Due to not yet launched to market, material here is limited, none sensitive and simulated.

To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information in this case study. All information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of Nissan. No actual project information is shared here.

EV MOBILITY IS THE NEW NORMAL 

In 2011, Nissan Leaf was a cool way to get around the town. And by 2016, the EV trend started to transform into Smart Mobility. Leaf was just an EV; the experience was simply a car with a battery then, the new EV project was desperately in need of a new strategy beyond just designing another car with a battery.

Tokyo 2016, I shared a product design plan for regaining Nissan EV market leadership to Chief Planning Officer. The start of FUTURE EV VISION finally took off in early spring, 2017. I led a cross-function team & designed a tangible Nissan EV VISION in 6 months.

Nissan Leaf AD 2011

design by SPECS  vs  design by USERS 

After 6 years, with more than 300K+ Leaf sold over 60 countries, it was a phenomenon. Nissan was the biggest ZERO emission OEM. 

The spec driven EV Leaf hit the bottleneck 2 years after the launch with no upgradability nor connectivity but just an app for charging. Making a mass-production EV was not an issue but the specs just wasn't supporting new digital products integration nor off-board solutions. Leaf could not serve as an IoT enabler for a more seamless experience connecting to the outside world. 

EV IS BECOMING THE NEW BRAND POWER. 

The reviews speak for itself. 

Nissan Connected APP 2.0 still far from average (Source: Google Play Store)

Which official app should I download?  More is more but not necessarily better.

THE CHALLENGE

 6 MONTHS JOURNEY BEGINS

1st: Build a horizontal team across the departments and a new report structure to enable an AGILE process. 

 

2nd: Define the goal of "THE PROJECT" & "THE PROCESS".

Our original premise was very simple: Enjoy the best EV mobility. However, we weren't simply redefining what an attractive EV is supposed to be. Our ambition is beyond the EV but starting with the ideal EV ecosystem that can enable new digital products & design solutions, powered by USERS.

  USERS     >     EV ECOSYSTEM     >     EV PRODUCT   

MY ROLE 

 

I put together the project resources estimation, the schedule and the pilot team to get the final sign-off from Chief Planning Officer, design SVP and product planning SVP.

As the leader of this pilot EV team and acting product owner. My job was to inform key stakeholders in Japan while keeping the team independently working with users in fast pace.

Lead and oversight:

-Persona creation and Research user screening.

-Immersive user research (US & UK).

-Product UX Vision workshop facilitator (US & UK).

-User journeys and use cases. 

-Weekly physical & digital design sprint & planning. 

-Weekly iterative user testing and tracking. 

-External partnerships proposal, bidding, and collaboration. 

-UX design and VX design direction. 

-Functional requirements & technical feasibility with partners.

-High fidelity UX prototype specs and build follow up.  

-Internal and external partners project sync up.

the horizontal team & the product management

THE KICK OFF

LEARN THE UNKOWN "IN SITUS"

We didn't need to have a clear direction to start it but we clearly defined 3 personas in 2 city types in 2 different countries. Off we sent the team to research at the user's home.

This research showed us some EV users' challenges & opportunities, in order to accelerate the design, we used lean UX approach to test designing with users. 

27 USERS @ US: San Francisco (urban) / East Bay (suburban) - UK: London (urban) / Manchester (suburban)

EARLY INSIGHTS FROM THE RESEARCH 

 

At users' homes, we chat, we rode in their cars and observe what, how and when of their EV experience. Goals were to understand their journey of owning and driving EV everyday life, 

and validate the team's early UX concepts. 

in a high level, there are 3 categories we learned from the users.

-Want TRUST.

  -People like to be in control. 

  -OEMs need to win consumers’ trust. 

  -EV is the OEM's opportunity. 

-Want CONVENIENCE.

  -Cost not only motivator. 

  -Range issues should be non-issues.

  -Consumers want seamless solutions. 

-Want PERSONALIZATION.

  -High level of personalization desired.

  -Common actions most valued.

