SWTCH ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGER FINDING APP
SWTCH provides electric vehicle (EV) charging management solutions for commercial, residential, and workplace settings. The app allows users to find, schedule, book and pay for an electric vehicle charger. The SWTCH patented software is universally compatible, integrating with all EV chargers to enable scheduling, payment and enforcement. By streamlining the charging process SWTCH aims to help owners of electric vehicles improve charger accessibility, and promote widespread use of electric vehicles by creating a reliable and sustainable network.
UX designer tasked with designing the mobile app from the ground up. This started with UX research, content auditing, competitive analysis and strategy on information architecture followed by interaction wireframes and prototypes to testing and iteration.
UX and UX Research
We used a number of research tools and techniques to get a better understanding of electric vehicle owners and those looking to rent out their EV chargers.
Surveys, Interviews and Pain points
Some of the motivations around owing an electric vehicle include:
- Electric vehicle owners are mostly socially conscious and want to ensure that they are doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint.
- Fuel Savings — A major motivating factor for EV owners.
- We were able to gain insight into the charging habits of EV owners. This was helpful in figuring out the importance of scheduling.
- Public charging: 1pm to 4 pm.
- Home Charging: 9pm to 12am.
- Avg. charge: 2 to 5 hrs.
- 75% use an app location service.
- Users found the scheduling feature to be very important since they don’t want to get to the charger and discover it to be already in use. Most of the competitor applications do not offer the option to schedule.
- It was important for users to he able to get live information about the use of a particular station to see if it is already in use or will be in the near future.
- Plan a trip is an important feature for electric vehicle owners because they need to figure out where the vehicle chargers are especially if going on longer trips
- Users want to users looking for compatibility information on the app to ensure that they can actually charge their vehicle once they get to the station.
- Compatibility: compatible with all models of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Users want to know information about the charger or if convertors are available.
- Charger Strength: Users want to know the strength of the charger and how long it will take to charge their vehicle.
In summary, we wanted to create an app that users can schedule charges and feel secure when renting out personal chargers.
Based on the user research, we were able to come up with typical user personas for the typical electric vehicle owner and those who want to rent out their home charger.
Who is the user?
Based on the user research, we came up with two personas.
Tyler is a social worker and wants to make conscious socially responsible decisions. He lives in Toronto and drives downtown for work. He lives in an appartment building that does not allow for personal EV chargers to be installed. Since he does not have easy access to an EV charger, he primarily relies on external sources. He wants to be able to schedule his charges for times when his vehicle is not in use. He finds that with competitor apps he can find the convenient charger location but many times the charger is already in use when he gets there. He would like to get live information about charger availability so he does not waste his time by going to stations that are already in use.
Kim is a teacher by profession. She lives in Richmond Hill with her husband and two kids. She own an electric vehicle and wants to help in the effort to make EV chargers more accessible to fellow EV owners because she understands the frustration of not having access to one when she needs it. However, she has some concerns around renting out her personal charger. She has concerns around privacy and security of her home because she has young children. She is not sure how renting out her charger might impact her current residential homeowners policy. She wants to be able to rent out her charger in a safe way.
User Journey Map
We wanted to get a better understanding of the user journey and their pain points.
In the current customer journey for Tyler
- he found the on boarding screen to be confusing
- landing page was generic
- he was not able to use the search bar to find the needed information
- he was not able to find EV chargers near him
- hard to ask questions or get customer service.
In the current customer journey for Kim
- she found the on boarding screen to be confusing
- landing page was generic
- she was not able to login or sign up for an account.
- Overall user journey was negative because users were not able to find needed information.
To better understand the user, we used a storyboard to put things into context. With our user starting in the car, Tyler is looking for an EV charger near him that will allow him to charge his vehicle while he goes in for a meeting downtown. He wants to charge his Chevy Bolt, so it is important for him to find a charger that is compatible with his vehicle. He decides to use the SWTCH app because it gives him the ability to schedule his EV charger ahead of time that is compatible with his vehicle. He is able to complete his booking quickly because the app saves his favourite locations that he used in the past. The whole process is quick and convenient.
Based on our research we were able to determine the main pain points for our users. We used the research to define the problem.
Users want a centralized app for finding and booking available EV chargers, which also allows them to securely rent out personal chargers.
Re-design the app.
Create a more functional scheduling system.
Make EV owners feel more secure and comfortable using app to rent out their EV home charger to increase charger accessibility and availability.
We wanted to understand the user flow so I mapped out user flows to figure out the flow for each user interaction.
We created the wireframes to better understand the flow visually and to start testing initial designs. I also helped with creating final UI screens based on the style guide that was provided.
We went through a number of iterations to create the most optimal user experience.
a) After our user testing, we made our call to action clearer and more intuitive.
b) We added the Available Now section for easy access to locations available near the user. we also made the Search by Time & Location easier to understand for users looking to find other locations or future scheduling needs. Once the results are filtered, it would only show you available chargers based on the requested time and location that are compatible with your type of vehicle. We added the pricing per hour to each location for users so they can easily figure out how much it would cost to schedule a booking.
c) Based on user testing, we changed the iconography for users to make it more clear. We condensed all the navigation icons into a single bottom nav bar.
We continued to refine my prototype based on testing results and made recommendations based on the findings.
- Add on boarding to walk users through the sign up process when they first start using the app
- Show amenities in the area for those looking to do something while their vehicle is charging.
- Incorporate a plan your trip feature that would suggest EV charging stations on route and book them in advance to save time for longer trips.
- To ensure data validity, all new EV stations added to the map should be varified. One suggestion is to ask people to make a safety deposit for the dollar amount of a typical charge. The deposit will be refunded the first time someone uses the EV charging station successfully.
- Create a more refined rating system to help users feel more secure about renting chargers.
For those users living in a condo building, a Condo Charger Scheduling section can be designed that is only open to those who live in the condo building. This would be built into the app so the user would just need to enter a code that they get from the building management to gain access to the charger. The scheduling section will still function in the same way.
- Refine Search/Filter options so the user can fine tune what chargers they are seeing based on their specific needs.
- Add additional information letting users know what is covered under insurance and where they might consider getting more insurance for home owners.
- Add customer service chat bot under messaging users who need help.