Christopher Carney

Creates User Experiences

The SmartBen Application from an IA, UX, and UI perspective

Why am I presenting this?

SmartBen is the SaaS/PaaS system that I've spent almost 13 years working on. It has evolved over time to become quite large in function and user base.

I would like for you, the reader, to understand that I have served in multiple capacities, here. In most cases, the sole resource. This includes, but is not limited to, information architecture, user experience, user interface, graphic design, and front-end development.


The SmartBen system is generally divided into two 'faces'. The employee (EE) face and employer's (ER) face. For this demonstration, I will only be dealing with the EE face, known as SmartBen Essentials. Further, for the sake of brevity, I will only be offering minimal detail and the singular task of benefit enrollment. This is not even close to being an exhaustive look at SmartBen Essentials.

EE Users

The user spectrum is quite wide. The user can be any EE from entry-level to c-level and from full-time to part-time to seasonal - with variations of each.

Primary Facets

The SmartBen Essentials system, as a whole, could be loosely described in four parts.

  1. Benefit Enrollment
  2. Benefit Modeling
  3. Benefit Plans and Policies Library
  4. Current Benefit Accounts Information (aka, SmartBen Now)

Central to these four parts is Benefit Enrollment which can be broken down, generally, into three use cases.

  1. New Hire Enrollment
  2. Annual Enrollment
  3. Life Event Enrollment

The Primary User

The dominant user is an EE entering the system to accomplish an Annual Enrollment. To execute this, the EE will need to manage information about themselves and any dependents and beneficiaries. The EE will need to complete tasks in regard to the products made available to them, compulsory or optional. The EE will need to choose specific plan coverage levels where options are available (e.g. medical/health coverage). The EE will need to submit any information pertaining to specific plans and policies (e.g. declaring tobacco usage). The EE will need to digitally sign and initial all documents when needed. The EE will be provided with a summary statement including the plans and policies they have enrolled in or waived out of, the associated costs to both the EE and ER, start and end dates, etc. In addition, the system will demonstrate the EE's total compensation; That is the sum total of all salaries and employment benefits.

Primary User Process Flow


Of course, the system is kept behind strict security protocols. Entry into the system is granted only with proper login credentials. In addition to the opportunity to present their credentials, the EE is presented with information regarding security protocols, browser support, and password retrieval information. ER's have the ability to customize both the URL and look and feel of the login page.

Login Interface


Upon entry into the system, the EE arrives at the landing page. The primary emphasis of this page is benefit enrollment. This includes a counter, in days, if a pending enrollment is time sensitive. The EE also has navigational control to other functions in the system as well as content provided by the ER.

Login Interface

Enrollment Type

It is possible an EE would have multiple enrollment types available to them. Typically, during enrollment season, the EE would have Annual Enrollment as one type and Life Event Enrollment as another type. A Life Event can be roughly defined as any change in circumstance that would alter enrollment specifics, such as a death, birth, marriage, or divorce.

Enrollment Types Interface

Enrollment Items / Lights

At this point the EE is presented with a list of benefits that are available. This could be something obvious like medical coverage, or something less obvious like the mandatory reading of their employee handbook.

Benefits are represented as having a complete or incomplete status. This is represented, analogously, as 'red lights' and 'green lights'. The EE will need to have all benefits completed to move on from this stage in the process flow. In other words, they must have all 'green lights' to proceed with finalizing their enrollment. It might be noted that a 'green light' status does not preclude an EE from editing that benefit.

Red Light - Green Light Interface

Tier/Coverage Level

If a benefit has options (e.g. medical coverage may offer several different specific plans to choose from), the EE is presented with their choices and, possibly, the option to waive the benefit coverage.

Benefit Card Interface


Using medical coverage as an example, the user may need to answer specific questions, assign dependents, select from various options, or affirm certain declarations.

When all the detail requirements have been met, the EE will be returned to the enrollment items page. The status of the previous benefit will be changed from incomplete to complete.

Plan Questions Interface

Enrollment Summary Statement

This summary statement provides all relevant data of plans and policies, their costs, and a place to digitally initial any required verifications.

Plan Questions Interface

Total Compensation

Plan Questions Interface

Printable Confirmation and Resources

Plan Questions Interface

And still, there's more...

In addition to the system itself, I've also conceived, designed and created several marketing pieces for the company. These inlcude micro-sites, print materials and animations/video presentations. I would be pleased to share these on request.