User Experience    •    Design    •    Web

Mitsubishi Motors

Nural Choudhury served as Director of User Experience for Critical Mass in 2018. There he led the product development for Mitsubishi Motors’ global digital platforms and created an experience that struck a balance between consumer intent and business targets. The role was hands-on, strategic and involved conceptualising and designing a first-class product experience that served multiple sets of user groups.

  • Mitsubishi Motors
  • Automotive
  • Design, UX, Digital Strategy
  • February - November 2018
  • Set to launch Mid-2019
Approach

For this project, we used a hypothesis-driven (Lean UX) model, as to Mitsubishi’s admission they didn’t have any real user or market data. A heuristic analysis seemed the logical starting point to gather insight.

In our study, we noticed that the global priorities differed to regional ones. Stakeholder interviews told us that global success hinged on growth and long-term sustainability, prioritising brand and product, above revenue and inventory.



Regionally these goals were seen to work in reverse. They mainly talked about shifting inventory via incentivised promotion. Mostly due to the fact car sales had a quantifiable figure attached to it.

Our experience in the sector told us that having a short-term focus like this was a brand killer. Competing goals like this create a weakened experience for the user. There was nothing that made products identifiable. Clusters of information would cry for attention on the same screen and seem to avert focus and hinder natural flows.

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

Processes like the configurator became a painful experience. When researching, the completion of simple tasks didn't provide a positive outcome for users and created red tape and barriers that include repetition.

What we had to do was tell consumers about the strength of our brand, so they could see product value, become committed and make repeat purchases over time.



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.