Scope: Two iterative design sprints that included qualitative user interview sessions to inform the and design and overall build of the new MVP design of the portal.
My Role: UX Researcher & UX Designer
Client: HVAC Company
The contractor portal is a consolidated platform that dealers and distributors use to manage their sales and service operations. The client was in the midst of a
re-design to boost effectiveness and reduce time on troubleshooting. My role was to help define the initial MVP design, and validate with two rounds of user interviews.
+ Understand existing pain points, processes and gaps the current portal has in supporting Dealers and Distributors
+ Gather feedback on the new connected portal user experience to inform the design iterations and overall build
+ Create a Finalized MVP Portal Design at the end of the two iterative sprints
User Interviews, Usability Testing, Prototyping, UX/UI Design
Distributors and Dealers view a customized, high-level overview based on their permissions and coverage. This allows them to view high-level stats about Dealers and customers.
The trend map provides a visual overview of specific alerts, and the number of overall customers who have opted into the connected system.
When there's an issue with a customer's HVAC system, the alert is automatically sent to the Dealer. This helps Dealers be pro-active when reaching out to customers about specific issues with their HVAC system.
Due to the high volume of alerts Dealers receive, we added a filtering capability so Dealers view alerts based on priority and feel less overwhlemed.
Dealers can also get a quick access view into the HVAC data related to the alert.
When a Dealer is helping a service technician troubleshoot they can view
a customer's entire HVAC system. This includes quick access to serial numbers, warranty information and a history of alerts
When diagnosing an HVAC system, time series view has been added to allow Dealers to go back in time to see how system parameters have changed leading up the error.
Where I joined the project
Development team takes over
UX Design Lead applies visuals
off legacy app
UX Design Lead finalizes visuals
Test (Round 1)
Test (Round 2)
Development Handoff and
The UX Design lead worked with the PM to understand needs, painpoints, etc.
I took the start of the lo-fi prototype created by the UX Design Lead and finished it for the testing
1:1 Moderated, User Interviews to understand needs and validate prototype concepts
1:1 Moderated, Semi-structured User-testing on revised hi-fidelity prototype
I worked with the UX Design Lead who implemented the design changes
Finalizing the Prototype
Hi-Fi Qualitative User-Testing
+ Easily plan and move inventory
+ Earn Dealers’ trust & provide support
+ Provide high value to customers and dealers
+ Consumers losing Brand affinity
+ Understanding produce status and faults
+ Maintaining produce margins
+ Be perceived as an expert to Homeowners
+ Earn Homeowners’ trust & provide support
+ Help technician productivity in the field
+ Troubleshooting machines without information
+ Being cut out of the value chain
+ Maintaining customer calls and satisfaction
I took over the initial prototype work the UX Design Lead started and created the first concept for the initial testing.
+ View and manage overall alerts
+ View connected device metrics
+ Insights into individual Dealership
+ View and manage customer alerts
+ Insights into customer connected device
+ Manage customer device information for troubleshooting
+ Understand the current process for how Dealers manage the service and maintenance of their connect systems to best support their customers (Dealer)
+ Understand the current process for how Distributors manage their connected systems throughout their Dealer base so they can help make service opportunities more efficient (Distributor)
+ Validate hypothesized features and values in the new portal experience
+ Gather feedback on the new connected portal user experience concepts (Does it make sense? Are there any gaps?)
1. Background & Current Experience of the Portal
2. Provide open-ended tasks related to each of the main areas of the prototype to allow users to explore and provide feedback
+ Co-designed the prototype with the Client Product Manager using legacy knowledge to ideate and design new features
+ Prototype review before testing
+ Interview protocol review: Testing goals and focus areas
+ 2 Distributors, and 5 Dealers currently using legacy app
+ Pre-determined list of users created by the clien
Critical alerts aren’t really critical, duplicative faults codes, false alerts and a lack of available history makes it difficult to for dealers to be able to help their customers (Dealers only)
(Both Distributor & Dealer)
(Both Distributor & Dealer)
(Both Distributor & Dealer)
+ Ability to customize which alerts are shown
+ Show a more comprehensive map view of alerts and customers information
+ Update fault code language to be more intuitive
+ Provide quick access directly from alerts
+ Show historical data for better troubleshooting
+ Allow dealers to previous numeric data
Under the guidance of the Lead UX Designer, I made the design updates to the prototype.
