Polestar meets product design—3 UX keys to marketing electric vehiclesBy Neil Stoeckle, Creative Director, YML
As an agency on the pinnacle of design and technology, we are all about challenging tradition. Following the change, rather than the plan. Spotting a societal need or opportunity and solving it. That means adapting, evolving and innovating towards something better. Which is why our latest partnership with Swedish electric vehicle brand, Polestar, is a match made in progress heaven.
For over two decades, Polestar has been guiding the car industry with their unique design, technology and sustainability practices, and people are finally starting to catch on. In recent years, there has been a much needed shift towards more ethically sourced products and practices with transportation as a primary focus.
So where does a digital product company from Silicon Valley fit into the global shift to carbon neutrality?
At the very first consumer touchpoint — the Polestar website. We created a state-of-the-art web experience for their flagship vehicle, Polestar 2, to teach EV newbies about the benefits of electric driving and show how the company is leading the charge towards an improved, electric future.
Increase: Test drive sign-ups, car configurations, content engagement, session duration, return visits.
Decrease: Bounce rate, calls to support center.
The keys to unlocking those KPIs:
1. Guide people through the experience
Throughout a driver’s life, they have been conditioned to look for specific criteria when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle: How much does it cost? Does this car have good gas mileage? How safe is it? How much horsepower? Does it have all-wheel drive or am I going to get stuck in the snow and have to put chains on during a blizzard? (Speaking from too many personal experiences on that last one.) Ultimately, it's a pretty basic checklist of familiar features.
But for those who understand the negative impact that fossil fuel emissions have on the planet, they turn their attention away from gas-powered to electric vehicles — and with that, a brand new checklist of unfamiliar features arises. We know that the next EV someone buys will most likely be their first, so as a team of empathetic experience designers, YML set out to guide people through the nuances of electric driving, answer the most common questions, and in turn, allow them to fall in love with the idea of going green.
Anyone can throw up an FAQ table to answer someone's questions (there is definitely a time and place for that), but a truly great experience tells a story by weaving the answers contextually throughout the page.
Our design for Polestar tells the story of a prospective buyer standing on the outside of the showroom glass. We beckon them to look closer by flashing the high-level car specs that make the Polestar 2 unique. As the person moves down the page, they take a closer look at the beautiful, minute details of the exterior and pop the hood to show the inner workings of what makes the car so powerful. Eventually, they climb inside the car, exploring the different seat materials, playing with the brilliant infotainment center — all the while seeing clear calls to action to design their own custom Polestar 2.
By the time they’ve scrolled through the page, we’ve taken them for a digital test drive.
Inputs: Educate through storytelling, answer questions before they're asked, use clear & contextual CTAs.
Outcomes: +190% test drive sign-ups, +75% car configurations, +14% CTA interactions.
2. Make the product as progressive as the brand
The word ‘progress’ has varying connotations these days, but what does it mean at its core? Simple: to move forward. To try something new or experimental with the hopes of improving something that’s broken or obsolete. 'Progressive' is a word that Polestar embodies perfectly and continuously, whether it's their fully vegan interior materials to support wildlife conservation or by tracking the mined cobalt for their batteries with blockchain technology to ensure transparency.
We’ve established that Polestar is a progressive brand, creating a progressive product, but what does it mean to create a progressive product page?
Back to the root of the word — progress. Fixing something that’s broken or obsolete.
The most powerful way to do that is by evoking the brand's emotion. Writing copy that not only tells a story, but is honest and transparent. Using a conversational tone helps people retain what they read and relate to it. Designing with motion informs their interactions for a completely intuitive experience. Leveraging video, rather than static imagery, lets people feel the power of the car.
Nobody wants to drive a good-looking coffee table book, and with this car toting 408 hp, what better way to convey that than by actually showing someone’s hands gripping the wheel as they zip through a tree-lined stretch of peaceful forest road?
Inputs: Evoke the brand emotion, introduce motion that informs interaction, Video > Imagery.
Outcomes: +307% content engagement, +162% return visits, +70% scroll rate.
3. Keep customers immersed in the experience
The last few years have tasked many car companies to pivot their in-person experiences into digital experiences. Fortunately and inversely, Polestar has been a digital-first brand from day one (for example, cutting out the overbearing salespeople that most dealerships rely on and offering a purchase path that's entirely online) — so rather than reimagining that tactile exchange, we started with digital interactions and worked backward.
We paired every bit of information with a corresponding interactive element— from the frictionless scrolljacking that enables people to focus on specific pieces of content, to the tangible UI of the range calculator that beckons people to see how far they can drive on a single charge.
We also know that one size should never fit all, which meant rather than a single solution for the entire market, we needed to create something bespoke for the individual. By leveraging anonymous location data, we tailored the conversational copy and visual content to everyone who comes to the site, regardless of where they are in the world.
But we didn't stop there.
We streamlined the path to purchase by making the most vital information more accessible — faster. The new navigation and overall information architecture leverage a modal paradigm that keeps people immersed on the page rather than wandering down dead ends. What used to be a 60+ page intersection with less than 1% traffic is now a single page of highly engaging open road.
Buying a car should be an edifying and visceral experience. It's one thing to show and tell, but true inspiration, and ultimately conversion, comes when you put people in the driver's seat — when you can touch, interact, and get a sense of how the car moves and makes you feel.
Inputs: Pair information with interaction, tailor the content, Modals > Pages redirects.
Outcomes: –59% bounce rate, +111% session duration, +88% time on page.
Our aim was to convert Polestar passers-by into relationship-driven brand loyalists by creating a digital experience as powerful and electric as the car itself. An experience that elevated every key metric of the site and more importantly, helped accelerate Polestar on their unprecedented journey towards a progressive future.
About the Author: Neil Stoeckle, Creative Director, YML
There is no industry Neil has not touched. He brought the artists of Universal Music Group closer to their fans through a seamless union of design and data. For State Farm, he created a simple and empathetic experience for the otherwise overwhelming maze of insurance. He’s created medical frameworks for Research Kit, designed the proactive healthcare experience for one of the largest healthcare institutions in the US, and most recently has directed the guided, immersive and progressive web experience that is Polestar.