From Web to App

From Web to App

Company
BRIDGECREST
Mark if highlight
HIGHLIGHT
Tags
Mobile AppDesign System Overhaul

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Summary

Accelerated Product Life Cycle

Bridgecrest services the loans of over 700,000 active customers who have financed cars through DriveTime (DT) and Carvana (CVNA) nationwide.

Brdigecrest shares a building with DT; So, as the experimentation initiative became more vital and disruptive at DT — the need for a similar model at Bridgecrest became very clear. They could see that both their sister companies DT and CRVA were benefiting from the meaningful experience changes based on user-testing and data-led insights.

Bridgecrest was motivated to test, learn, and optimize on their online payment portal but the outdated site couldn’t facilitate the quick iteration and data-gathering that would be required.

This project had Bridgecrest’s first, full-time UX team develop a ground-up mobile app that prioritized ease of future-iteration, gathering user insights, and (at least initially) making the experience feel familiar to current users.

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Obstacles

Quick Optimization

Various aspects of this project spanned over a year for the UX team so we were met with a variety of hurdles in that timeframe. Still, I think the initial obstacles in this project came down to 2 things:

  1. Bridgecrest did not have a dedicated UX team; So, new processes and team structures would be necessary.
  2. As a stopgap, Bridgecrest would adopt the DT UX team to start learning design-first development and adapt their IT operations to a totally new approach.

    This process overhaul would also have to happen while breaking ground on a whole new digital product.

  3. Bridgecrest leadership was eager to start learning and experimenting as quickly as possible.
  4. It was evident that DT was learning from even the smallest of changes to their experiences so Bridgecrest wanted to find a way to start small and get to learning faster.

    This meant the initial scope of the project was much smaller as we began research and planning. Rather than creating a new app, we first were going to develop a rework of Bridgecrest’s QuickPay site. A much smaller experience. Eventually, analytics decided the audience for QuickPay was too small, and decided that an app was a great first step.

    There was no precedent for Bridgecrest’s customers using an app for payments. This meant that we could start to try small new changes from the start and compare them with the base web portal. While this wasn’t a one-to-one comparison it did allow us to start leveraging OS tools like biometric auth and push notifications.

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Solutioning

Atomic App

With a new UX team folded in and the scope settled on we began to ideate around what the new Bridgecrest experience might look like.

Early in this project we knew we didn’t want the actual page flow or steps to change from what BC customers were used to but we were eager to update to contemporary web standards that instill a sense of brand-confidence and security with the new presentation. The current site was a required part of people's lives and we didn’t want the new UX to be too jarring.

UX worked with BC devs to start from a place of versatility that could also adhere to our accelerated schedule. We decided to leverage the Ionic framework for developing a flexible design system that is easy to iterate on. Ionic makes mobile-first, cross-platform development a priority with a ton of OOTB tools and UI components.

The Ionic Framework

Ionic was a boon in terms of efficiency but was also somewhat limiting in how we could design our UI. There were still elements on the site that, when translated to an app, required some custom solutions but, we tried to keep those instances to a minimum in favor of OOTB solutions where possible.

We leveraged the existing experience to accelerate wireframing, user-flows, and lo-fi comps. Then we built the UX atomically; the site took shape first with small components like links, buttons, form fields, then moved up to bigger things like cards with complex form interactions. We defaulted to working with Ionic elements that had enough modularity to build-in some brand expression with colors and UI design. Occasionally, we still had to make bespoke components for this experience.

The final result had the same page flow and similar visual hierarchy. The presentation was a total overhaul but it still brought with it a ton of familiarity. Best of all,

This new platform could experiment on UI changes, verbiage tweaks, notification timing, info-presentation, as well as bring all the expected conveniences of a modern mobile app.

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Results

New Testing Grounds

Our final comps added up to 300+ views for the Bridecrest devs. The app launched without it’s original UX team around; we had to go back to DT projects. Still in February 2022 Bridgecrest app launched and has continued to be a platform of experimentation and iteration. Since launch it has had 430k+ unique downloads across Android and iOS.

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