Updated alert map view to show more comprehensive data with filtering options
Filters were added to make it easier for Distributors to view & manage their Dealer-base
Added the ability to view time series view to make it easier for troubleshooting
Expanded alter map and customer controls view with additional filtering options
Advanced filtering options to make it easier for Dealers & Distributors to find only relevant alerts
+ Test the usability of the updated design and collect last feedback before delivering the final designs
+ 2 Distributors, and 3 Dealers
+ Returning Participants from Round 1
+ Updated prototype review
+ Interview protocol review: focus areas for Distributors and Dealers
+ Provide open-ended tasks related to each of the focus areas depending on user-type (Dealer or Distributor)
+ How would a Distributor:
+ Manage Dealers Trends, Manage Customer Trends
+ How would a Dealer:
+ Manage Alerts, Manage Customers, View Connected Controls + Trends
Overall, participants were delighted by the UI enhancements which make the portal feel cleaner and easier to use -- in general, the design was clear and understandable.
There were minor UI changes around navigation elements, labels and buttons.
I worked with the Lead UX Designer to ensure all changes from Usability Testing were implemented
Technical pain points that prevent users from using the portal and should be fixed before launch:
+ Dealers and Distributors receiving false, repetitive, or confusion alerts about their customers’ system
+ Portal connectivity issues delay customer system data from uploading and syncing
+ Data load time is a huge issue, users often wait minutes for simple data to load
+ Inconsistencies between controller alert lot and contractor alert log make it difficult for users to troubleshoot
Further research recommendations:
+ Alert triggers & classifications: work with engineers and users to understand how to make alerts more understandable, and whether there’s a way to reclassify “informational”, “moderate” and “critical” alerts
+ Verify system parameter information to make sure nothing needs to be adjusted to allow Dealers and service technicians to work together
+ Explore what causes slow data load time, and determine what changes can be made to make the portal run smooth and quick
Recording Constraint: I was unable to record the sessions due to client restraints, so I depended solely on notes for analysis.
I asked my team’s PM to join me in note-taking during the sessions. We debriefed after every session, with extra emphasis to capture quotes, areas where users got stuck, and things that worked well.
Despite the positive feedback on the UI, many users still had major concerns about how the UI updates will solve the technical issues and backend issues they face today that prevent them from using the portal.
Unfortunately, these technical issues were out of scope for me and the design team to handle, but are critical for the success of the product. We made sure to include these pain points and recommendations on for the product team in our final readout and handoff.
We also tried to make certain design changes, such as expanding filtering options, as simple workarounds for some of the technical issues.
Delivered a new UI for the platform that is usable, delightful and meets user needs
+ Made quick, iterative changes based on testing insights to make sure we’re meeting user needs
+ Conducted 2 testing sessions in
a quick timeframe to validate the new design and ensure it would have a positive response when implemented
Developed insights to drive future efforts to increase retention and platform efficiency
+ Identified pain points beyond this phase of work that the business can use to drive the product roadmap for the Portal
+ Highlighted current pain points discovered that negatively impact users' attitudes towards the platform and recommendations.
Provided team further research recommendations to help fix technical issues uncovered
+ Provided actionable next steps and recommendations to help guide the business in uncovering technical issues
+ The goal is the recommendations would help the team maintain momentum to keep improving the product experience after this phase.
+ If I had more time and agency to recruit users, I would have tested with additional Distributors to get more insights into their needs and pain points with the current system.
+ Create a post-test questionnaire for the second round of testing to capture feedback on overall satisfaction and ease-of-use of the new portal.
+ Set-up an easier note-taking template, since I wasn’t able to record and had to rely on my notes. This also would have made analysis easier.
+ The technical pain points are equally, if not more important to capture and mitigate in a product experience. They can cause customer dissatisfaction and can cause a brand to lose customer loyalty and trust
+ The importance of clearly communicating the insights and findings to guide design recommendations when working with a UX designer. I learned how to explain the specific finding in more depth and ideate through potential solutions with the designer.