This research was done prior to the release of the final brand, as such, these mockups do not reflect the official Dollar brand.
The brand concepts known were a red and white palette, round and simple visuals, and a potential new business model which included just three vehicle categories: small, medium, and large.
Visual Evolution of the Project
The tests were centered around the booking experience. Everything about the rental process was intended to be as simple as 1,2,3, and all pages were designed to be clean, approachable, and professional.
Step 1(Date Selection)
The booking process starts with the itinerary. A calendar was added to simplify date selection. Additionally, the time selection process was simplified by use of a native scroll wheel.
Step 2 (Location Selection)
Location selection starts with a list of all available locations, this list was made searchable and approached from standard location UI patterns. After a location is selected, an area-specific map is offered, allowing users to ensure they choose the intended location.
Step 3 (Vehicle Selection)
Currently Dollar offers 15 unique vehicle categories; displayed in a long dense list view. Vehicle examples are shown in small size, in a variety of colors, and labeled by specific vehicle name. Leaving users thinking they will receive the exact vehicle pictured, not any vehicle from that class.
The mockup simplifies the 15 vehicle types into broader categories. The categories used were Small, Medium, Large, Van, SUV, and the “Lock Low and Go” option. The vehicle presentation was revised using larger vehicle images, in a standard red color, and using class not vehicle names. These changes helped users understand that the vehicle shown was a representational vehicle not the exact vehicle they would receive.
There are no prices in most of this prototype, this was done to simplify the mockup creation. However, those testing the app were distressed by the lack of visible pricing, viewing it as a lack of transparency. In addition, when the final price appears on the summary users noticed the rounded total seeing it as an attempt hide fees. This concern, helped Dollar reevaluate the pricing display to become a short tally, with an option to expand, and a clear rounding down instead of up to the nearest dollar.
Initially, we wanted to bring a sense of excitement to the booking process. To do this, the usually fixed booking order was carefully reevaluated, and an attempt made to turn that process on its head.
I actually wanted the rental process to start with the vehicle, to help make the process feel more enjoyable and possibly even a little exciting. Unfortunately, the idea turned out to be impossible under the current rental model.
This issue comes back to the 15 highly specific vehicle categories. Because Dollar rents very specific categories they cannot guarantee that a location will have a specific vehicle type at any given time.
If the new Dollar concept is successful, and all the vehicles are grouped into the Small, Medium, Large, and Extra-Large categories, then it will become possible to change the booking order to vehicle selection first, and guarantee the customer a vehicle of the selected category.
The vehicle first idea is one I still believe in strongly as an innovative concept for the future. If the user is presented with the option of starting with the vehicle, instead of the trip details, they are more likely to perceive the process as exciting and therefore may be willing to spend more than on a task perceived as a chore.