Drivers’ Licensing On Demand

In order to improve efficiency and convenience in meeting user needs, our team re-imagined the DMV as a hybrid online/mobile in-person service.

As a part of a team, I worked on UX Research, user personas and user flow, and low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes.

Roles: UX Research, personas, user flow, low-fidelity prototyping, high-fidelity prototyping.
Skills: Whiteboarding, SketchApp, Principle, InVision.
Timeframe: 5 weeks
Collaborators: Erin Millman, Michelle Noelke

01. Description

A user-centered process which allows users to take care of the bureaucratic steps in the licensing process conveniently and on their own time through a centralized web portal, and arrange in-person visits at hours and locations that better fit their lives.

I worked on the project in collaboration with Erin Millman and Michelle Noelke, and we all equally participated in whiteboarding, research and all decision-making.

Image of Create An Account User Flow
Image of Visit Preparation User Flow

02. Challenge and objectives

Challenge/Problem: Assumption: DOL/DMV provides an inefficient, inconvenient customer experience. Design a service for an imaginary future when DMV closed all its offices and started to administer driving tests and issuing driver’s licenses at customer’s houses/work addresses.

Project Goals and Objectives: Research and create a prototype for a DMV licensing service on demand.

Deliverables: concept; research; user personas and user journey; user flow, low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes.

Project Background and Description: We conducted a survey which indicated that users overall found the DMV/DOL experience fairly average, but rated it poorly for the time and convenience of accessing these services through a DOL office. 97.3% of respondents said they would prefer to not visit a DOL office to get or renew a license, and over half would use a service where a DOL employee met them at their home or work instead. Our demographics included all Washington State residents. Because we were replacing an essential service of issuing state IDs, our solution needed to consider users of multiple ages, backgrounds, languages and ability levels.

03. Process

Step 1. Concept and research.

We began by examining the existing service and legal requirements, and dividing the necessary tasks into two categories: those which require a DOL certified employee to be present, and those which do not. Any tasks which did not require a DOL certified employee to be present are handled through our centralized web portal, keeping our in-person visits quick and efficient for the user and the service. We brainstormed solutions for how to equip the vehicle to accomplish all DOL office tasks (eye test, photo, driving test, ID printing, etc) remotely.

RUNDMV Annotated Vehicle Diagram

To identify the requirements for web portal, we preformed a card sorting exercise.  We started from writing down cards with any issues or questions that could occur before, during or after the DMV test on-site, based on our research, knowledge of the process and assumptions. Our main goal was to identify which tasks user could perform on a web portal, which we needed to solve during a DMV specialist visit, and which were not issues that DMV deals with and needed to be directed to other departments.

Image of Card Sorting Exercise

Step 2. User personas and user journey.

Our demographics included all Washington State residents. Our solution needed to consider users of multiple ages, backgrounds, languages and ability levels, so we have created four user personas to refer to while working on the project.

Image of Personas for RunDMV

In order to solve the maximum number of user cases, we focused our web portal prototype around solving the task flow of a user who is under 18 years old, and getting their first state-issued ID. We chose that person because it meant the longest user journey as the user had to create their first account with the licensing department.

Image of User Persona NathalieImage of User Journey for Nathalie

Because of time constraints, we decided to focus on onboarding and first half of Nathalie’s journey: getting her instruction permit.

Second image of user journey

Step 3. User flow and screens.

To make the process as simple as possible, we wanted to break it into smaller steps that would build one on top each of each other. These dependencies would let DMV app be like a modular system, that recreates itself differently for each type of the user. Any of the steps that is essential for that particular user is the only way they can go.

For example, Natalie’s form changes when she tells us her date of birth: older users will never have to answer any questions about their parents’ information and presence.

Gif for onboarding user flow

Step 4. Screens iterations.

After we created our screens, we were showing it to our classmates and people in the industry. Based on their suggestions, we have made some changes. For example, in the beginning every time when the user had to make a choice between two options, they had to click on a button with the option:

Image example of the earlier version of UI

We got a recommendation to switch to radio buttons, which made a lot of sense. It is an easier approach that gives user a second to think about the option and see that they can choose only one or another. We ended up changing all screens to radio buttons instead. We still decided to keep a Cancel/Submit button, but made it inactive until the radiobutton is clicked.

Image of new example of DMV UI

Step 5. Dashboard experience.

We went through several iterations to achieve our goal of a unified but at the same time customizable dashboard experience. We wanted to keep the dashboard itself very simple, with a limited amount of options. Government services are usually perceived as very complicated and stressful itself, so we wanted to make it very clear for user where to click.

Here is how Natalie’s dashboard looks before she made an appointment and after she did it:

We have created a high-fidelity InVision prototype as our main deliverable for the project. You can find it here.

Here is another example of user flow, part of “Visit Preparation” flow.

Gif of dashboard experience

04. Solution

RunDMV became a great challenge in making government service an easier task. I enjoyed it a lot because I feel that it is one of the most important tasks that a UX designer could have. We learned to consider different kinds of user needs and also to constantly keep in mind legal constraints and paperwork requirements.

Next steps would be to expand our prototype for our under-18 user flow to model all possible choices and outcomes including error states. Additionally, we would need to validate our current prototype through user-testing, and apply insights from this process to the next iteration of prototype.