Aviva‘s customer principles are unambiguous about how important it is to the Aviva brand to respect customers and make things easy for them:

  • You treat me as an individual, not just a sales target
  • You don‘t waste my time
  • You‘re on my side
  • It‘s a pleasure to do business with you
  • You make the complex simple

We need to be putting these principles into action throughout Aviva‘s websites and digital channels. It‘s not always easy to make users‘ experiences straightforward, smooth and satisfying; this is where usability and user–centred design come in. We search for the “sweet spot”, where user‘s needs and our business goals come together in a way that our brand demands.

If your work influences the usability and design of web assets, you need to be using these guidelines. Even more importantly, you‘ll need to understand the usability principles behind the guidelines – and how working against those principles makes Aviva‘s brand promise weaker.

A word of warning! These guidelines define some of the features of Aviva web sites. However, if you truly want a web site that satisfies users and business, you‘ll need a user–centred design (UCD) process from the outset. Guidelines can‘t put usability “lipstick” on something designed without a commitment to a thorough understanding of its users‘ goals, skills, limitations and context.

Who are these guidelines aimed for?

These guidelines are aimed at anyone whose work influences the usability and design of web assets. The guidelines are maintained by the eCommerce user experience team.

Warning – What these guidelines won‘t do!

This document is not a substitute for proper user centred design.

The guidelines within this document will help when making user interface design decisions but will not guarantee a good user experience. This requires a proper UCD process including research into users, their goals and ways of thinking. Without this understanding, it is all too easy to create web sites that are not useful to users, do not match their goals or are organised in ways that don‘t make sense to them.

For more information on the UCD process and how a user experience architect could assist with your project, please contact the eCommerce user experience team.

Common mistakes

  • Designing a system without following a UCD process and then being disappointed when users find it difficult to use.

Usability principles

The following general principles should be adhered to wherever possible:


Provide a consistent interface throughout the website and across devices. This will improve the learnability of the site and reduce the time it takes users to complete their tasks.

Efficiency and effectiveness

Design your site so that users can achieve their goals as efficiently as possible. Users will only continue when they feel as though they are making progress with the task in hand, without errors.

Be informative

Be informative but in language that users will understand. Avoid jargon and unnecessary promotional text.

Simplicity and visibility

Keep the interface simple and straightforward. The most commonly used functions and content should be the most prominent. Ensure controls are visible and intuitive in their design.

Visual design

Ensure the design visually supports information hierarchies. Remove visual elements that distract from key messages.


Ensuring our sites are accessible to all regardless of disability, browsing technology or device is of vital importance to Aviva. Not only do we have legal responsibilities; having sites that are accessible gives us the opportunity to conduct business with millions of potential customers, who rely on good accessibility. This supports our brand values. See appendix A for accessibility references.

Usability testing

It is beyond the scope of these guidelines to explain, in detail, how to carry out usability testing but as it‘s such an important part of creating usable web systems some high–level guidelines have been introduced.

Usability guidelines

  • Carry out usability testing early and often.
    The earlier testing happens the easier and cheaper it is to fix problems. Paper prototyping in a “guerrilla testing” style should happen early and develop iteratively throughout the design process.
  • Select the correct type of usability testing for the amount of time and budget available.
    Usability testing helps ensure your website meets users‘ needs. It‘s important!

Common mistakes

  • Relying on usability testing late in the project when it is too late to be able to fix any of the problems found.
  • Not allocating enough budget or time for usability testing.
  • Not doing any usability testing at all on the basis that budget or time constraints prevent eg engaging an agency for usability testing.

More information

A good resource for up front informal usability testing is Steve Krug‘s book “Rocket surgery made easy, The do–it–yourself guide to finding and fixing usability problems” (ISBN: 0321657292).