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:
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.
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.
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).
Furthermore, we concentrated on the following measures:
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:
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