Honda Comparison Tool Case Study

Redesigning the comparison tool

Comparison Tool

My role

  • Design research
  • UX design
  • Prototypes

The comparison tool and other shopping tools are important components of American Honda’s automobile website.

The compare tool provided detailed product information in a format that allowed shoppers to compare what matters most to them across the Honda model they are considering and similar competitive models. On this project I worked on:

  • Competitive audit of other OEM compare tools
  • Content audit of existing compare tool
  • Wireframes and prototypes

THE PROBLEM

The existing comparison tool was outdated and it prominently featured characteristics about the vehicles that were unlikely to be top evaluative criteria, for example, intermittent windshield wipers. It also had verbose specification headers that were harder read and compare.

The redesign goal was to improve the comparison tool completion rate because analytics indicated significant drop-off on the second step in the existing multi-step comparison process. The team designed, measured analytic KPIs, then iterated again. Analytic KPIs validated the redesign.


RESEARCH

Analytics indicated that most drop-off occurred at the second step of the process. Looking at the second step suggested that the “Next Step” button was being cut off by the right edge of users browser windows because the old comparison tool was not responsive.

Old Compare Tool showing Suspected DropOff cause

I performed a comprehensive competitive audit of other OEM comparison tools.

Original Honda Compare Results Categories Proposed Honda Compare Results Categories
Quality and Value Analysis Overall Value Price & Value
Quality and Value Analysis Warranty Fuel Economy/MPG
Performance & Engineering Engine & Transmission Comfort & Convenience
Performance & Engineering Braking & Suspension Safety & Security
Specifications Interior
Safety & Security Dimensions/Seating
Comfort & Convenience Interior Performance
Comfort & Convenience Seating Warranty
Comfort & Convenience Audio  
Comfort & Convenience Storage  
Comfort & Convenience Exterior  
Specifications Capacity & Volume  
Specifications Dimensions  
Specifications Wheels & Tires  

I proposed simplifying the language of the results categories to make them easier to scan and compare.

New Honda compare results categories Most common OEM compare results categories in descending order
Quality and Value Analysis Capacity/Dimensions/Measurements
Performance & Engineering Safety
Safety & Security Warranty
Comfort & Convenience Price
Specifications Fuel Economy
  Performance
  Exterior
  Summary
  Powertrain
  Interior
  Mechanical
  Feature
  Photos/Images
  Comfort & Convenience

THE OPPORTUNITY

Most OEMs have a one-step process, e.g. they provide a competitive comparison to
pre-selected competitors by default.

Most OEMs provide competitive comparisons, Toyota provides a trim comparison tool. Few OEMs provide a model to model comparison tool.


Exploration and Iteration

Compare Tool wireframes

Sketches were mostly done on paper, many different UI interactions were explored including a change vehicle menu for quickly configuring the comparison.

The new compare tool would be responsive and the wireframes featured multiple breakpoints. I proposed fixing the headers at the top of the browser window as the user scrolled down, similar to how the headers in the iOS contacts app animate as the list is scrolled. I created a simple HTML prototype to demonstrate how the headers would behave.

Competitive compare sticky headers
Sticky headers
Compare tool prototype

I created a click-through prototype of the whole compare process to show how users will either be shown results immediately or choose a vehicle depending on their context.

User flow

Traffic from model specific pages is directed immediately to competitive results for the model the user is currently viewing.

Competitive compare user flow

Wireframes

I added filters to the vehicle selection step.

Competitive compare wireframe

I added larger photos of the Honda model. We also included space for three competitive models and added a scrolling table with sticky headers to detail the results.

Competitive compare wireframe

Finished design

Competitive compare finished design

Quinn Fu turned my wireframes into this finished designs.

Competitive compare finished design

Phase Two: Adding Trim Comparison

Compare traffic flow

Analytics indicated that 70% of users accessed the comparison tool
from a model page.

In addition, 42% of users who came from a model page came from the Options & Pricing tool. A trim comparison tool will make it easier to understand the differences between trims than the feature list shown below.

Options and pricing tool

Analytics showed that 30% of users who started at the home page while 23% accessed the tool from Build & Price (pictured below).

Build and price tool

A survey run on users of the Comparison tool discovered that 59% wanted to compare Honda models to another Honda.

Competitive vs. Model to Model

Exploration and Iteration

While inelegant, a modal window on model pages allows the user to choose between the two different compare use-cases to go directly to results.

Compare Modal

We added a trim comparison screen to the compare tool accessible from the modal displayed when the user clicks compare on model pages.

Compare with trim selectors

Finished designs

Compare with trim selectors
Finished design of modal

OUTCOME

Results and what I learned:

  1. Analytics data can indicate existing usability issues. Metrics like bounce rate, conversion rate and engagement can help measure the effectiveness of new design iterations.
  2. The new compare tool had a higher completion rate than the original tool.
  3. After the compare tool was redesigned to include trim-level data, the bounce rate from the compare results page to trim pages dropped.

Wireframes:

Honda Compare Tool: Wireframes [PDF]

American Honda: automobiles.honda.com


#ui #interaction