Performance of the car
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Performance of the car

This was a take-home assignment for my internship at Crux Intelligence.

Problem statement

Design a web interface to monitor the performance of a car.

Spend time with at least 3 people who fit target users. Identify pain points that they face while monitoring the performance of their car.

Target user

The user owns a car (between 10 - 20L INR) and has been using it for 1 year now.

Deliverables

  • Recorded video interviews with users (at least 3)
  • Documentation of insight gathering to solution approach (bonus points for creating a decision tree of which problem(s) you chose to solve in your design and why)

Duration

5 days

Final prototype

PS: Enter full screen mode by pressing the icon on the top right corner of the file below or use this link to view the prototype in the browser - Link

Understanding

Firstly, I had no idea about the users and their need to know the performance of the car. I have been driving car myself for only about 3 months (15 years old car :p), so I started out the process with user research.

User research

Before diving right into talking to the users, I wanted to make sure I was sure about the goals, outcomes and had some awareness about the conversations to nudge them whenever that was needed.

The research was exploratory. The main motive of the interview was to listen to their stories that they associated with their cars and try to gain insights out of them.

The 3 big questions

  1. What does your car mean to you and what for what purpose you use your car?
  2. What are your worst experiences with your car in the past?
  3. How do you maintain/monitor your car's performance?

These are the big questions that I did be asking them or nudging them in order to gain valuable information and keep the conversion going.

What do I want to learn from these interviews?

I want to learn their relationship with the car and how they interact with it on a regular basis. With this I aim to listen to their stories and try to zoom in too understand how it relates to car's performance.

After gathering all these information, I hope to gain insights and pain points that they are facing.

Before getting into the first question, I try to make them feel comfortable by talking something common or random. Out of 7 people I talked to 3 were my friends and 4 were from a design community I'm a part of. So the initial trust was there between us and they were ready to share their stories.

I make sure I clarify this is not a "survey" because then they tend to give very objective answers which can be misleading.

Also the term "performance" wasn't used (or mentioned at the end), because I felt if I used that the conversation would just revolve around speed, acceleration, etc. The performance of a car can be dependent on many other factors, so in order to cover those I wanted the conversation to revolve around their experiences and the places their car lacked the performance that was expected by them.

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Detailed questioner to guide the conversation (click the toggle)

As I mentioned, I talked to 7 people in total. One was an offline conversations so got the audio recorded.

The user personas of these 7 people varied from one another. I wasn't able to talk to people who fit exactly in the user group. Majority of the people I talked to had a car of range 10L - 20L; they have been driving cars for about 2 years or more.

The conversations went good, the initial 2 conversation really helped me iterate and identify where I made mistakes in leading them into something.

Link to the user interview recordings - Google Drive Link

User interviews

These 7 users can be grouped into 3 different user groups according to their user groups/personas

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These 3 user groups have totally different goals and pain points. Their way of interacting with their car is different. So I decided to focus on one user group that might need assistance in monitoring their car's performance and then try to understand their pain points to solve for them.

Intermediate & Cautious are the people who might need this solution more than others and it is the user group I can understand better as there are more people.

Newbie & Carefree

They don't yet recognize the pain points or they are reluctant and care less about their car's performance.

Intermediate & Cautious

They care about their car's performance and also maintain them in pretty good shape. Have faced few pain points with car's performance rarely.

Expert & Aware

They take utmost care of their car. They don't mind spending to keep up the car's performance. Interesting their pain points lie in car dealers/service centers rather that the car itself. Have faced and are facing issues in getting the car fixed, and not in monitoring the performance.

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Intermediate & Cautious

*General persona

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Age 22 years - 30 years old

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Owns a car; 10L - 20L

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Driving for > 2 years

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Takes their car at least once/twice a week

They use their car regularly for various reasons such as weekend drives, daily commute and take the car for a long trip rarely. They maintain their car in good shape and keep up with the service routine.

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They are not too interested into knowing the technical details of the car, rather they go with their intuition while driving to monitor their car's performance.

