Strategic design upgrade helps boosts the number of clean cars for all
“I now have a reliable, clean air vehicle that I never would have been able to afford on my own”—R.Owner
Clean Cars For All © provides income eligible applicants a grant based down-payment for up to $9500 towards the purchase of a “clean” renewable energy vehicle. Despite the clear benefits of the program, applicant start and completion rates remained abysmal.
During a 3 week design sprint, my team and I integrated business strategy with design methods to find the right problem. Our results, ultimately led to a service design upgrade plus additional usability modifications to help boost the number of clean cars for all by a projected 15%.
How might we boost the number of clean reliable energy efficient vehicles in underserved communities?
Clearing Conversion Blockage..
Applicants abandoned the process somewhere between awareness and engagement. Clean Cars designed a compelling solution to a problem the target applicants were not convinced needed solving.
More Stakeholders, More Problems…
Multiple stakeholders all believed that the application portal was at the heart of the matter, especially the account setup and the document upload portions of the form.
Mapping out the scope…
Clients wanted to increase the number of people who start and complete the application process. The flow chart maps the process from awareness to application submission and represents the scope of the project
TESTING STAKEHOLDER THEORIES
Results from 13 usability tests challenged stakeholder belief that the portal was the primary deterrent. Perhaps, our biggest insight: Unclarity of terms caused some confusion and misinterpretation about the program. Few people understood the eligibility requirements, the incentives, and the value proposition of the program.
On to the next hypothesis…
Interviews at the outreach event confirmed that technical limitations were less of a barrier to entry than previously believed. Successful applicants overcame barriers if they were motivated to complete the process.
“Hold Up! Scrap my car?! My car gets me across the bridge everyday for work” —R. Owner
Much more than polluting scrap…
Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it. User testing showed that prospective applicants had a negative reaction to the use of the word “scrap”. So, we tested several versions of copy to learn how to better communicate the program’s goals.
Value motivates applicants…
We used our client co-design studio to better understand our applicants to figure out how to best communicate the program’s value propositions. We believed if applicants fully understood what was to be gained, clean cars would not be such a tough sell.
Re-Defining “low income”
We began with existing demographic data. To everyone’s surprise, our provisional users were ethnically diverse, fairly educated with a high school diploma or higher and were within prime working ages, between 25-64 and not the senior citizens once believed.
Putting a human face to the problem
Based on the results of our journey mapping session with the clients, we decided to choose images that reflect the highest point of program satisfaction which is when the applicant finally receives a clean car.
Although, usability issues were not the primary pain point, our team decided to reduce frictions noted by users to help increase overall trust of the program and process.
Tactical improvements included:
Hero image addition. We included the hero images based on our findings from the journey mapping. We wanted a clear reminder of what the outcome of the program would be if eligible applicants actually completed the process.
Content Strategy: We used more approachable language in copy to better communicate with our users and rearranged existing content to help simply the process for users.