Consumer Connected Vehicle Application
The consumer connected car experience consists of a combination of hardware and a mobile-based software application. The core feature set revolves around vehicle diagnostics and being able to read data directly from the vehicle via the included hardware component.
My role was to lead the UX strategy and product innovation defining user experience opportunities beyond the current product product line.
The existing product has several legacy UX issues that make it difficult to properly tell the right customer message and introduce them to the direct value proposition. The key challenges the team was faced with were:
Delivering ongoing content updates, notifications, and important alerts
Hierarchy of information and easy access to it
Story telling, not clearly helping the user understand what the application is capable of or the core value proposition
Understanding User Needs
Every design project starts with understanding the customer's needs and mapping those needs against business goals & objectives. In collaboration with the greater UX research team, we leveraged journey maps to help all stakeholders understand the holistic requirements that our customers have with the product while also identifying the moments of joy and frustration.
Taking the base journey maps a step further I created details surrounding the key user scenarios. These were used to help the team align on the key moments of action.
It become clear to me pretty early on that there wasn't any formal UX vision that was used to help guide design direction and story telling. In order for us to advance the overall experience and improve our engagement opportunities we needed some guiding principles to help us achieve success.
This conclusion led me to establish an insight framework that provides a structure for the team to use with ongoing design efforts.
By mapping the key user needs associated with automobile ownership, management and/or general use, we were able to define a set of guiding principles to design towards.
The team continually is validating the core user needs against new feature iterations and capabilities that are coming with product updates. Along with the updates we have successfully been able to prove that the principles defined are strong enough to account for the evolution of the app.
Design - Solving for the UX Challenges
In order to address one of the key UX challenges the application had –
How do we deliver continual updates and provide quick access to urgent and important alerts and notifications?
I leveraged a user interface mechanism often used within the social media application world, the news feed.
As we looked to expand our application from a single user-centric app to a robust multi-user application the use of a feed interface mechanism allowed us to not only leverage it for direct continual content output, but also to display the output of multiple users activity within the system. This provided a scalable solution that provides support for multiple tasks and consistency.
In order to gain buy-in from stakeholders regarding the use of a feed mechanism that would help solve our challenges I had to demonstrate how we would handle urgent content. The concern was centered around the fact that the feed is temporal and content would continually be changing over time.
The solution was to incorporate redundancy and have urgent based content also be captured in our key notifications area that wasn’t temporal and required the user to explicitly delete. The notification center was only used for content that was identified as urgent and/or based on a users explicit ask.
Sketching was used heavily in the early stages to help capture everyones ideas. The use of sketches allow team members the ability to quickly iron out layout and potential functionality issues before spending too much time at the computer.
Wireframing was used to iron out the flow of the application and to communicate to stakeholders how the new experience would come together from a high-level perspective to tell the correct story.
Once we have a good understanding of the mechanics behind the activity feed it was time to dig into the content cards themselves. The image to the right is a small example of the various cards that we designed. The goal was to create cards for all of the key activity the user could have within the application.
In conjunction with the designs for the various cards, I put together detailed design specifications that would communicate how the cards and notifications within the cards should work.
Beyond the base specification details I created additional communication pieces to stakeholders understand the possibilities for the feed itself.
Bringing the design together was one of the most enjoyable parts of the project. After all of the iterative design efforts we could finally demonstrate the experience holistically.
The examples below are just a few of the key screens used within the application. My goal with the visual design was to create a light clean space for the content to stand out.
The project came to a conclusion by building out a proof of concept that we then used for customer validation efforts. Several tests with a small user base have been completed to gain valuable insight. With the insight gained we have iterated on some of the areas that were identified as potential usability concerns. The project is still ongoing and hopefully will be moving into full production in the coming year.