Insights and Pain points

  • During the weekend drives and daily commute, most common was the issues with the wheels of the car that hinders the performance. Many had punctures the day/week before they had to take their car. Most of these punctures come out of nowhere, but it stops them from using the car until it gets fixed. They also have alignment and balancing issues.
  • The regular monitoring and maintenance that they do to avoid this fill the air in the tyres, make sure if it's in right pressure and fill the air at the right pressure all the time. They keep track of this regularly just through intuition while driving and seeing the wheels.

  • Another common story that I observer and also have heard was the usage of fuel. The fuel prices have been increasing a lot lately. Efficiency is one of the important aspects of a car's performance for this user group.
  • They monitor the amount of fuel used and try to figure out their driving pattern to maximize the efficiency of the car. There are many factors other than the driving pattern that can affect the efficiency of the car, keeping track of those are usually hard but important to these users.

  • This is a more specific use case when they take their car for a long drive. They always check the basic parameters such as engine oil condition, clutch condition, suspension (sometimes) etc. before they take on the long journeys. Monitoring these will give them assurance with the long journey they had planned and reduce the risk of failure while maintaining a good performance.

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The parameters that help them monitor and handle these situations are to be given the highest priority.

The parameters are identifies through secondary research and further conversations with these people.

Pain points to solve for -

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Inefficiency in monitoring the fuel consumption.

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Lack of alert/prompts that suggest regular maintenance of car to avoid major risks.

Define

Design a web interface to push alerts on maintenance that is required to be done to avoid major risks and also help monitoring the fuel consumption via tracking the right parameters; thus suggesting actions needed to be performed to make the car more efficient.

Potential Parameters required

This is where secondary research came into picture. Here are some of the major parameters that I came across on multiple products that help monitor the car's performance -

  • Vehicle speed
  • Ignition timing
  • Air-fuel mix
  • Turbo boost pressure
  • Exhaust gas temperature
  • Coolant temperature
  • Engine RPM
  • Torque
  • Mass air flow
  • Engine load
  • Air intake temperature

These general parameters that are used across many products over the internet. But these don't actually solve the pain points of our user group because data alone have no meaning without the right communication. Moreover the user group that we are trying to solve are not aware/interested to know these parameters and it's relationship with the effect in real world.

So here taking a more top down approach works because that is how the communication is going to happen.
  • The list of alerts that needs to be tracked -
  1. Tire condition
  2. Engine condition
  3. Battery condition
  • Track the fuel efficiency of the car

These 2 are the top most hierarchy of the communication. This is what the users needs. From this we can breakdown the necessary parameters to keep track of these particular activities.

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Alerts

Tire condition

  • Air Pressure (TPMS - Tire pressure monitoring system)
  • DWS - Deflation warning system
  • Suspension condition

Engine condition

  • Engine RPM
  • Torque
  • Turbo boost pressure
  • Engine load
  • Coolant temperature
  • Exhaust gas temperature
  • Air Intake temperature
  • Mass air flow

Battery condition

  • Last time the car was switched on
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Fuel efficiency

  • Quick acceleration
  • Heavy braking
  • Speeding
  • Car's general condition

These are all the parameters that we'll be considering for monitoring the car's performance. All these have been selected based on resources available over the internet and a conversation with a friend of mine.

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Assumption - I assume these data are readily available and moving forward with designing the screens.

Ideation & rough sketch

Forgive me, I scribble on my notebooks. I thought there is no point in adding those, so decided to point out the end result of this process.

The product can be used in 2 different use cases -

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While driving the car

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Not driving the car

The dashboard take different form during these 2 situations. I went ahead with designing for the core flow of the web - The Dashboard. Which comes after the initial sign up and establishing the connection with the car.

As mentioned before, the first layer of communication happens through reports, alerts. This is to communicate what the users exactly need without pushing them to interpret the data themselves.

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This is the site map. The web interface is going to be a dashboard that has all these information on the first layer (screen). Each one is a card of it's own and expands when the users needs more information on them.

Information Architecture

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Figma Documentation

I have documented the process in this Figma file. Here's the link the the file - Link