UX Research to Increase User Adoption and Engagement


SCP PEAR Research


End-to end UX Research


Jan – Apr 2020

With SmartCharge Programs (SCP), Geotab Energy partners with electric utility companies across North America to incentivize and reward electric vehicle (EV) drivers for charging their vehicles at specific times good for the grid. To participate, EV drivers had to install our C2 device into their vehicles. The device transmitted data about driving and charging activities, which formed the basis for rewards.

An analysis of participant data showed that a high percentage of users were either

not installing the C2 device into their EVs to begin participation in SmartCharge programs, or dropping out at some point during the program run. We set out to conduct research to understand why this problem existed and what we might do to improve installation and participation rates, to reduce churn through our programs.

I initiated (made the case for this research) and led all aspects of the process. I was assisted by the SCP project manager and members of the program delivery team.

TL; DR: Top insights and recommendations

Summary of research insights

Summary of recommendations

Documenting facts and assumptions

At the beginning of the project, I interviewed various stakeholders to gather the team’s collective facts and assumptions about the problem. I synthesized these interviews to create a facts and assumptions spreadsheet. This informed the research process and methods employed.

facts and assumptions spreadsheet

Creating a research plan

With the assumptions documented, I created a research plan document outlining the key milestones and deliverables, goals, objectives, metrics and desired outcomes. This was necessary to get the team aligned and carry everyone along throughout the research process.

Snippet from research plan document showing milestones and key deliverables

Understanding the problem

During my initial interviews with the stakeholders, there was a lot of speculation regarding the scope of the problem. For example, no one could reliable say what the installation and drop off rates were.

With the help of the project manager and members of the program delivery team, I dug into the available data to get the accurate numbers and provide some clarity for myself and the team.

We learned that the non-install rate stood at 28% across all programs and that Tesla vehicles had the highest non-installs across all vehicle types.

non-installation and dropout rates

non-installation rates by vehicle type

To better understand why there was such a high churn in the participation funnel, I extensively analyzed dropout support cases from the program delivery team. I was able to identify and group reasons into several categories, which I visualized and shared with the team.

Actionable dropout reasons

At almost 50%, device installation issues proved to be the major reason for churn. But what were these issues?

Actionable non-install reasons

Digging further, we learned that participants not knowing how to install and not having the time to install were the biggest issues with installation. This was surprising as we had believed that the installation process was simple and that the installation manual provided sufficient guidance.

Identifying root causes

Observing the installation process

I decided to conduct usability testing sessions where I observed first time participants complete the installation process using the manual for guidance.

I then mapped the top insights to the problems earlier identified.

In the image on the right, the insights are the green coloured cards, while the the problems are the pink cards.

Finding solutions

Generating solution ideas

I facilitated a brainstorming session with the broader team to ideate on ways we might address the issues and insights I had discovered during the usability testing sessions.

Prioritizing solution ideas

Using an impact/effort matrix, we grouped and prioritized solution ideas for implementation by the relevant teams.

Monitoring Outcomes

Following the research recommendations, the program delivery team has redesigned and tested several versions of the installation instruction manual with a focus on simplicity and clarity. The team has also created videos to support participants throughout the process and set up more effective automated reminders to prompt users to install their devices.

Overall, with the changes made, we’ve seen between 8 – 15% increase in device installation rates across several programs.