User Experience    •    Design    •    Web

Mitsubishi Motors

I served as Director of User Experience for Critical Mass in 2018. I led the creation of compelling and creative experiences that struck a balance between consumer intent and business targets. My role was hands-on, strategic and involved concept creation, designing, and delivery of first-class product experiences for multiple sets of user groups.

An obvious requirement of my position involved building, leading, and growing a highly collaborative team; inclusive of the Visual/Interaction Designers, Researchers, Analysts and other production departments.

Achievements: leading the product development of Mitsubishi Motors’ global digital platforms.

  • Mitsubishi Motors
  • Automotive
  • Design, UX, Digital Strategy
  • February - November 2018
  • Launch site
Situation

The way the client currently worked was out of necessity. Nothing was centralised, and they were leaking money. They also didn't have clear visibility on where efforts were duplicated. Being their digital agency of record, we suggested a new CMS that supported the global brand vision.

A CMS that had a refined UX, UI, could scale and become optimised as market needs shifted. One that would drive the conversion, captured data to fuel insights and one that could take advantage of cultural differences and unique behaviours of each market.

Obstacle

They also came up with the following KPIs:

  • Top 3 OEM Website
  • Increase in traffic
  • 30% qualified leads/traffic
  • +5-10% OaO (Overall opinion) for the contents of 3 functional values compared w/ Mitsubishi brand OaO

Which could have been copied and pasted from any client Marketing handbook, do I decided we needed to take a step back and define the brief accurately. Providing meaning to the numbers and defining how we could effectively measure the success of this project.



Action

I thought it best to use a Lean UX model so we could bring order and structure our efforts. I started off with Stakeholder interviews with our project owners and found that Global success hinged on Growth and long-term sustainability. They prioritised Brand and Product, above Revenue and Inventory.

Next, we sent our team out to gain an understanding of the sales process, the language they used and to see what we had to emulate online to achieve the business key objectives.

In the example here, the team went to one of the Key Service and maintenance locations in Japan. We asked them to document the sale process and armed them with a set of questions so we could identify what language that led to conversion.

These visits were extremely valuable, as regionally these goals were seen to work in reverse. Regionally they talked about shifting inventory via incentivised promotion and personalising conversations based on a historical interaction. The main reason for this as car sales had a quantifiable figure attached to it and could be measured.

Our experience in the sector, tells us that having a short-term focus like this is a brand killer. These competing goals create a weakened experience for the user. There's nothing that makes our products identifiable. Clusters of information cry for attention on the same screen and seem to avert focus and hinder natural flows.

The design is Inconsistent between sections, creating confusion for users browsing around the site. They have to learn how each page works whenever they move around. Messaging seems Impersonal, robotic and spammy. Stuffed with irrelevant ads and unspecific content.

Processes like the configurator are a painful experience when researching. The completion of simple tasks does not even provide a positive outcome for the user. Red tape creates many barriers that include repetition. What we needed to do was tell consumers about the strength of our brand and demonstrate product value so they become committed to the brand and make repeat purchases.

Archetypes

We decided to focus on behavioural archetypes instead of personas or linear consumer journeys. We know that users no longer follow simple 'golden paths to purchase.' They take advice from friends and use digital tools to do conduct research independently. They’ll compare products, place orders quickly, and expect doorstep delivery.

Users need to feel in control, see the inherent value in making a transaction and an overall need to feel good about the decisions they have made.

By focusing on the four fundamental user mindsets that Mitsubishi buyers fall into - “Active and Passive” and “Rational and Emotional” we were able to create four behaviour archetypes to predict and service customer intent.



The first is ‘The Engaged Life-stylist’ - For a user like this, we need to educate them for them to progress to the next phase of the consumer cycle.

The next is ‘The Eager Expert’ - For a user like this, we need to facilitate them for them to progress to the next phase of the consumer cycle.

The Casual Detective - For a user like this, we need to support them for them to feel satisfied that they have chosen the right company to do business with.

Finally we have the Uncommitted Daydreamer - For a user like this, we need to Inspire them for them to progress to the next phase of the consumer cycle.

We then conducted a content audit, looked at any existing analytics data to try and figure out what the key tasks users were aiming to do on mitisubish.com

With mindset, emotional triggers and consumer cycles. IT became apparent to us that the experience needed to be simple. We needed to create clear channels that speak to users at the appropriate part of the consumer cycle.

We devised a Subjective organisation scheme and categorised in a fashion that considers the user’s mental model.



Subjective organisation

This type of categorisation helps facilitate learning by assisting users to understand and draw connections between pieces of content. The content must lend itself to users very quickly, allowing users to self-identify which audience they belong. Essentially a user should always find a relevant entry point from the top level menu items.



For example, the homepage was designed for someone in the Awareness stage and organised around the specific subject matter of Mitsubishi cars, the Brand story around the development of these vehicles. We have to create awareness of the brand here too and promote heritage for emotional user types.

Additionally, let the rational user types find what they're looking for while subtly offer up emotional arguments for Mitsubishi and access the core key business actions all in one location.



Creative

Amsterdam Worldwide (Mitsibushi's brand development partner) began to drip feed us pieces of creative. They gave us a 'beta' font, colour palette, presentation materials and a tighter logo lockup. Our designers used what they were given and played around with space, contrast — looking at ways to tell stronger stories that were more contemporary and unified to the Mitsubishi brand. Our core creative challenge was to create a design system that was scalable and could stand the test of time as new campaigns were rolled out.

The system needed to cater to all global languages, character sets, copy lengths and other localisations, while still retaining a tailored feel and fit.

On the back of the visual exploration and discovery, we went through a couple of rounds of concepts where we very quickly arrived at a design aesthetic that was starting to balance brand and functional needs.

Animation and interaction design was always cored to our thinking even in the early days - ensuring our design was thought through not only in its static form but expressed through micro-transitions and element transitions. We hope you enjoy the final result.