car2go always wants to listen to the car2go members. That is why the company has started a number of new initiatives to involve members more in the process of designing features for the apps and websites.
User testing has always been part of the car2go design and development process. Tests are mostly used to learn more about how people use the service, but also as a baseline for identifying and overcoming usability issues members have e.g. when using the app or doing their first drive.
However, in the last months the car2go development team explored new ways of involving members earlier in the design process to learn from them and get feedback on ideas.
Foundation research to inform design
When planning to design a new feature, the team starts with defining what goals they want to achieve for the members and for car2go as an organization.
From here, existing analytics and data from previous user- and market research is collected to understand what the team already knows and what they might not know about user behavior and best practices.
Based on this initial analysis the product development team will define a number of critical questions that they want answered to inform the design of the feature.
Including Social Media channels in the research approach
As an example of this approach, car2go recently asked members on social media questions about what information is most important when selecting a vehicle in the app. Almost 400 members from across multiple countries participated.
The data was incredibly valuable to the product development team, giving them confidence in decisions around prioritizing the right vehicle information in the app.
In the coming months, people will be able to see how the results of this survey have affected the car2go apps.
Design sprints and “guerilla testing”
Another example of the increasing involvement of members is the design sprints. Continuing from the foundation research, the next step is to start the actual design process.
Recently the car2go product development team introduced design sprints. With design sprints, they are able to design a feature in just five days, build an interactive prototype and validate it with real users.
The method they are using was developed by Google Ventures and is an efficient way of collaborating on a design solution within a team, explore multiple ideas through short iterations and validate the best ideas.
The team just completed a design sprint across the locations Stuttgart and Hamburg. Over the five days, they built an interactive prototype of a new feature. The development team tested the new feature with colleagues within Daimler and on the streets of Hamburg.
This type of early user testing is often referred as “guerilla testing” because it is literally approaching people on the streets e.g. in locations where car2go has park spots and ask them for feedback on a new design.
User testings are the most valuable input
The idea is not to have a fully functioning, great looking feature but convey the basic idea of the feature with some simple interactions and ask people to use it.
The learnings from the user testing are very valuable to the team.
After achieving the feedback, the next step is to move into finalizing the design and prepare for the development.
Similar to the member survey, the design sprint approach and especially the early user testing helped to learn more about how members would use a new feature and to to gain confidence in ideas.
What are your thoughts about involving members in product development processes and have you ever taken part in research with car2go or other companies? We would love to hear about your experiences.