  -Mobility requires multiple personalized solutions. 

HYPOTHESIS IN PRACTICE: THE AGE OF CONVERGENCE

RAPID TESTING THE FUTURE 

We kicked off UX Vision workshop in US and UK, our purpose is to envision EV future with the users and the regional teams, we cover pain points, concepts, scenarios and content strategy, that can be quickly put on the test during the research phase. IoT, AI, mobility, health-well being, retails, Insurance, and charging, etc.... Identifying hero moments and we were eager to learn UX patterns and what kind of EV eco system needed. How people will use and think.

 

With 15 UX concepts in different forms of artifacts, we could validate with great certainty that not only the UX concepts were RIGHT ON but we also identified 3 core UX values that are the basis of success.

1- PERSONALIZATION

2- CONTEXTUAL AWARENESS

3- ENHANCED DRIVING  

UX concept workshop in US and UK

TESTING THE ELECTRIFICATION FUTURE

WEEKLY DESIGN SPRINT & micro sprints 

Validating hero paths are exciting, we set metrics to define what is success/failure and value proposition map for the users and the brand, so that we can distill the data to prioritize concepts.

Our sprints proved the research findings and many hero use cases were in line with the "GOLDEN EV JOURNEY" the team envisioned, except 1 thing we were wrong about was the social entertainment features. These are expected but there are more opportunities.

THE 7 MOST: UX concepts with hero use cases:

1- Connected anytime anywhere.

2- Knowing me & welcome me.

3- Most common action first.

4- Frictionless smart charging awareness.

5- Sensory mode shift. (Assistive Driving)

6- Contextual awareness.

7- It will only get better and...better.

After 4 low fidelity sprints with 24 internal users we were able to set final direction, so we can focus on the Eco System map and EV product's high-level requirements. This information helped us to identify the strategic partners for the next phase. We reached out and we were able to secure quickly the partnerships:

-Charging network supplier.

-Map Navigation system / POI data provider.

-Tier 1 supplier. Physical & software/digital system integrators.

-Tier 2 suppliers. Technology, data & SW/HW providers.

-SBiometry ID authentication for a more frictionless entry/exit UX.

Earlier design sprints with different artifacts.

GET REAL: PHYSICALLY BEAUTIFUL & DIGITALLY USEFUL

MAKING FRONT END UX PROTOTYPE 

The 7 UX concepts from the immersive and user co-creation workshops, these concepts became the user journeys and are getting build for real. Finally, physical and digital design with Cloud, data, API, were implemented to support with higher design fidelity and holistic user testing. Smile per mile is the team's ultimate goal. 

THE ULTIMATE FINAL TESTAlmost as it was real.

Besides, front end experience user testing, we also planned ahead and used production-grade components and software system in record 8 weeks time. So, we can also test the technical performance. We really meant to build an as close as possible true UX design to

demonstrate that NEXT EV VISION, that can also be translated into production smoothly.

During these last 8 weeks, we had about a total of 35 project team members perfecting this 1st kind of project in Nissan.

1- Connected anytime anywhere.

2- Knowing me & welcome me.

3- Most common action first.

4- Frictionless smart charging awareness.

5- Sensory mode shift. (Assistive Driving)

6- Contextual awareness.

7- It will only get better and...better.

These 3 concepts WOWed users.

THE AFTERMATH 

CHANGING THE TRADITIONAL AUTOMOTIVE

The biggest achievement in these 6 months; The user co-creation of new EV ecosystem and product UX design. This project really made the impact on Nissan executives "CHANGING THE CHANGE", the 1st team in Nissan that used User-Centered Design process to challenge the already started production program. 

Our project was presented to more than 30 executives in Japan, changing the way for

developing products powered by users, how the team approaches to solutions from problems and leading the product design from user/product journey instead of specs and styling. Able to influence and transform the organization mindset is surely the biggest momentum the team had accomplished.

Our team structure and process are currently replicated in Japan to many projects kicked off since 2018.