Verizon® Fleet Vehicle Marketplace
Verizon Telematics had aspirations of launching a rental marketplace where owners of fleet vehicles could rent and lease other fleet vehicles (think Airbnb for fleet vehicles). The team had been working without UX or product design for roughly six months when I was brought on board so I knew my work was cut out for me. As always, I started with interviewing key influencers as well as the Telematics team to develop my first round of user stories.
By the end of the first week, I had organized enough user stories to complete the first draft of our MVP product requirements (PR Doc) and a flow diagram. Since the team wasn't used to working with a product designer, it was challenging to navigate the team's needs vs wants. I remained focused on the user stories and reassured them that just because we weren't including the kitchen sink at launch didn't mean we couldn't include it soon after.
We spent about two weeks refining the user stories, PR Doc, and flow chart until the team was confident in our approach. In the mean time, I began researching other rental model solutions and started drafting interface ideas to solve for confirmed needs.
Throughout the discovery phase, I assigned homework to the Telematics team to ensure our roadmap remained on schedule. Specifically, I knew it would take time to define the pricing model, complete the vehicle attributes, and identify fleet owners willing to test our prototype so I had them focus on those items first.
At the end of week four, I presented my first draft of screens. Initially, the team wanted the supply (people leasing their vehicles) and demand (people renting vehicles) to be separate systems and interfaces, however, keeping the flows separate didn't solve a user need and only complicated engineering efforts. In addition, I advocated that combining the supply and demand flows into one account simplified the experience and broadened the user-base by enabling supply users to easily become demand users and vice versa.
After a week of refining the prototype, I cleaned up the UI before our first round of user tests. I didn't want the UI to mask potential UX problems so I stuck with a basic interface patterns and color schemes.
The first round of testing was a disaster. The team insisted that they conducted the tests but didn't understand the difference between a user test (validating the need) and a usability test (validating the solution). As any product designer can attest, this is a scary situation to be in since the team was concluding that because my solution was easy to use, it must have succeeded in solving the user needs. I realized that I needed to change our testing approach so I took a giant step back and created a low-fi desktop flow.
I was finally able to convince the team that ease of use wasn't the same as validating needs and inherited the role of test proctor for the remaining round of tests. By asking questions unrelated to the UI, we uncovered a lot more about the concerns and friction points of the fleet owners; primarily of which revolved around the liability of their vehicles and drivers.
By week thirteen, the team and I had completed 300+ user stories, 6 rounds of user testing, 12 iterations of the solution, 50+ pages of product requirements, and a complete, interactive prototype shown below with both the supply and demand onboarding and rental flows. The testing continued, however, it was becoming apparent that the marketplace idea might not be viable.
The hardest part of any assignment is falling in love with the needs without falling in love with the solution. Though we had designed an amazing platform, the liability and complex insurance requirements proved too much of a barrier to earn the endorsement of our testers and subject matter experts. The Telematics team was emphatic that we push forward into development, but the testing we had conducted proved that the idea wasn't viable and it was time to move on.
Stakeholders Verizon Telematics
Product Design, UX, UI James Lacey
Engineering Support Chad Francis, Shameem Akhter
UX Research Tom Karros, James Lacey
UX Testing Cass Crockatt, James Lacey