Product Teardown: Car rental mobile shopping experiences.

Corinne DiGiovanni
Jul 5, 2019 · 7 min read

What is a Product Teardown:

As a product designer, I look to direct-competitors and out-of-industry apps/sites to observe how they solve similar problems to what my product is facing. A teardown goes beyond collecting screenshots. Part of the teardown process is to go through the UX flow and call out both wins and challenges that the app/website has encountered.

Companies:

  • Enterprise (in-industry/direct supplier)
  • Southwest (in-industry/leisure travel)

Problems History

Egencia, a Travel Management Company or TMC, is a subsidiary company to the Expedia Group. The original application was launched in 2012 as a trip itinerary companion to the desktop ecosystem. Over the years, the needs of the business, as well as the users, called for more functionality inside the app that aligned with the desktop.

The mobile app recently integrated rail bookings, the number one business travel request for our European customers. In the United State’s, business travelers utilize air travel first then car rental as the second highest requested transportation.

This research was done in preparation for the global car inception that was held in India in January 2018. At the bottom of this article will be the slide deck that I used during my presentation to help align the participants of the inception as best practices for mobile shopping patterns and user expectations.


Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Overview

Though used by business travelers, the Enterprise app does not solely rely on them. Some of the out-lying use cases that the Enterprise app services that the Egencia Product does not implement are; hourly use for moving, leisure travel, renting a car for enjoyment purpose (i.e. renting a sports car or convertible for fun).
Knowing that there are use cases well outside of our product’s capabilities, the app has some great examples of how Egencia could successfully integrate a car rental shopping path into the app.

🎫 Onboarding:

  1. Simple branded graphics
    From the moment you download the app to moving through the onboarding interactive screens, you are presented with a consistent design language. This creates brand awareness during the education processes and continues throughout the entire app experience​. When a user visits the full desktop site, they are almost identical as it solidifies the brand.
  2. Intriguing interactive animation
    When swiping through the onboarding pages, a little graphic car moves through each page. This small but important interaction is intriguing and helps keep the user engaged in the experience.
  3. Clear and concise language
    They use conversational language in the onboarding screens and continue the brand voice throughout the app and desktop experience.

🍔 Navigation:

  1. Consistent navigation and user flow on both OS’s
    Regardless if you use an Android device or an iPhone, you will see the exact same experience on both. It is unclear if these are native apps or a PWA (Progressive Web App)​.
  2. Secondary functionalities stored in “hamburger” menu
    iOS apps are starting to utilize the “Android” style (material design) navigation like the hamburger button​. All non-essentials are “hidden” away to keep the booking path clean​.
  3. Easy access to the “Help” function
    With simplified top navigation, the icon that users utilize to call customer support is easily accessible on almost all screens.​
  4. Easily understandable categories for secondary functions
    Within the hamburger menu, all features and functions are categorized into like-items. This helps decision making fast and is a quick read.​

🚗 Dashboard:

  1. Sign-in
    If a user skipped the onboarding without signing in, they still have the ability to book. They also have a quick link to get them signed-in and start accumulating points.​ Not disrupting the shopping flow and allowing power users the ability to collect reward points is a big success.
  2. Wasted space
    The large picture featured prominently on the dashboard is just another promotional ad letting people know where Enterprise is located. There are no actionable steps for the user and it does not add to their experience.​ This real estate could have been used much more effectively.​
  3. Confusing CTA’s
    The “QUICK START” text is when clicked, actually does not start your car search. The text color and the arrow make it seem like I should click this as my next step on this page​. When clicked, the screen pulls up to display secondary information that has nothing to do with booking a car rental.​

Key Takeaways: Enterprise

  1. Search via map
    Having the ability to quickly see what is available to you via your current location on a map within the Enterprise app was a great win. Currently, only one of our shopping paths allows for the map view, but only after you have completely filled out the search form. ​
  2. Limited filter criteria
    The filters options are very limiting, allowing only 4 filter types. This works well for Enterprise as they only sell their own fleet of cars. With our multi-suppliers providing us with a larger fleet of cars, we may need to create a more robust filter experience so users can pair information and continue down the shopping funnel.
  3. Clean and simple shopping experience
    Here is where this app really shines. The simple, straight forward use of well-defined cards and their text hierarchy really allow the user to make quick, well-informed choices.​
  4. Same navigation and user experience for both OS’s
    Something to note is that the exact design and user flow is the same on both iOS and Android. Even when you visit the desktop website, it is clear that you are in the Enterprise branded experience. ​The unified navigation works well for building brand awareness and loyalty.

Southwest Airlines

Overview

Southwest Airlines is known for there low-cost airfare with no hidden fees. I was surprised to see in their app that they had car rentals enabled. Loyalty points and transparent prices are one of Southwest’s leading attributes. Since this aligns with our Egencia customers' values, I felt that the Southwest app was a good in-industry company to teardown.

🍔 Navigation:

  1. Consistent navigation and user flow on both OS’s
    The entire layout is consistent from Android to iOS. This includes the use of bottom navigation, predominantly seen only in iOS apps.
  2. Secondary functionalities stored in “hamburger” menu
    Just as Enterprise did, Southwest utilized a side drawer for storing their non-essentials.
  3. Easy access to the “Travel Alert” notifications
    When traveling, peace-of-mind and safety are important for all travelers. The alert icon on the top navigation allows users the ability to quickly access any type of disruption that could affect their booking.
  4. Loyalty Points
    Many travelers rate loyalty points as a top contributor to why the book with a supplier. Having the loyalty points displayed prominently on the top navigation clearly shows their status and would contribute to repeat purchases.

🚗 Dashboard:

  1. Hierarchy
    If you have an upcoming booked trip, it will appear at the top of your dashboard cards. This would be a good win, but my booked trip was lost among the larger image-heavy advertisements.
  2. Consistent Messaging
    The app was asking me to sign up for “EarlyBird Checkin” for my upcoming trip, but I had already purchased it. Same thing for the credit card. We already have a Southwest credit card, and having these large ads made me feel like the company didn’t even know who I was or what I really needed.

🗒 Information Hierarchy:

  1. Form Fields
    The form fields are large with big touch targets. Once filled in, the information in bold clearly shows the user their selection. Secondary choices are smaller and the CTA is big and yellow. This helps push the user to quickly start their search.
  2. Exposed Filters
    Exposing the filters on the results page​ at the top in a clickable swim lane allows the user to narrow down their findings and make a better-informed decision.
  3. Color
    Southwest sticks to their highly complimentary color scheme throughout the app. The blue and yellow complementary color can be harsh and vibrating at times, but they utilize the yellow consistently as their call to action buttons.

Key Takeaways: Enterprise

  1. Consistent Navigation Patterns
    Regardless of the operating system (iOS/Android/responsive web), users see the same branded navigation on all versions of the shopping experience.
  2. Filters
    The exposed swimlane at the top of the results page is reminiscent of “Stories” on Instagram and Facebook. This left-right swimlane works well with mobile users’ ingrained behaviors. Currently, the Egencia app utilizes a drop down for the filters, and this swim lane style would remove the disruption of the extra step from the drop down.
  3. Spacing
    On the results page, in particular, the results tiles become overwhelmed with the varying amounts of color and branded elements. The information is all fighting for dominance. Loyalty points and price are important to the Southwest users, but the addition of the car supplier's branded logos create a busy and overwhelming experience.

⏯ Slide Deck

Any views or opinions represented in this post are personal and belong solely to myself and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that may or may not be associated with me in a professional or personal capacity unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company or individual.

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