Product Design for Renault
Renault, the market leader in Turkish automotive industry, wanted to create own digital platform and products for their customers.
As previous engineering-led projects had lackluster results, this time they wanted to go with a design-first approach; thus, I was hired as a Product Designer to help them create an app.
Creating a useful and usable application that satisfies needs of users regarding the ownership of their cars, while also complying with the requests and needs of different departments, especially marketing.
I helped the team learn about product design methodologies, human-centered design principles, research processes, and how to create a modern application by caring for the users.
The app also won the Best Cloud Software Project award in IDC Turkey 2018 Cloud Awards, for our usage of design and research methodologies by harvesting technological imporevements which enabled us to test and adapt to reactions earlier in the creation process.
Feasibility & Research
I was handed a bare-bones list of feature requests from marketing.
I gathered a team from different departments such as customer relations, IT, marketing, quality assurance, and sales. We started our research on user requests, as well as abilities Renault had.
We also pulled up recordings from call centers, customer complaints from social networks, and talked to a few dealerships about issues they had with the customers.
As patterns for the predominant issues started to emerge, we created small tests -both behavioural and technical- to see if our designs would work.
For example, many calls to the call center during the day were about a “radio code” that users had to enter had they disconnected the radio or their battery from the car. The code required the user to look up various numbers throught the car, but it turned out that -eventually- the plate number could be enough. A simple app that would later form the basis of the API for the microservice was created and deployed to the call centers. The response time statistics improved massively, and it was eventually built inside the app as a feature.
Interaction and Information Architecture Design
With the help of some card sorting exercises and the guidance of user interface guidelines from platform providers, I designed the prototype for an MVP that would have essential features that could be implemented right away. To test the interactions, I created the UI in Sketch and used Invision to create a flow. I also used Origami to test micro-interactions, and later, to deliver interaction patterns and animations to developers.
The project has research spread throughout its processes, and different methods are used for different methodologies.
Stakeholder interviews were completed first, and were done intermittently throughout the project.
User interviews and, once prototypes were done, guerilla tests helped align our goalpost and approve assumptions.
Different metrics and indicators were monitored to see how our changes affected them.
As development and integration continues during the beta period, we use tools such as LookBack and Instabug to run user tests and gather feedback from a selected number of participants.
A commercial platform backed by Oracle that provides similar experiences to React Native/Expo was used to develop the app. As the platform was more focused on engineering rather than UI, we worked closely with them to improve their offerings and offer more native-like UI elements and animations.
Also, despite the app being designed with accessibility in mind, the platform still has issues with VoiceOver elements and dynamic fonts, which are being worked on and will be fixed in subsequent beta releases.
During the project, I got to teach the teams how to use design thinking methods to design human-centered applications —-do research, create user journeys and task flows, design prototypes, run usability testing, and incorporate results from findings into solving problems.
During my time at Renault, I got to help them out with some internal projects as well.
I designed the new call-center app, including the “wayfinding” technology for the distressed users and roadside assistance providers. It pinpoints a users location and returns it to the call center, which is pushed to the roadside mechanics device. The user can also track where the mechanic is on the map.
This feature will eventually be implemented inside the main app, but in the meantime we wanted to get the feature up and running at the call centers to do some research. This feature would also have to work for users without the app, so a browser based location finder and tracker was implemented.
The project was unnamed, so I also got to decide on the codename, thus the Pixar reference. :)
The project is on track to be the first software to be commercialized by Renault MAİS, which will be sold to other companies in need of a call-center platform.
Renault dealerships need to get permissions from their regional managers to apply discounts to the cars sold. The dealers were complaining of late replies that lost them sales, and the corporate managers were struggling to find a remedy.
I ran a small research to find the root cause: The regional managers were always on the move, from one dealership to the other. The screen to approve discounts were regular Oracle database screens that required a full desktop experience to work correctly. Therefore, they only had the time to review requests during the evenings and weekends.
With a consequent research, I found out the most necessary information in the screen, and created a light-weight Material Design based web form that allowed the managers to approve discounts on the move.
This new little screen improved approval times immensely, resulting in happier dealers and increased sales.
Where Things Stand
Currently I am still working for Renault, albeit remotely.
Project RS is in a closed beta test, and we are running user researches for different features, as well as collecting bug reports. We are just weeks away from the public launch.
New projects are also in the talks.
And no, there are still no news about bringing Renault models to North America.