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Re-positioning a worldwide brand

Team: Redshift Digital

Role: Design lead

Completed: Mar 2018

The challenge

J.D. Power is one of the worlds leading consumer research companies, gathering data from thousands of verified product owners and selling it back to companies to show how those products are performing. While they collect ratings information for all kinds of industries, they are best known for their work with cars. Previously, their entire web presence was focused on selling data to businesses.

Their old website looked a lot like you'd expect from a B2B data company, with a car section tucked in the site.

As successful as this had been, they realized that they were sitting on a treasure trove of data that could benefit everyday consumers who were trying to buy a new car. JDP then came to us to design their first-ever consumer website to go toe to toe with industry leaders like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.

Our solution

One of J.D. Power's selling points is the rating they assign to each vehicle. Previously, their ratings were based on a 5 point scale. However, with most cars getting a 4 or 5, it was hard to differentiate one from another. After plenty of testing1, we shifted to a more granular 100 point scale so users could clearly see how cars stack up.

Our treatment of the ratings makes sure they are immediately recognizable throughout the site.

The core of the site is the car detail page, which needs to show off thousands of data points in a way that users both understand and enjoy. We also wanted this page to be memorable, so we treated every section as an opportunity for signature interactions to help make detailed car research uniquely JDP.

Subtle animations are a fun way to give the site a sophisticated, modern feel.

You've likely seen plenty of car commercials proclaim that they've won a J.D. Power award for something. This is easily what JDP is best known for and users often stated that these awards were a major factor when purchasing a vehicle. To take advantage of this recongizability, we created a new, top-level landing page to showcase award winners and explain how they compare to the competition.

The award breakdown page is one of my favorites in how it simplifies a pretty dense dataset.

Car buyers usually fall into a few categories — from just exploring, to knowing an exact model. While our focus was on users who knew what they were looking for, we still needed pages geared towards discovery. We found that most users narrow their choices by either brand or body type, so we crafted dedicated pages for each to educate users and provide jumping off points for further exploration.

Each body type page highlights award winners as well as general things to look for.

Results

Over the course of this project, we tested 4 iterations of the design with 24 participants to resoundingly positive feedback. The design went live in late 2018 and has continued to receive positive results.

I feel like my 95 year-old grandma could use this too... I like it a lot, very simple and well laid-out.

- Usability participant

This work was the first major step in J.D. Power’s transition to a consumer-oriented company. They were so pleased with the results that they eventually came back to us to design a standalone experience to help users discover their perfect car.

1. We're talking about a data company that's been using a 5 point scale forever, so we weren't going to convince them to change on a mere hunch.