Sammy

An Intelligent Conversational Assistant for U-Haul

Timeline

2023 Aug - Oct ( 7 weeks )

team

Kathy Yu, Malia Hong, Christina Yang, Kimberly Blacutt

Tool

Figma, Figjam, After Effects, Premier Pro, Procreate, Notion

My role

Interactive prototyping, UI/UX Design, User Research, Concept Development

Challenge

Moving can often seem like a continuous stream of stressful events. From the repetitive process of reserving a truck to the challenges of modifying bookings, coordinating with moving assistants, and handling a large truck, do-it-yourself movers using U-Haul can find the moving experience both disjointed and frustrating.

Objective

This all-in-one virtual assistant redefines the entire moving journey. It offers responsive voice-guided features that optimize tasks, enhance coordination, and provide real-time alerts and guidance. It's particularly adept at intelligently addressing complex requests, which is a valuable asset for movers under pressure. By doing so, it significantly boosts the efficiency and overall enjoyment of the moving process while simultaneously alleviating driving concerns through hands-free, real-time support.


FINAL DESIGN

Introduce Conversational UI Sammy

A friendly guide, reminder, and cheerleader who provides U-Haul customers with multiple options to chose from; personalized recommendations based on user feedback; timely reminders, equipment tutorials, and safety alerts for a safe and pleasant driving experience.

Personalized recommendation

Provides individualized guidance and recommendations for choices based on user feedback.

Flexible with options

Offers multiple options for users to chose from.

Timely Reminders

Helps users to keep track of upcoming tasks and appointments.

Keeping Users Informed

Provides driver with equipment tutorials and safety alerts for a safe and pleasant driving experience.

Concept Video

WHY U-HAUL

33% of people in their 20s move in a given year.

11 times the average amount of times a person moves in their lifetime.

17-20 million people may move this summer.

1 out of 5 people move every year.

75% of movers are do-it-yourselfers.

50% cost reduction compared to full service moving solutions.

We researched different organizations in Pittsburgh with a large impact that could benefit from a conversational user interface. As a team, we wanted to explore a problem faced by a wide audience and that might be particularly stressful. U-Haul, in its role within the moving process, was a great fit for our team.

RESEARCH

How can U-haul use a CUI to facilitate and aid the most stressful moments of the moving process ? Learning from U-Haul customers through interviewing

Redundancy in Truck Reservations & Booking Alterations

Poor Coordination with Moving Helpers

Concerns with Truck Driving

”I had to cancel my reservation because I couldn’t alter it easily when my moving date changed.“

“None of the records reflect the movers I ordered, no emails or text nor the website.  Does this mean they are not booked or do I need to book someone else?”

“I have anxiety about driving a big truck. and I am not familiar with trucks and accidentally broke something”

Analyzing existing ecosystem

We employed a stakeholder map to depict the pertinent stakeholders, with the U-Haul customer placed at the core. We specifically charted the connection between U-Haul customers and Moving Helpers, which we discerned through interviews where customers expressed dissatisfaction with their experiences involving U-Haul Moving Helpers.

Ecosystem Map
App Audit
Mover experience

Beyond looking at just the tools at their disposal, we also mapped user journeys that highlighted the emotions, needs, and interactions with which we could find opportunities to help.

User Journey Map

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT

Storyboard
Identifying Pain points & Opportunities

Redundancy in Truck Reservations & Booking Alterations

Poor Coordination with Moving Helpers

Concerns with Truck Driving

Task Optimization

Enhanced Coordination

Real-time Safety alerts & Guidance

CUI DESIGN

Logo Concept
Logo Design
Motion Design

Why Sammy?
U-Haul introduced it's first version of its "Sammy U" character in 1953, named after the company's founder.

Sammy Identity

INTERFACE DESIGN

The re-designed app will have two user paths for users with or without upcoming orders, where the upcoming reservation will show as the main info card.

There are some key decisions we've made for structuring Sammy with the user interface. First question we asked ourselves was that where should we position the CUI? After a few round of iteration, we figured to position Sammy in the bottom navigation bar, ensuring that it remains visible on all screens at a fixed location for easy access. How would the page-to-page transition look like? When the user initiates a conversation, a small pop-up screen will capture and display the inquiry. This approach is designed to prevent a sudden transition to a new page. Subsequently, the pop-up will expand to a mid-height page, displaying all the dialogues from the bottom upwards.

What about the buttons? We initially designed to place CTA buttons below the inquiry or info card. After getting user feedback and considering the thumb reach on the phone screen, we placed the button below the screen as a Primary Interaction Area, considering that the center and bottom areas of the screen are easily reachable by the user's thumb when holding the device single-handedly. To keep users informed and provide feedback on user input, when users speak to or tap a selection, the button will enter the selecting state and then move up to become a speech bubble. As a result, those buttons serve as visual cues of the available selections the users have, also having the speech bubble as a record for the user’s selection.

REFLECTION

Teamwork matters
Collaboration is crucial, especially in a design team. It fosters diverse perspectives, shared insights, and a collective effort towards achieving user-centric solutions. Our team accomplished projects by working closely together in pairs and being accountable for assigned tasks. We utilized design tools such as whiteboarding and conducted brainstorming sessions to generate collective solutions. By assigning tasks to team members with clear expectations communicated, we were able to achieve great teamwork together.

Thinking in Users' Shoes
This is important in The UX product design process that we have to pay attention from holistic user goals including using scenarios, goals, to micro interaction such as single handed scrolling, page transition etc.

If I have more time, I will spend time on accessibility design and think about how CUI can help vulnerable users. I will also think about edge case scenarios such as last-minute orders. Then, I will want to do more user testing because it’s a merchandise product, so we need to hear from people's moving experiences and incorporate their feedback into the design.