate advice.

How we can help users to have a connection with the institutions and improve their access to the support?

  1. Understand the users and their behavior at the moment to solicit the service.

  2. Approach the Universal Credit to young people.

  3. Learn about user habits.

  4. Determine what are the pain point at the moment to do the procedures.

  5. Offers financial advice in a friendly way.

  6. Identify opportunities to improve communication service.


The team did several interviews meeting with different stakeholders and users.

To solve the needs of the final users effectively in the last stage can benefit Universal Credit workers.

The Universal Credit teams showed an authentic interest in connecting in more meaningful ways with their users



The users find it is very hard to access the support even before tried

Based on the stakeholder’s feedback and forgetting the final user vision the service Universal credit has lost the connection with the public. The private sector has gain space for the users and is their first option at the moment of financial struggling.


Universal Credit is doing a lot to support the citizens, but what happens with that part of the society that not feels represented with the service even when they need it?

Universal Credit has been fundamental as a National service, providing wide support that helps people with their financial difficulties. As part of state services, the institution has followed a very formal way to communicate its services. In response to the social needs surged from the different economic crisis, it quickly offers digital options to complete procedures.

Although Universal Credit has placed a large emphasis on being available for disadvantaged groups, the communication is not working effectively, and in many cases, people take private loans as a solution, deteriorating their financial health.


Approximately 40% of Universal Credit users struggle with very disruptive steps before the first contact

The financial issues can be absolutely unexpected and people with a healthy financial score could find themselves in a very a though hard situation, to help citizens in those moments some of the ways Universal Credit support are:

  1. Dedicate more time to coach the user

2. Utilizing printed guides to support users

3. Define financial objectives for future

4. Allowing part work during the financial support

Now, imagine how the shift to virtual applying due to COVID-19 has made the application procecess even harder for this sector of users with less tech knowledge. 

Universal Credit already needed to provide extra support for a part of the community with more needs. The shift to virtual has exacerbated this problem even more because not only are employees unable to utilize previous assistive techniques but users now also face additional challenges brought on by the shift to virtual processes.

1. Users face an overload of pressure in video calls.

2. Some users lack a good environment to call or fill in digital forms.

3. Users do not know what to expect from the UC support.

4. Employees are unable to engage some sector of the population.

While we were targeting a specific user group, we still wanted our proposal to align with the Universal Credit team’s current goals. 

The team did a lot of the user research, but I took the lead on understanding how our proposed feature could fit into the Universal Credit ecosystem. It was important to me that our idea, while targeting a different user group, still fit into the current goals of the Financial product to create a unified experience.

Through research, We discovered that the Universal Credit product could be arranged into 4 overarching goals. Based on the user pain points we found, we decided to propose an app that focused on the goal of promoting engagement in a new target of users.


How might we transmit a more fresh image and engaging with users that think Universal Credit is not for them?

We had 2 promising ideas and we decided to move forward with an Informative Website and new Univeral Credit app. 

Our initial idea was to build a New Branding, with more vibrant and bright colors. While we liked the simplicity of this idea, we deemed it to be too simple and wanted a more impactful solution. A few brainstorms later, we landed on the idea of an app because it not only addressed the specific pain points of users with fewer tech resources but could also be useful to a broader population.


How could we measure success? 

During our pitch, the client challenged our success metrics and suggested they were too optimistic. Based on feedback from the client, I used Google’s HEART framework to delve deeper into how we could measure success and understand how users (both employees and users) are responding to these new tools.

1. Work with local individuals and groups

This could help grow the uniqueness of recommendations as well as help the local economy.

2. Partner with social media influencers

It’s clear that Instagram is a huge part of researching so it makes sense to capitalize on it. Partnering with influencers will raise brand awareness and encourage the adoption of Refeel.

3. Expand into other activities

Currently, Refeel only offers track but as the product gains traction, more categories could be added to expand the user base and grow market share, offering workshops and content.

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