Polestar – Creating a new way of configuring your Polestar car

The side and back view of a white Polestar 2
Polestar focuses on design and innovation with the goal of creating a more sustainable future. Their most famous model is the Polestar 2. Selling their cars exclusively through their website makes it a crucial channel for them. In this project, I looked into the current Polestar car configurator to improve it.
Client
Polestar
Role
UX & UI Design / Interaction design
Platform
Mobile website

Challenge

Supporting the current Polestar car configuration process

The challenge for this project is to improve the Polestar user experience by enhancing the car configurator to better support the overall configuration process. It is important to keep in mind Polestar’s design style and guidelines. The goal is to find a more seamless way to support the user throughout the configuration process. The approach of the project is mobile first.

Research

Analysing the current online configurator

The first step in the process is to get a better understanding of the current configurator, and to look at it from an experts perspective. By conducting a website analysis, the first issues began to pop-up.

When selecting an option connected to an extra pack in the current configurator, it upgrades the configuration at multiple places without informing the user. Additionally, trying to downgrade becomes difficult due to the "Roach motel pattern," which negatively impacts the user experience. An example is shown below.
two screens with the current Polestar car configurator shown, with the text: "When you want to compare two different wheels from different packs, it is not possible to change back to your previous selection without having to start all over again."
Another observation in the experience is that, apart from the performance perspective, the brand story isn’t being conveyed in the current configurator. There is nothing about sustainability mentioned, or about innovation. This could be done on purpose, but it is as well an opportunity to include in the new solution.

Researching the users

After analysing the online configurator, I conducted interviews and usability tests with multiple Polestar and electric vehicle users in order to find opportunities and wishes for the car configurator within the purchasing journey. The goal was to improve the Polestar user experience by enhancing the car configurator to better support the overall configuration process. I interviewed people at different stages of their purchasing journey, including those who were just starting. By gathering user feedback, I was able to gain insights into how to create a more seamless way to support the user throughout the configuration process.

During the user research for the Polestar car configurator project, it was discovered that the configurator is used multiple times throughout the purchasing journey. Users utilise the configurator as an exploration tool to learn more about the car and its options, a comparison tool to visually compare options, and as a purchasing tool when they are ready to buy the car. This insight was used to improve the Polestar user experience by enhancing the configurator to better support the overall configuration process.

Getting a view on the bigger picture

During the usability tests, I discovered that users prefer to have an online explanation of the car but also value a real-life experience of the vehicle. To better understand this aspect of the journey, I visited the Polestar Space, which is Polestar's showroom. I observed that the Space is not a place for purchasing, but rather a place where customers can experience the car. I also noticed the presence of a tablet-sized configurator in the showroom, which allows customers to customise their Polestar car just like they would online.

After observing the place, I conducted an interview with the so-called ‘expert’ at the Polestar Space and learned that customers are always forwarded to the website to complete their purchase, and that the showroom is simply an experience to see and feel the different materials and book a test drive.

Define

Mapping the different contexts

The most important insights from the research phase revealed that there are three phases of Polestar users in the purchasing journey: the explorer, the reviewer, and the buyer.

To gain a better understanding of the role of the configurator in the entire purchasing process, a Customer Journey was created (see image below). This journey highlights the different touch-points of the configurator and how it is used. It provides a comprehensive overview and summary of the gathered insights.

Note: The example below is a condensed version of the complete customer journey, which is twice its size.
A customer journey of the purchasing process of buying a Polestar 2

User insights

The research revealed that the current configurator was too focused on the purchasing flow and didn't take into account the users who use it as a comparison or exploration tool. Additionally, the configurator is poorly designed for mobile devices, as users find it difficult to use on their phones and often abandon the experience or switch to desktop.

Concept

Polaris, the concept

After multiple ideation sessions, I created the following concept called "Polaris":

Polaris is a platform that focuses on exploring the different options and possibilities when configuring a Polestar car. Based on the users actions, the platform will provide custom information about the car and its sustainability (i.e. the interior and the materials used). The information creates awareness for the potential buyers, and supports them in the journey.

Polaris makes it easier for users to compare the available options, such as the different battery packs, by offering a user friendly interface. The platform guides the user in making the choice that best fits their needs - free of opinions. After creating your ideal setup, you can purchase it or save it for later.

Wireframes

Information Architecture

The current Polestar car configurator has a linear way of navigating through its content. However, the new concept is based on multiple options and will allow users to deep-dive into new information based on their selections. To create a good base for the wireframes, I created an information architecture, which is shown below.
The information architecture of the concept 'Polaris'

Designing & testing

I created multiple exploration sprints and wireframes to come up with different alternatives and ways of interacting with the configurator. The wireframes were tested multiple times with the user group and refined to meet their needs and goals. Below are a few examples of the wireframes.
Four mobile mockups, each showing wireframes of the Polaris concept

The result

Polaris, a new way of configuring your Polestar 2

The interactive final design has been created using Figma, Blender and ProtoPie to make it as realistic as possible.
Three phone mockups showing the completed design for the concept 'Polaris'Multiple phone mockups with different screens of the Polestar configurator