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It is the user who decides on the success of your products.

Case Study Volkswagen AG

UX Strategy & Management Volkswagen AG

Increasing UX Maturity
  • Strategic consulting
  • Workshops across teams and departmental boundaries
  • Clarifying roles, responsibilities, and processes
  • Training on UX Management
  • Establishing agile research processes
Screen VW UX Management

Volkswagen is currently facing one of the biggest transformations in the company's history: the transition from car manufacturer to e-mobility provider. The advancing digitalization leads to new challenges:

  • Making online car sales possible
  • Explaining new technologies such as e-drive systems and connectivity to customers
  • Merging a fragmented digital product landscape into a coherent web presence
  • Establishing digital channels for marketing new mobility services
  • Integrating more than 100 markets in the design and rollout processes of the digital products

Volkswagen is convinced that these challenges can only be met by clearly aligning the digitalization process with customer requirements and needs. UX Management is key to creating an extraordinary user experience that inspires customers and leads the company to success.

The Starting Point

Although user experience was already recognized as important at Volkswagen, UX topics were not yet firmly incorporated in the company and were not managed across projects at the beginning of our collaboration.

Of the four components of user-centered design – understanding, exploring, designing, and testing – UX activities were focused almost exclusively on testing individual digital products at irregular intervals. Cross-departmental collaboration on UX was sporadic.

Furthermore, user research and UX testing were not integrated into the agile design and development process. This meant that new concepts could not be evaluated and iterated quickly enough. For example, usability test results were only available after development had already begun. Therefore, it was not possible to correct detected weaknesses before the launch.

The challenges for us as a usability and UX service provider were numerous. On the one hand, our task was to cover the operative research and testing needs. At the same time, we developed concepts to continuously increase the organization’s UX maturity level. Here, it was important that UX activities are well integrated into the agile development process and are internationally scalable.

  1. Institutionalized UX
    UX is part of your business strategy
  2. Integrated UX
    Development starts with the user
  3. Managed UX
    UX management works beyond project and department lines
  4. Project-based UX
    There are resources for UX tests in some projects
  5. Ad-hoc UX
    Some colleagues try out UX
  6. No UX awareness
    Usability and UX are not on the agenda
Measuring the status quo - UX Maturity Model

Our Approach

Given the scale of the challenges and the complexity of the corporation, it was clear that rapid progress could only be achieved through continuous and close cooperation.

The initial focus was to better integrate design, UX testing and development activities. We established regular user days – agile one-day usability tests. This format made it possible to align user research very flexibly with the urgent questions of the product owners without slowing down the agile process. Product designers, product owners and developers were directly involved in the evaluation of the results on the testing day. This allowed them to iterate the very next day (see also Case Study VW User Days).

Development of a standardised research process
Development of a standardised research process.

Furthermore, we concentrated on the following measures:

  • Establishing the role of a UX Manager. Development and training of two UX Managers on the VW side.
  • Defining user research and UX testing processes together with the UX designers and Volkswagen product owners in accordance with design and development sprints.
  • Expanding the range of methods: Using quantitative methods such as top task analysis, onsite surveys or tree testing to prepare strategic decisions.
  • Breaking down departmental boundaries and increasing collaboration through frequent holistic UX testing, based on real user journeys and not on product boundaries.
  • Joint workshops to develop solutions for problems that cannot be solved by individual departments.
  • Building empathy towards the user through basic user research on the car purchase process.
  • Developing a concept for elaborating and validating the new information architecture in international markets.

The Result

As with all strategic projects, expanding the UX maturity level in a company of this size takes time. Through UX management and strategy consulting, the UX maturity level at Volkswagen is continuously increasing. Due to sharpened processes and roles, and the newly created UX culture, the latest global website relaunch was thoroughly user-centered and completed in less time than was usual before.

For Volkswagen, there are already very solid signs of success on the road to becoming a user-centered company:

  • Roles and responsibilities in the UX area are clearly defined.
  • Research and testing processes have been defined and are in line with agile product development.
  • Cross-product testing is taking place more and more often, departments are following user journeys and work in silos less frequently.
  • VW is active in all phases of the user-centered design process (understanding, exploring, designing and testing).
Collective analysis of the research results
Collective analysis of the research results

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