Ford Credit Account Manager

User Interface Design
User Experience Design
Agile Coaching

Click here to skip to a bulleted TLDR at the bottom.

My Role

As the Lead UX Architect I paired with a Lead Visual Designer, working as the Design Team for 7 Individual Product teams; each owning a part of Account Manager.

I acted as the Delivery Lead - managing the relationship with Product Owners and Product Managers for each team, running our Design Kanban board, and managing Deliverables our team was responsible for.

As a previous Agile Coach, when the department began it's Agile Transformation I was also called upon to aid in helping teams understand and implement Agile, Kanban, & Scrum.

When I began as the Lead UX Architect on this project - the project had already been underway for some time, and had been using comps that were created multiple years in advance, based on a pre-existing Design Library that was created for marketing landing pages.

Identifying the Problem

Ford's Account Manager was a legacy system dating back to over 10 years ago. The underlying technical Architecture was aged and the User Experience was both outdated and difficult.

We began by identifying the primary workflows customers did on the existing application.

The Primary Workflow was identified as: "Pay My Bill"

We then determined that all secondary workflows were more broadly categorized as "Retrieving Information", i.e How many payments were remaining, or when their lease ended.

As part of this project to overhaul the application we were also adding in a few entirely new workflows, the biggest of which was: "My Next Vehicle" an entire dev team was dedicated to creating a machine learning system to predict the customers next vehicle; and offer it to them when appropriate.

The last piece of the puzzle was "My Lease Info" which was a pre-existing product designed for the Ford Pass mobile app that was to be incorporated into the new Account Manager. The Primary goal of this application was to provide detailed information about your vehicle and your account. Which we quickly identified as duplication of effort; as both the primary 'Account Manager Team'

Solving the Problem, One Story At A Time

Development was occurring in parallel to Design. The end result is that each week we would find out about a user story or feature that was either already in development, or was shortly going to be in development.

When I started I produced comps that met the basic needs of the development team, hoping to get far enough ahead of the curve to be able to put more work in.

What happened instead is that we quickly learned which battles were worth fighting for, and would push to delay development of features that were critical to the end user experience.


Breaking Away From The Visuals

One of our first challenges was getting the business stakeholders to stop thinking of everything in the context of a final visual.

Our team didn't have the bandwith to create a high fidelity comp for every single workflow, as development was happening in parallel to design.

I created the incredibly ugly wireframe to the right in a meeting with the Product Owner and it was our eureka moment for getting them to understand that the UX Challenges could be tackled separately from the end Visual Design.

One goal of this wire was to be

You can see much of the elements in this wire are in the final design at the bottom of the page.

Holistic Design

Our Design team quickly became the 'integration team' as there were 7 individual Dev teams all building pieces that were to in some way interface or live inside the new Account Manager.

We took the opportunity to break down the silos between the teams and open discussion so that the overall experience was better for the end user.

Our Users All Across the Globe

Anyone who had a Lease or Loan from Ford Credit was our core audience - but it extended further as each individual country could have rules and regulations that required a different experience.

Copy differences were most common - but the entire experience could fork based on geographical location. As an example over 90% of all Canadian users automatically had payments withdrawn from their bank account - removing the manual 'Pay My Bill' as the primary workflow of the application.

The American User's UX became the 'baseline' utilized for all other regions. A different business unit local to the region would be responsible for identifying changes - and we could incorporate them into the design.

User Testing

Before my team joined the project the existing product team had been using internal employees as user stand-ins.

Normally I would advise against this, except that many Ford employees - are also Ford Credit customers, as they receive special employee pricing on vehicles.

As such we took advantage of the situation and utilized the preexisting network of employees, to vet our designs.

Anytime we weren't sure what the base way to present information was, we would first theorize with the Product team, create a few mockups, wires, or on a few ocassions a clickable prototype for testing.

As development was going on in parallel with design most of the time, and we were supporting so many teams, research wasn't always possible - but we did it when we could.

This wire was apart of the exercise in which we tried to get Product Owners to stop worrying about the Visuals of the application and think instead about how users were going to actually use it.

Dynamically Adjusting UI States

What do you do when your primary Workflow is fulfilled?

If your customer's already paid their bill, or has automatic withdrawal setup, then your primary workflow is now tertiary, and is doing no good as the first CTA.

Since individual product teams owned different parts of the UI, conflicts would often arise over who should be first; as everyone wanted to be 'above the fold'.

A key example of this in action is 'My Next Vehicle' which was a product designed to use machine learning to determine what you should buy or lease next. We created different UI layouts to account for the different states and if you had seen the offer previously.

One of the key challenges in designing a new Account Manager for Ford Credit was determining which workflows were truly the most important.

During our research we determined that based on the state of the account, we could dynamically determine which workflow was the most important.

For example: If a customer's bill is unpaid 'pay my bill' becomes the primary workflows, but if the account in question has auto-pay enabled then we can instead show when their payment is schedules and uplift other information.

Alternatively the type of customer was an important consideration a well, lease customers have many other data points to be concerned about, such as mileage and lease end.

Account Manager with a new vehicle offer, first time view.

How the offer looks after the customer has already seen it once.

When determining priority from a user centered standpoint we also had to consider the business aspect. When was something important enough to be elevated to a higher level.

If you compare the images above and to the left, the new vehicle offer changes in priority based on if your account has seen this offer before. Elevating the offer for first-time viewers; but lowering the priority of the screen element for recurring customers as their primary reason for coming to the application is generally to 'pay my bill'.