Northeast Delta Dental Case Study | Website Design Project | Den Creative

Northeast Delta Dental

A user-centred portal redesign

Northeast Delta Dental administers the dental benefits of nearly a million people in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. They pride themselves on offering world-class customer service, something that was confirmed to us by all the customers and service providers we spoke to. The team at Northeast Delta Dental challenged us to ensure that their online customer experience lived up to that offline experience, by applying our user-centred design approach to a very technical part of their web platform. A thorough discovery phase, as well as user testing and iteration throughout, ensured that we designed a frictionless, intuitive journey for dentists and their staff, interacting with the portal. We delivered ready-to-build designs to the Northeast Delta Dental team, with a full development handover to their internal teams.

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    Qualitative research We carried out multiple interviews, capturing and acting on user feedback covering productivity, quality, and speed issues. This was crucial to delivering a well-rounded solution that solved their key pain points.

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    Information Architecture & Navigation Our design work focused on restructuring the dentists portal and getting multiple sources of information on the same screen, so that users can see the full picture, increasing their trust in the platform.

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    Design System We started building the design system in the early stages of the UX phase to enable us to maintain consistency across design elements and styles, allowing us to add new features and functionality without having to backtrack and redesign.

UX Research Overview

  • We captured the current state of the portal and created a visual sitemap of the user flows.
  • We conducted an in-depth expert usability review to understand where the existing user experience fell short.​
  • We conducted stakeholder interviews to better understand users’ needs, the business goals, and the technical constraints. This user-centred approach informed our decision making and ensured we designed the future state based on real user needs.

Areas of focus

Users told us they wanted to see all relevant information in one place. They told us that the information they need is all in the portal, but it’s segmented and hard to find with a lack of consistency in terminology also added friction to users journeys.

The quality of the users’ experience when interacting with the portal wasn’t as good as it could have been. They struggled to find what they were looking for and were used to calling customer service for help with completing their tasks.

The existing portal did not handle the claims process. Having consulted with NEDD’s tech team we realised it was possible to add this functionality and knew it would enhance the users’ experience.


There is no getting around the carving up and categorising or classifying of information (taxonomy) when working with a dental benefits portal. Getting to grips with the terminology and trying to create a taxonomy that would be user-friendly was a big part of our job here. We involved dentists and internal stakeholders from NEDD in this process, regularly checking that our assumptions were correct and that our plans for taxonomy would work.

UX Design Overview

  • Creating user flows helped us visualise the paths users would take when interacting with the product in order to optimise their experience.
  • We then created prototypes to visually demonstrate how all the elements would work together and how users could interact with the portal.
  • We used our interactive prototypes to test the product’s usability with potential users by observing their behaviour to find out what was working and what wasn’t.

Usability testing

We used specialist testing software to conduct a series of task-based usability tests with our prototypes. They reflected users’ daily tasks involving the platform and were designed to ensure they interacted with all areas of the prototype naturally, while trying to achieve a specific goal.

Success Metrics: 

  • Direct task completion % — This gave us a measure of how easy the designs were to navigate.
  • Usability score — This helped us measure the ease-of-use of each screen within the prototype.
  • User feedback — This gave us an idea of users’ overall impressions of the designs.

The testing numbers

It’s not really user-centred design if you aren’t testing continuously with real users!

30 Testers took part in usability testing
10 Hours of footage recorded
92% Usability score achieved

Design System

We created a one-system design approach of connected patterns and shared practices to enable our team to deliver rich experiences and add future features more efficiently, faster and most importantly, consistently.

Moving forward, the purpose of the design system is to serve as a guide and a store for design elements that use best practices and are easily scalable. This reduces technical debt (maintenance work) both on the development and design side.

Interactive prototype

As well as designing a high-fidelity prototype, we created an interactive walkthrough to mimic the finished product using specialist software.

This prototype was an accurate representation of the portal. It appeared and functioned as close as is possible to the functionality of the built product. It was a powerful testing tool and allowed us to get final approval from stakeholders.


Our objective was to redesign the dentists’ section of the Northeast Delta Dental website, to provide a platform that better serves their users’ needs and the business goals, creating a future-proof site to serve customers, reinforce NEDD’s reputation for world-class customer service, and drive revenue.

We identified the needs and wants of the key audiences and used that research to design a frictionless user journey, and an intuitive experience, ultimately to drive adoption of the platform, reduce call volumes to customer services and build revenue by leading the competition in the service level offered.

We delivered the finished designs to NEDD as ready to build designs, fully validated by their internal tech teams, that could be inspected and replicated by developers, with illustrations of interactions available via interactive prototypes.

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