The many faces of customer research at Wrisk

Understanding the human element of insurance is hugely important to Wrisk - and essential to designing and creating an impactful product for real people.
A photo of Darius Kumana
Darius Kumana
A Wrisk factor card for house age and some emojis

People have complex relationships with insurance. It’s one of the few services that we buy, hoping that we’ll never need to call on. And when we do it’s often in times of stress when disaster has struck.

Understanding the human element of insurance is hugely important to Wrisk and essential to designing and creating an impactful product for real people.

From the early days

When we started Wrisk in 2016 one of the first things we did was speak to potential customers. We approached time-poor individuals on the streets of London and in coffee shops, asking them to look up momentarily from their phones and give us feedback on our fledgling proposition. It seems particularly fitting when you consider that the London insurance market itself was born out of a coffee shop back in 1688.

Ned Barton doing customer research for Wrisk in Old Street
Ned approaches future Wrisk customers at a London coffee shop in in 2016

Like everything else at Wrisk, our approach to customer research has evolved since those early days of running guerilla usability tests. Now we use various forms of customer research to ensure we don’t accidentally build something people don’t understand—or, perhaps worse, just don’t like.

While our app is still in development and not released to the public, our research focuses on qualitative insights. During our weekly usability testing sessions, every participant goes through our entire app end to end. Meanwhile, we’re listening and looking very closely for where their experience is confusing or frustrating.

That might be down to the functionality, the design, the copy, or something else. We may not know for sure yet. However, once we know where the problem is, we can try changing different things in that area to fix it. Once we do, we take another participant through our new version of the app (or a quick prototype), with the new functionality/design/copy and see how they respond.

Not only does feedback help us make incremental changes to improve things—sometimes it can provide us with the evidence (and courage) we need to make more fundamental changes to our offering.

Iterate in small steps. Innovate in daring leaps.

Wrisk’s disclosure flow, balance and top-up payment and even the types of insurance we will offer have all been influenced by feedback from our test community.

What’s in it for participants?


Tech is a huge part of society. Taking part in customer research gives you a glimpse into where the polished products we rely on in everyday life come from. It’s like seeing the storyboards for a film, or an artist’s work-in-progress. To see the difference once it’s launched and understand how far it’s come and what has changed can be fascinating.

Volunteering as a test participant also means you get to visit the offices of different companies, meet members of the team, see what they’re working on first hand. You can see into the culture of specific companies, and also just get a sense of what it’s like to work in the weird and wonderful world of tech.


You don’t need to know a line of code to influence the direction of a product. Our recent test participants would be able to look at our app and point out specific bits we changed because of their feedback. Testing doesn’t just give you a glimpse of the future of technology: it gives you a hand in it.


Our sessions typically last 45 minutes to an hour. We know folks are busy so we make sure you get lots of treats during your time with us. You’ll also get some Wrisk goodies to take away with you.

Getting involved

We hold these usability sessions every Wednesday in our Shoreditch office. Typically we invite potential customers to use the latest version of our app and think out loud while we record the process. As you do, a couple of folks from our team take notes and ask questions.

Every piece of feedback we get is a chance to improve the experience for everyone who hasn’t seen it yet. Some people get self-conscious using our app in front of us, worried they might make a mistake or offend us. The fact is that there’s no such thing. The one thing that is not and never will be the problem is you, the customer.