Sesame

Product design, service design, strategy, user experience, brand design, research, leadership

Design director
Sep 2018 to Aug 2019

NY, NY

Sesame is product company based in Brooklyn, NY who wanted to build an online direct-pay healthcare marketplace where customers who are uninsured (or don't want to use their insurance) pay upfront for services from physicians and providers that have availability on their books. What's more, this all happens with transparent pricing and no hidden costs or fees.

Think of Hotel Tonight but for doctors. 

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Previous to my arrival in Oct 2018, the company had done assorted (and uneven) work with a number of agencies to kickstart the brand and generate representative screens for a proof of concept. My first order of business was to bring these efforts in-house while building out the core product and leading the discipline of design within the company, focused on a lean and iterative approach to push out new features and product shifts. Kansas City was the launch location for the two-sided healthcare marketplace and we had to have laser focus to achieve product-market fit.

Our first hurdle was getting the consumer/patient experience "right". And so, we centered our design methodology and sprint cycles around user needs with biweekly instances of user interviews, guerilla testing, and A/B testing. After we launched, we were able to use a broad range of site analytics and metrics (through Optimizely among others) to bolster our research and testing insights.

With two additional product designers anchoring the design team and using a small group of freelancers, we created a foundational bedrock for the web app — sketching in group How Might We sessions, creating an atomic design library in Figma, managing the day-to-day work in Jira, writing up specifications in Notion, and keeping in contact with Slack and Zoom calls with our wide-ranging team (New York City, Austin, Kansas City, and Berlin).

Working hand-in-hand with the marketing team, I was also able to coordinate and match up the brand voice and look with multiple campaigns that were in-flight — including display ads, social media, billboards, mailers, magazine ads, and radio spots among others.

As of my exit in Aug 2019, we were further refining the consumer side as well as engineering the back-end framework and design scaffolding for the physician/provider side of the house.

The current iteration of the consumer/patient digital product can be seen live at sesamecare.com.

July 2019 iteration of Sesame's web app

Above, six (6) screens from the patient (read: consumer) side and four (4) from the physician (read: provider) side — for the patient side, we considered four sizes (1280x720, 1024x768, 768x1024, and 375x667); on the physician side, we considered two sizes, desktop and wide tablet

Selected marketing assets

Above, postcards (photo and illustration variations), banner ads (with copy and design variations for A/B testing), Instagram images, animations, and business cards

One of the mistakes we made

Along the way, we learned a ton. One of our early hypotheses based on preliminary user research was that folks didn't buy healthcare in the same way they'd buy other things, like office supplies or groceries and so they didn't a notion of a shopping cart or basket. It'd be one service at a time. But we were wrong. So many abandoned carts, calls to customer service, and general confusion. Needless to say, we fixed it fast.

And at this point, we were only considering two screen sizes for launch.

Sketches and wireframes

At left, a few artifacts from one of our remote How Might We sessions

How did it all start? Good question.

In the Sep 2009 issue of the Atlantic, David Goldhill wrote an account of American health care and how a hospital error killed his father in 2007 entitled, "How American Health Care Killed My Father". He followed it up with a book called, Catastrophic Care: Why Everything We Think We Know about Health Care Is Wrong in 2013. And then in summer of 2018, he and two other co-founders and a scrappy team started Sesame.

Catastrophic Care
My work
My work

Leadership

Leadership