Making telematics useful for tractor owners

Kubota Case Study

Kubota App on Device

My role | Feb 2020 - Feb 2022

  • UI/UX design
  • UX Research
  • Prototypes

Team

  • Chuck McQuilkin, Design
  • Jason Berkley, Project Manager
  • Jaime Carbo, Android Developer
  • Paul Carroll, iOS Developer

Kubota is famous for manufacturing compact orange tractors. Kubota came to InMotion because they were unhappy with their existing iPhone/Android app. Kubota installed modems into their high-end machines for several years. Still, the system that collected the telematics data from the modems was incompatible with the iPhone app, and the app had several significant UX deficiencies. For this project I:

  • Created wireframes and prototypes
  • Produced High-fidelity UI designs of the new app in Sketch & Figma & Adobe XD

THE PROBLEM

Another InMotion designer had created high-fidelity prototypes that solved the UX problems with the existing MyKubota app, and our client had signed off on the prototypes. Then our client’s boss announced that he didn’t approve of any of InMotion’s designs. The project had gone sideways, and my CXO, Matthew Jewell, assigned me to rescue it.

I worked with InMotion’s CEO John Howard to try to rescue the relationship. John spent hours listening to our client’s problems with our designs over the phone. I began laying out every app screen in giant annotated flow diagrams that described how every portion of the app would operate and how each piece would fit together. Each chart had a line for our client’s signature. We sent these flow diagrams over to the client, and John talked them over with our client, and I made revisions as needed. Our client signed off on the app’s look, feel, and functionality within a couple of weeks. My CXO, Matthew Jewel, said he had never seen a client relationship turn so quickly from negative to positive in his career.


COMPETITIVE RESEARCH

InMotion interviewed four Kubota owners in the Austin area, and I turned our observations and notes into personas for Kubota app users.

Our main insights were:

  • Top goals for the app were finding manuals and schematics for repairing tractors
  • Short how-to videos all in one place could be helpful
  • Buying parts in the app could be helpful
Initial MyKubota App
Initial MyKubota App

THE OPPORTUNITY

Because the project had gone sideways, the effort unfolded in three stages. The first stage was to design and release a redesigned app, and I used the process I described above to get the app shipped. The second stage kicked off when Kubota came back to InMotion and asked us to add a way for owners to shop for compatible attachments. A third stage began when Kubota asked us to find a way to add a feature to help owners track maintenance.


Exploration and Iteration

The project’s first stage was to re-launch the app with improvements to the dealer search, guides, and manuals. These improvements deliver on the needs uncovered during the user interviews/personas.

Initial MyKubota App

When Kubota asked for an update to the app to allow owners to shop for compatible attachments, they asked that owners needed to be able to see the machines compatible with a particular attachment and as well as attachments compatible with machines. I designed an interface where users use search autosuggest to select and apply existing data attributes to expand or restrict the attachments shown.

Shopping for compatible attachments

View the Figma attachment prototype: Figma

When Kubota asked us to add a maintenance tracking feature to the app, they wanted it to take the form of a checklist, so I put together a simple flow that allows an owner to quickly get to a maintenance checklist for their machine.

Maintenance Tracking

View the Adobe XD prototype: Adobe XD


Heuristic Audit & Redesign

With different product leadership at Kubota, I wanted to identify the problems with the app so that we could develop a plan to address them. I put together a heuristic evaluation of the app and presented it to Kubota. Afterward, I created a prototype of the refined experience and presented it to Kubota. It was well-received, and it resulted in some of the proposed UX changes making it into the roadmap.

View the Heuristic Evaluation: Google Slides

Redesign based on heuristic audit

View the Adobe XD prototype based on heuristic evaluation insights: Adobe XD


OUTCOME

The MyKubota App launched on iOS and Android, and the Kubota-InMotion relationship is still going strong.

Download the MyKubota App on iOS: App Store
Download the MyKubota App on Android: Play Store


#ui #interaction #mobile