Buying a car is an emotional and physical experience. The smell of a showroom, the feel of cold metal, as you run your hand over the A-pillar onto the roof. The ‘car configurator’ needed to do the same job but in a virtual space.
To tackle this challenge, we started off with a holistic assessment of the existing solution, pin-pointing possible exit points where people might fail to complete of all the steps in the process.
We got to know the users
Studying the site’s analytics showed us exactly where people where giving up and leaving in their session. Then, by adding user research to the mix, we were able to gain a very good understanding about what people found challenging about the configurator, which parts people found frustrating, and therefore, which parts needed to be improved.
One of the things we noticed from our research is that configurator tools were not designed to work on mobile. Generally, functionality was always scaled back to basic visual decisions, such as paint colour and trim, or the functionality not available at all on mobile devices, as Flash/Silverlight was being used.
With mobile and tablet use on the increase, and realising that the non-visual decisions were critical for getting users to the end goal of configuring a car they can realistically buy, delivering a completely multi-channel solution was the only way to go.
To solve this challenge, we needed to re-think how the user interacted with the data. One way we did this was to utilise the landscape and portrait orientations of the phone, to deliver different sets of information.
So if you’re looking at it in portrait view, there is a more functional experience. But if you rotate the device sideways, it throws away all of the options and just makes it a purely visual experience.
A further improvement to the car configurator is being able to quickly access previous configurations that you’ve made in the configurator, as the last three sessions get saved dynamically.
So if you exit the process half way through, or start configuring another car, you can simply pick up where you left off last time. No more starting from scratch. And another barrier removed, that could prevent the user reaching an end-point.