Nest: Designing a modern, user-centred pension service

Nest, the UK’s largest workplace pension scheme, partnered with Nexer to modernise its digital services for over 11 million members through a user-centred, omni-channel approach.

Client: Nest

4 minute read

Nest, the National Employment Savings Trust, is the Government-backed, not-for-profit workplace pension scheme – the largest in the UK, with over 11 million members. Nest needed to modernise its digital services to better meet the needs of a growing and highly segmented user base.

Following a competitive tender, Nest appointed Nexer to help design a modern pension service built around user needs, delivered across multiple channels with knowledge transfer and knowledge transfer built into the delivery model. The stakeholder and supplier environment was complex, including Nest's principal service provider and regulators, all of whom had their own priorities, and whose continued engagement and buy-in remained crucial to long-term success.

What we did

Nexer worked with Nest to design a digital-first, omni-channel pension service. A multi-faceted ecosystem included Nest stakeholders, new and existing external scheme administrators, a communications partner and Nexer delivering User-Centred Design (UCD) and service design capability, aligned with the financial conduct authority for regulatory oversight.

Multi-phased, agile delivery

We set the programme up for success with clear onboarding and discovery, and created a multi-phased, agile delivery approach built on human-centred design principles:

Comprehensive onboarding: We established clear communication channels, defined project deliverables, and set project milestones to ensure smooth sailing.

Stakeholder workshops: Working with Nest and partner senior leadership, we aligned project goals with Nest's business objectives and identified key success metrics.

Ways of working: We established a collaborative team culture and working environment, defining roles, responsibilities, and communication protocols for all partners and stakeholders, and co-designing ways of working that would set the tone for the entire delivery.

Project planning: We co-created a comprehensive project roadmap, established agile design cycles and integrated new team members.

User research and data analysis: We worked with Nest and scheme administrator research teams to conduct user research, document user needs and analyse data gathered from multiple sources, to inform the design.

Agile delivery: We adopted an iterative, agile delivery model across multiple design workstreams, building usability and accessibility testing into sprints, to deliver user-centred, inclusive services.

Capability building

Knowledge transfer was a critical element in our work with Nest. We designed a comprehensive training and mentoring program to equip the Nest team with the skills and expertise to champion user-centered design principles.

The program began with a foundation in UCD and service design principles. We introduced the Government Service Standard, providing a framework for user-centred design and development throughout the agile project lifecycle.

Next, we trained the team in UX principles, research methodologies, and best practices for integrating user research findings into the design process. We equipped them with practical service design methods, covering journey mapping and service blueprinting techniques, allowing the team to map out user journeys and identify areas for improvement. This created a holistic understanding of the user experience across all touchpoints ion the Nest service.

Co-design and prototyping were also central to the capability building program. Teams learned collaborative design techniques, working directly with users and stakeholders in the design process to foster a more inclusive design process, and we explored various prototyping tools, enabling rapid iteration and user validation. This allowed for continuous feedback and refinement throughout the design process.

Our training also focused on content design.  We covered information architecture best practices, the principles of inclusive writing, and microcopy techniques. This ensured that the new platform was not only visually appealing but also easy for users to navigate and understand. We used a mix of virtual classroom style training alongside mentoring and paired design ‘on the job’, which enabled us to build practical, real world experience in the team.

Empowering Nest for the future

Our collaborative process empowered the Nest team in several key ways. Firstly, it fostered a deep understanding of user needs and human-centred design. User research became an essential part of the design process, ensuring the new platform wasn't built in a vacuum.  By incorporating user research findings, we designed services that catered to the specific needs and expectations of Nest's diverse user base.

Secondly, we delivered a seamless multi-channel experience.  We recognised the importance of consistency across different user touchpoints. This meant designing an intuitive experience that functioned flawlessly whether users were accessing the platform via web, mobile, or other channels.

Thirdly, the project built internal capability at Nest. The training program we delivered wasn't just about delivering a solution; it was about empowering Nest for the future. By helping to build a culture of user-centred design within Nest, we equipped their team with the skills and knowledge to continue developing solutions in-house.

Following two years of working together to design the service and build internal capability, Nexer’s contract with Nest was renewed in 2024, enabling us to continue our working relationship for a further two years, testament to the success of our collaboration and the user-centred outcomes we’ve delivered together.

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Get in touch

Please email if you would like to discuss our work, or call our Macclesfield office on +44 (0)1625 427718