How do you take a small design task for Mercedes-Benz & turn it into wildly successful, a multi-year digital transformation project?

TVC Summer 2021

Leading the creative team with a methodical approach to design, over multiple years, helped guide Mercedes-Benz through the digital transformation of the Online Showroom. Using atomic design & an iterative test & learn process, the Online Showroom has proven to be wildly successful & enabled Mercedes-Benz to sell cars online more seamlessly.

View the User Experience breakdown here.

The problem Mercedes-Benz had no specific strategy or structure around their design process which lead to delays in releasing features & confusion around what to update & why. I was initially asked to consult on options for short term tweaks & highlight opportunities to improve the process. I championed a much larger rethink of how the project was designed & run. This eventually lead to the creation of a dedicated team who were tasked with redesigning the entire site & rebuilding the front end.

It is no exaggeration to say that Online Showroom is now a benchmark for Mercedes-Benz at a global level.” —Britta Seeger, Head of Marketing & Sales, Daimler

The solution The first task was to establish a creative process that included UX, design, development, analytics & a strategic vision using an agile framework. This included staying true to Mercedes-Benz Sensual Purity, their philosophy of modern luxury for automotive design as defined by Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler. It was important to lower the risks the client associated with these kind of changes…

To address the concerns of the client from the very beginning, I ran workshops at Mercedes-Benz head office where I gave crash courses in strategy, UX & design to multiple stakeholders.

Crucially, this was repeated at various points during the project, both formally & informally becoming foundational to onboarding new members of the team. By involving the client directly in the creative process (rather than pitching specific design routes), we were successful creating an environment that was less risk averse & supported a sense of trust in each other.

Online Showroom homepage
Online Showroom results page
Online Showroom My Account

Atomic design is a method of design production focusing on the smallest elements in the greatest detail first, before combining those into components & pages. I ensured the client had an active role, encouraging them not to hold onto page designs & concepts too tightly. I focused the clients attention instead on agreeing to specific atoms & components based on the principles defined by Sensual Purity. This meant that when larger updates were required, they had a good understanding of the overall impact it could have while also appreciating the importance of getting smaller design details right first.

We shunned formal wireframes in favour of a card sorting process that more closely linked UX & design. Using paper & post-it notes to quickly arrange & rearrange layouts as a team, we were able to reach consensus smoothly &, once a few components were fully designed, I was able to quickly illustrate what those layouts could look like.

Highly organised design system & Object Oriented symbol labelling
Card sorting / behind the scenes
Master design file overview

Test & learn A feature exists in a UX flow with a user story, coupled with a hypothesis; What we expect the impact to be. Once the feature has launched, it's measured & reported on by the analytics team with their insights. This is compared against the original flow/hypothesis & is used as an input for updates, new features creating a feedback loop of testing & learning.

Best in class work” —Global Experience Director, Publicis Emil

By involving the client at all stages & framing outputs as 'insights' (rather than pass/fail for example), we removed the risk they associated with releasing new features publicly. The insights from one set of features often built up over time to inform the hypothesis of unrelated features & sometimes the direction of the project as a whole.

This had a positive impact on the design process: We were able to iterate on the visual design at the atomic level & confidently experiment with new ideas using data based on real user behaviour.

Test & learn: Visual refinement using data
Test & learn: impact on filter designs
Test & learn: Navigation refinement
Online Showroom statistics

The results The Mercedes-Benz Online Showroom was publicly launched in February 2020 with a multi million pound TV campaign (See below). We were perfectly placed to support the significant disruption created by the global pandemic just a month later. For most of that year, the Online Showroom was the only channel customers could use to buy a car from Mercedes-Benz & we oversaw a YoY increase in leads during the UK lockdown.

A number one priority project” —Gary Savage, CEO, Mercedes-Benz UK

This multi-year, going project gained major attention within Mercedes-Benz UK. Off the back of this significant increase in lead generation, Mercedes-Benz made the choice to launch the all new 2022 Electric EQA as an exclusive to the Online Showroom. The project also gained attention at DaimlerAG where our processes & insights are being implemented in other European markets, which I helped facilitate.

Mercedes-Benz press release,

View the User Experience breakdown.

View the Mercedes-Benz Online Showroom.

Launch TVC, Spring 2020
An expert in organisation with a genuine enthusiasm for this industry. A delight to work with.” Jade Wilson, Designer