Redesigned the way users return back to
build car configurations on volvocars.com.
- Designed a flow that includes three different depths through which configurations can be saved.
- Presented solutions to the Design team in Sunnyvale, Sweden, San Francisco and to the Head of UX and the Head of Consumer Digital
- The design solutions may be included in their new website design.
- Responsible for an ownership project that focused on finding a solution to saving car configurations on volvocars.com.
- Responsible for the whole design process including research, design, testing and iteration.
Volvo is currently redesigning Volvocars.com. My project focuses on the car configurator. Right now, there is not an easy way to “save” or “keep” a configured car on volvocars.com. This means the exploration and personalization a customer makes when configuring their car is easily lost. My task was to come up with a solution for this problem.
During the car shopping process, it takes an extended period of time to move from research to purchase. Customers may tweak one or several models to see what options are available and how much those options would cost. During this process customers may research across different devices and in different dealerships.
The hypothesis is that being able to view/return to a previously configured car will not only be a more enjoyable experience and set Volvo apart from competition, it will also potentially increase conversion.
I started off conducting a lot of secondary and primary research. I looked at Volvos direct and indirect competitors across the digital landscape, spoke with customers and salesman and observed different dealerships. Further, I conducted usability tests on the current saving and sharing of configurations on Volvocars.com. I spoke with different engineers about possible options to save customer data and collaborated with the analytics team to understand the current customer journeys on Volvocars.com. In addition, I met with the Legal Department to understand the GDPR regulations that would influence my designs.
In order to understand how different eCommerce sites currently show configurations and store user data I analyzed over 20 different configuration tools. I learned what kind of strategies are used not only in the automotive industry but also on other eCommerce sites.
While going through the websites I especially focused on understanding how the user data was being stored. Some interesting insights were for instance, that many automotive companies did not give the user any option to save the configurations they had built. When they did, they most often gave them a configuration code or URL to hold on to until revisiting the website. Some however allowed the user to save and compare different vehicles. One company even gave the user the option to not only compare their own builds and models with each other, but also to competitor brands. Another interesting finding was that one automotive company tricked the user into signing up through dark patterns.
In addition to learning from direct competitors I also analyzed indirect competitors. I identified different mental models that represent the stored location of previously built configurations and compared the different use of language.
Configured models are currently only stored through a URL link which has a generated configuration code attached to it. This does not allow the user to easily save or return back to previously built configurations. The ideal solution should include:
- Permanence across devices/ multi device support
- The ability to store user data for an extended period of time
- Possibility to share configurations
- Require as little user investment as possible
- Allow users to compare configurations
- Be easy to access
It was important for me to understand how the current website was being used. I wanted to know which mental models existed and which pain points I should be aware of. For that, I usability tested the current website with 8 individuals. The participants were asked to complete several specific tasks, while thinking out loud. I filmed, voice recorded, and screen recorded their interactions on both desktop and mobile.
I visited competitor dealerships as well as Volvo dealerships to get more insights. In addition to that I interviewed two Volvo salesmen and learned that they are using the configurator as well. This was completely new information for me, so I based the interviews around it and asked them to walk me through their usual interactions with it and explain their usual use cases.
I worked together with the Analytics Department to find out exactly how customers currently use the website. I analyzed the clicks on the USA page of Volvocars.com for the week of 06.05.2019 - 06.11.2019.
After the first round of research I synthesized the data into key insights. I presented my research to 12 people on the design team in Gothenburg (Sweden), Sunnyvale and San Francisco in a video conference and got very good feedback.
I further shared some more in depth information with individuals on different teams who could use my findings in their work. While starting the ideation process, I continued to meet with people from different fields to further understand the dealership customer experience, how dealerships use the car configurator as a tool to educate customers, and how customers currently share their configurations with dealerships, friends, and family.
I started sketching out all kinds of different flows and kept sharing my sketches, flows, Lo-fi Wireframes, Sitemaps and Prototypes with my manager and members of the UX team.
I started flushing out different flows which store user data differently and have different interactions. Some were only using the users email or phone number as an identification, others used an account creation or a log in with. In some I tried to work with the system that Volvo currently has (URL with configuration code), trying to improve the design of it, whereas in others I only worked with persistent cookies or local storage.
I continued designing many different layouts trying to find the right interaction and UI Design.
As I narrowed down on a final flow my wireframes became more detail oriented and the feedback more specific. I designed hundreds of different layouts with only slight changes. The design language for the new website had already been designed, however some parts were still under development so I constantly communicated with the rest of my team. I also collaborated with a UX Writer on wordings.
After a lot of organizing and scheduling I usability tested my High Fi Prototype with 8 members of the VoV (Voice of Volvo) Group. Each testing took about 1hour. The participants were video and voice recorded and the screen with the prototype was screen recorded. Each session started with some questions about their previous experience purchasing a Volvo and using the website/ configurator. Then they were given the prototype and asked to think out loud while completing a specific task. Towards the end I asked more questions about their experience with the prototype.
I continued working on the design and changed many of the newly found pain points. After changing the design, I conducted a second smaller round of testing with two participants, where I tested the changes I made so far.
I presented the prototype and my work around the same time to my manager and some of the designers of dotcom in the US and Sweden and received even more valuable feedback. After going through the usability tests one by one and summarizing the insights, I iterated the designs and got feedback on them again.
After completing the design, I presented my solution, a flow that includes three different depths through which configurations can be saved to the entire Sunnyvale Office including the Head of UX and Vice President/ Head of Consumer Digital.
Volvo has already started launching its new website. I will be able to publish my designs once Volvo rolls out the new configurator flow on volvocars.com.
I loved the time I spend at Volvo and I had so much fun in and outside of the office. I learned so many new things about Volvo and the automotive industry and I loved conducting research, meeting, talking and collaborating with all kinds of interesting people. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have worked on an extremely interesting project.
Contact me for further details or to see the recommendation from my manager Garrett Gonzales.